Neighborhood Directory

So...imagine a park ranger coming up to you and telling you that a fire just started and is headed towards your neighborhood and to please warn your neighbors! How are you going to do that?  This leads to a more general goal, namely quickly and accurately answering this question after an earthquake, sudden evacuation or similar event: "My neighborhood has P people. Of those A are ok, B need help and C are missing. What are P, A, B, and C?"  The Maui fires are very instructive in this respect, given the massive delays and confusion in the rescue process that happened exactly because no one was prepared to do this. On the other hand, our neighborhoods have had great success using these processes during events like the CZU-Lightning fire.

In order to communicate with neighbors, you have to know they exist, and how to reach them. The basis doing that is maintaining a neighborhood directory. This is a list of each address in your neighborhood with names, email addresses and phone numbers, and radio call signs if any for all the residents.  This will become the reference data for all your attempts to reach out to people. See Neighborhood Communication for more information! You can store this, for example, as a google doc, putting proper protection on it to keep the information private. 

1. INCLUSIVENESS - This is value #1 here.  A moral goal is to leave no one behind. Try to find who all lives in the neighborhood. Even the people who don't want to talk to you. With our large lots and people living in secluded cottages far off the road, it can take a little networking and discovery work to discover everyone. But, when the need arises, everyone deserves a helping hand. 

2. THINGS CHANGE - Even if you have a directory, and think your neighborhood hasn't changed, you'd be surprised. Kids grow up, Tenants and Family members come and go. Even if the home owners haven't changed, the actual population changes all the time. Update your directory at least annually! The best way to check the accuracy of the directory is by participating in the regular county emergency drills like this one. Even simpler, send alerts to the mailing list and text list, check people off against the document, and look for errors sending the messages indicating typos or stale entries.

3. LANDLINES - In the old days, these lists were just names and home phones (landlines). You'd call the home phone, and whoever was home would answer. Increasingly, many people are abandoning their landlines. In many neighborhoods way less than half the houses have them. This means you need to collect mobile phone numbers for everyone in each household.  Remember, mom and dad may be at work in the valley, and only the teenage son is at home. You won't be able to reach him without his mobile. This is a huge shift in these lists, particularly if you've had one for a long time. Make sure all the entries are up to date.

4. PRIVACY AND SECURITY - It's a leap of trust for everyone to disclose their data for the list, although living up here it's fairly obvious why you need to participate. What helps is being very careful to keep the data you collect secure. Make sure no matter how you store and share it, that it can only be seen by the appropriate parties, and be very clear in communicating with your neighbors that you are taking this seriously. 

5. TRANSPARENCY AND CONSENSUS - Be very transparent about this with the neighbors, so everyone's aligned. All these efforts work better if you take the time to build consensus and understand everyone's concerns.

Managing this list is a key task for neighborhood coordinators