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How it Works

What are NRGs? Central Marin Neighborhood Response Groups (NRGs) are volunteer, grassroots-led neighborhood groups in Larkspur, Corte Madera and Greenbrae that prepare as a community for three disaster scenarios (major earthquake/flood, wildfire evacuation, PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs).  We mention earthquakes, not floods, from this point on, but the main difference between floods and earthquakes is that floods typically give notice, earthquakes do not.
We can take responsibility to prepare ourselves as best we can for these scenarios. And we can help each other as neighbors. The Central Marin NRG program is not merely a distribution of information. Its strength and longevity is based on the social cohesion of neighbors who have a good reason to get to know each other despite our busy lives - to help look out for one another and our families when or if disaster strikes.  We create the village again. 

For major earthquakes, the goal of the program is to have every neighborhood ready to care for its neighbors until first responders arrive (this could take days). NRGs can help the larger Marin response effort by sharing local information up the chain of command.

Neighbors find out who might need help and who can help if a major earthquake happens. We get to know our next-door neighbors. Neighbors can help secure your kids if you’re stranded at work.  Neighbors can check on a loved one at home if the roads are impassable. Neighbors can help with disaster first aid and check to make sure no neighbor is overlooked.  
Block Captains are the heart of this program. An NRG is divided into “clusters” of roughly 20 households. Each cluster has 1 or 2 volunteer Block Captains. In an emergency, Block Captains check on the residents in their cluster to assess injuries and damage.  They have hand-held radios for reporting to volunteer neighborhood response team to request medical or other support. The neighborhood response team manages the NRGs response to a major event. The team has back up radio communications for life-threatening situations if the power and cell phones are down.

For evacuation events, the NRG focuses on preparation. Residents help each other plan and prepare for wildfire evacuation.  We encourage residents to make family evacuation plans, contingency plans to help each other, and to help residents with special needs prepare.  Personal safety is a priority and residents can increase their safety by hardening their homes and complying with defensible space requirements. Neighbors are encouraged to proactively protect assets with adequate insurance in the event of community wide disaster. NRGs play no active role in fire evacuation. 

For PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs.  PG&E plans to shut off power lines to large areas even if the immediate area is not under threat of wildfire, if certain high-risk fire conditions (certain Red Flag Day conditions) exist (for e.g., low humidity, constant 25 mph winds, with gusts of 45 mph, etc.) to prevent the quick spread of fire if one was ignited by power lines.  If PG&E turns off the power, it will take 3-5 days to manually inspect all lines before PG&E can re-energize lines.   Neighbors vulnerable to extreme heat or cold, or who rely on power for medical equipment, etc. should prepare now for backup power systems. Block captains should make plans to check on such neighbors if the power goes out, whether intentionally by PG&E or by a storm.  PG&E will try to give as much notice as possible.  Residents should opt in for PG&E outage alerts as well as for AlertMarin and Nixle alerts. WEA alerts are automatic. 

Based on the principle of neighbor helping neighbor, each neighborhood makes it own plan, engages its own volunteers, identifies its own resources, and drills its own team. Our network of CMNRG volunteers, Program Coordinator, trainings, educational events and this website are here to support those efforts.

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