This past weekend, as a record-breaking storm bore down on Coastal Texas, residents turned to those who were immediately able to help them in times of need: their neighbors.
Studies show that connected communities are more resilient during and after emergencies or disasters, and neighbors across Texas have certainly proved that to be true. Over the past three days, as winds howled through neighborhoods and flood waters rose, communication on Nextdoor in the greater Houston area doubled, while communication in the City of Houston more than tripled.
Neighbors have taken to Nextdoor to discuss evacuation routes, current flood levels, ask for assistance from a neighbor, or find the closest shelter. In some cases, when 911 and other emergency communication methods were down, neighbors turned to Nextdoor to desperately ask for help as water rose several feet in their homes, forcing them, their children, and their pets to the roof.
“A rescue is desperately needed,” one neighbor from Nextdoor Houston Heights East wrote. “Four feet of water in the house and rising. Occupants headed to the roof with animals. Have been calling for help but can’t get through. If you can help, please come.”
“Unloading my canoe now,” a neighbor responded. The neighbor was soon rescued.
Local public agencies have also been turning to Nextdoor to share critical information and emergency updates with their residents. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office posted 26 times over the weekend, keeping neighbors updated on Harvey’s severity, incoming tornados, evacuation routes, tips on how to survive flooding, available shelters, and more.
The Houston Office of Emergency Management posted 10 times over the weekend, using Urgent Alerts to warn neighbors of flooding, tornados, and overflowing bayous. Meanwhile, the Houston Police Department posted dozens of highly targeted updates, from power outages, to fallen trees blocking roads, to high water warnings in areas hit hardest by the storm.
“Now is a good time to get on Nextdoor,” one neighbor wrote. “I’m learning about needs the media couldn’t tell me about where I live, and where I can do something.”
We’re proud that Nextdoor is being used as a tool for neighbors and local public agencies to use to connect, communicate, and help each other stay safe during disasters. Our thoughts are with all of the neighbors across Texas and other states who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey – from all of us at Nextdoor, stay safe.
Join your neighborhood on Nextdoor here.
Do you have a story about how you’ve used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.