A disaster is defined as an event that results in more need for help than our local Emergency Services can support. Depending on the severity of the disaster, the backlog in professional aid may be hours or even days. In other words, when disaster strikes, we neighbors need to be ready to help each other.
Disaster preparedness can be an overwhelming topic. Fortunately, the City of Bellingham is one of several Washington state cities making preparedness easier by sponsoring Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) training sessions. MYN simplifies the huge task of preparing for disasters by encouraging next-door neighbors to meet-up and assess acute risks, needs and assets amongst their closest neighbors.
Download your Emergency Management Division Prepare in a Year booklet here.
Recently, several KMNA board members had the pleasure of learning the virtue and necessity of the MYN program via Zoom with the City of Bellingham’s Greg Hope. In sharing information about MYN on our site, we hope to begin the work of mapping our neighborhood, one street at a time until the many sub-neighborhoods of King Mountain are fully prepared to support themselves and each other through disasters, be they natural, economic, terrorist or pandemic in nature.
How MYN works:
MYN planning is facilitated by one neighbor for a group of neighbors. Someone on your street will organize, gather and facilitate a meeting (virtual or, ideally, in person) to create a simple group disaster response plan.
This plan will include:
1. What to do in your own home immediately following a disaster (Ex. shut off water main, natural gas & propane).
2. How to assess the condition of the neighbors within your MYN planning group following a disaster., ie. triage your neighbors while you wait for Emergency Services
3. How to compile, ahead of time, a shared list of skills and equipment that would be useful in a range of disasters, as well as an accurate list of all residents, including pets.
4. And, finally, how to record all of this useful information on a physical map for you and your MYN group.
The MYN process is meant be carried out in confidence between neighbors to strengthen feelings of safety. The City of Bellingham Emergency Services likes to know when MYN planning has occurred, but does not need to know any private information or the details of a neighborhood plan.
Please check out the following resources for a better understanding of the importance of disaster preparedness in our region and how MYN can work for you and your neighbors.
If you are interested in facilitating a MYN planning session on your street, please reach out to us via our Contact Page and we will connect you with your closest Board Member for assistance.
Alternatively you can reach out to Greg Hope directly:
City of Bellingham Office of Emergency Management
Education & Outreach Coordinator