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September is National Preparedness Month

Written by Anne Dreshfield

September is National Preparedness Month, and it’s time to start planning with your neighbors.

Led by our partner, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month is dedicated to educating and empowering Americans to prepare for emergencies that may take place in our homes, workplaces, schools, and communities. All month long, we’ll be featuring content to help you and your neighbors plan for any emergency, big or small.

Our neighborhoods are one of the most important communities in our lives – and we can all lean on our neighbors for support in times of need or emergency, as Hurricane Harvey has shown. As winds howled through neighborhoods and flood waters rose, neighbors turned to each other for advice, assistance, and, in some cases, life-saving help. Our thoughts are with all of the neighbors and local public agencies affected by Harvey, many of whom are just starting the long journey of beginning to rebuild.

Over the past few years, we’ve partnered with more than 2,400 public agencies with nearly 100 of those being Offices of Emergency Management.

Offices of Emergency Management are the departments of local government dedicated to preparing residents, communities, and entire cities, counties and states. These departments also help to manage local response and recovery efforts after emergencies strike.

These partners have used Nextdoor to send targeted updates to specific neighborhoods, groups of neighborhoods, or entire sections of the city, county, or state, which is vital when communicating about emergencies and their impact.

While Harvey made landfall across Texas, nearly 100 local public agencies in the affected areas used Nextdoor to share critical information and emergency updates with their residents. All told, the public agencies posted nearly 700 Harvey-related messages to neighborhoods across Coastal Texas.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office posted more than 35 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.

Nearly 100 local public agencies in the affected areas used Nextdoor to share critical information.

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.

In times of non-emergency, public agencies can use Nextdoor to help residents think about their own preparedness plans. In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the Department posted to Nextdoor with a poll, asking neighbors if they had a go kit prepared with basic items such as prescriptions, blankets, family documents, extra food, water, and more. This proved to be a valuable opportunity for the Department to get insights into whether or not their residents were prepared, guiding their strategy in building educational events to help residents build go kits.

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The Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management received direct votes from residents on whether or not they were adequately prepared.

We’re proud of these partners, as well as our federal partners, including FEMA and NOAA, who have turned to innovative technology like Nextdoor to quickly and easily share hyperlocal emergency messages and information to neighborhoods across the country.

This month, we’re excited to welcome new emergency management partners, including the New York Office of Emergency Management and the Virginia Office of Emergency Management to Nextdoor. These agencies have made a commitment to partner with Nextdoor during National Preparedness Month to better connect with residents and begin sharing information to help make stronger and safer neighborhoods in their jurisdictions.

You can never be too prepared, so take the initiative during National Preparedness Month and start communicating with your neighbors about how to prepare for everything from the everyday emergencies to the unexpected in your community.

Throughout Nextdoor’s history, neighbors have proven time and time again that the most prepared and resilient communities are those that are most connected. This month, we’re excited to share a series of announcements and initiatives that will further help our members be as prepared and connected as they can be.

Join your neighborhood on Nextdoor here.

Do you have a story about how you have used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

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