Won’t You be my Neighbor?

Thée ComeauBy Thée Comeau      June 26, 2020

Share Story on:

Won’t You be my Neighbor?
Mr Rogers had it right when he invited children to be his neighbor. He also advised that grown-ups find their “helpers,” when faced with a challenge. All of Topanga knows the importance of being prepared ‘when the bad thing happens‚‘: wildfire, earthquakes, floods, and now a pandemic. What is less obvious is that the safety of your family often depends not only upon your own preparations, but on the coordinated efforts of your neighbors. Reliable real time information and cooperation are critical. Communication is key. The Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness (TCEP) has organized a Neighborhood Network (NNs) team to encourage local neighborhoods to come together as neighbors to survive a disaster and thrive as a cohesive community with relationships that we can rely upon in both good times and bad. TCEP’s goal is ambitious: cover every household in Topanga to re-invigorate existing networks and form new ones to create a conduit for the rapid transmission of accurate information in a disaster. The system is somewhat analogous to an old-fashioned phone tree. Communication of accurate, verified and up-to-date emergency information originates with TCEP and posted on its website (tcep.org/emergencystatus) and the TCEP Hotline, (310) 455-3000, and pushed out to NN coordinators who distribute it to their networks. During these incidents, TCEP may also provide information via Family Radio Service (FRS) radio channel 15 in their Top of the Hour (TOTH) updates. Each area of the canyon is assigned a specific FRS channel for localized neighbor-to-neighbor communications. The transmission range is currently being upgraded and TCEP will soon be announcing the giveaway of several hundred new FRS radios. The FRS radios are essentially battery-powered walkie talkies and are expected to work even when the internet and cellphone service fail, or during a Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS) power outage. Being connected to your neighbors and community can save lives and prevent a lot of unnecessary distress. Find your channel in the Topanga Disaster Survival Guide on pages 97-98 (topangasurvival.org). The Neighborhood Network system keeps your personal information private, shared only with your neighborhood coordinator and, only with your explicit permission, with your immediate neighbors. Many existing networks also host occasional social gatherings to promote closer ties within their communities. It’s a fun way to get to know their neighbors, share resources, and establish overall security so no one falls through the cracks in an emergency. Adam Silbar, a TCEP board member and NN Team member, has recently begun organizing his own neighborhood in lower Fernwood and is actively working to recruit coordinators for areas nearby. Catherine McClenahan, another team member and coordinator for her long-running and robust Mesa NN, is spearheading an effort to work with Topanga realtors to provide a “Welcome Basket,” to all new residents, inviting them to join their local NN. Other members of the Task Force are reaching out to non-traditional neighborhoods, of people with social connections rather than geographical proximity, such as the Sages and local schools. Because people aren’t static and locations change over the course of the day, the goal is to provide overlapping coverage and increased security for all of the residents of our beautiful canyon community. For more information on how to join your local NN or to coordinate a new NN in your area, please reach out to nn@tcep.org.
Thée Comeau
      June 26, 2020

Share Story on:

Latest News

Viewing 1 to 3 (of 146 items)


By Topic  |  NEWS 
Latest News
All things connected