1. Find a Few Neighbor Organizers: To begin a Neighborhood Disaster Response Program, you will need to initiate Phase One, an easy, short-lived task that needs just three to six volunteers. The job for this group is to organize a meeting of all the residents within the boundaries of the defined neighborhood.
2. Plan Neighbor Meeting:The group selects a date and time and secures a location for the meeting. Usually towns have public spaces such as Council Chambers or Community Rooms, which can be reserved at no cost. Other groups have this first meeting at a neighbor’s home. The group designs and delivers to each household a flier announcing the meeting, usually about two weeks before the meeting. It also helps to place a-frame sign reminders on streets the week before.
3. Conduct Neighborhood Meeting: The Phase One members set up the room and organize clipboards for signing in and volunteering. They should station one member at the door to catch folks as they arrive, to get their names and contact information. Some residents may not volunteer at the meeting but if they care enough to attend they usually can be asked to help at a later date.
4. Enlist Experienced NRG Organizers to Lead It: One or two experienced NRG leaders describe the typical Disaster Response Program structure. They explain the concept of “neighbor helping neighbor” and the idea that this is a grassroots effort to build self-reliance. They explain the roles various roles. Here is a Power Point presentation at a recent neighborhood meeting. Members of the Phase One group often offer to be on the Steering Committee and to provide ongoing leadership.
5. Draw Your Clusters: A few long time residents get together to create clusters of 10 to 20 homes, the number depending on topography and spread. All homes in a cluster should be reasonably easy to monitor.
6. First Steering Committee Meeting. One month later. An invitation is sent to all attendees of the neighborhood meeting. At this meeting block captains are locked into their clusters and additional roles are filled.
7. Second Steering Committee Meeting. One month later. Block Captain orientation.
8. Third Steering Committee Meeting. One month later. Incident Command Orientation.
Its been our experience that the Steering Committee should meet monthly for a year, at the end of which they should have a fully formed and equipped team and be ready to conduct a drill.
Go to the Operating Manual, Appendix VIII– SUGGESTED PROCESS FOR STEERING COMMITTEES for further information.