Want to...
Build a Safer Neighborhood?

How to ...

SNAP your neighborhood together.

Sunnyvale, Calif.
-- Do something in common. Make trust pay off for everyone. Here's how:

Gather, gather, gather
Hold a block party.
Have a cook-out.
Hold a city-wide garage sale.

Know your neighbor.
Survey your block.
ID everyone; fill out an "all about me" form.

Inspire citizen involvement.
Form disaster committees.
Choose a block captain.
Train for emergencies and hold a drill.

Formalize the network.
Link with existing organizations.
Draft a neighborhood newsletter.
Recruit, recruit, recruit!

Tune In ...

How citizens SNAP together

How do you get a neighborhood together? Sometimes it takes an earthquake. The 1989 earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area left a lot of surrounding communities more than a little uneasy about being prepared for the next emergency. In nearby Sunnyvale, neighbors "snapped" together.

Sunnyvale organized a network of block-level SNAP teams -- Sunnyvale Neighborhoods Actively Prepare -- and helped train residents to deal with potential emergencies, anything from hazardous materials spills to air crashes to earthquakes.

Each neighborhood has a captain and committees trained in first aid, damage assessment, safety and security, and shelter. Today there are more than 265 SNAP groups and 4,500 committee members that link 10,000 households in the Sunnyvale area.

But the big payoff of the program isn't really emergency planning, but community building. Neighbors are finding a way to connect. "When you get to know each other," says SNAP volunteer Janet Dow, "you're more likely to go out of your way for someone. In a real disaster, you may have to rely on your neighbors."

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