Organizing Your Neighborhood
print friendly textonly
feature head more features
Organizing Your Neighborhood

After an earthquake or other disaster, emergency response agencies could be overburdened and might not be able to get to your neighborhood immediately, You and your neighbors or coworkers may need to take the initial emergency response actions and take core of others for at least 72 hours. Past earthquakes have thrust many untrained people into positions of providing first aid and rescuing people.

If a response team has not been organized in your neighborhood or workplace, take the initiative to form one now. Joining and forming a response team can greatly improve your chances of surviving an earthquake and can improve the self-sufficiency of your community.


  • Learn simple firefighting techniques. 
  • Learn basic search-and-rescue skills. 
  • Learn to assess yourself, your family and coworkers for injuries. 
  • Learn to assess your home and workplace for hazards or damage. 
  • Learn to assess your community for hazards, needs and available resources.

You may wish to contact the Area Office of Emergency Services, the local chapter of the American Red Cross or a local community college to arrange for speakers and training workshops. Response teams should arrange to participate in annual earthquake exercises sponsored by local government and businesses.

Inventory Your Neighbors' Skills

As part of the community response team planning process, teams should conduct an inventory of the skills and resources available at home, at work and in the neighborhood. 

  • Identify people who have skills in the following areas:  medical, electrical, child care, leadership, firefighting and/or survival skills. 
  • Inventory available resources by identifying neighbors who own chain saws, citizens band radios, four-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles and water purifiers. 
  • Make a list of neighbors who are willing and able to be a runner/bicyclist to deliver messages if telephone lines are down.

Identify people with special needs

Many households and office staffs include people with special needs. Your response team should work with these individuals in advance to determine what extra assistance or supplies they may require after an earthquake or other emergency. Some of the people who may require special assistance include:

  • Physically Challenged Persons (those who are deaf or hearing impaired, blind, have limited mobility, require a special oxygen supply or have significant medical conditions 
  • Children who spend time alone at home 
  • Non-English speaking persons
  • Stock up on Supplies

In addition to the water, food and other supplies that everyone needs to stock, members of the response team should store tools.  Items such as the following should be stored in a central and easily accessible location. 

  • Gloves and goggles 
  • Adjustable wrenches 
  • Hard hats and vests 
  • Flashlights with extra batteries 
  • Axes and crowbars 
  • Ropes

For more information call (650) 286-3350 or e-mail

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200