Neighbors Helping Neighbors
The high for December 8, 2013 in Missoula was below zero. In the middle of winter, the threat of summertime wildland and rangeland fire was not on the minds of most Montanans. But for homeowners living in the Hidden Heights neighborhood in the hills west of Missoula, emergency and disaster preparedness was the topic of the day.
Eight homeowners braved the cold to participate in a Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) preparedness party. Participants discussed how to build emergency supply kits, map their neighborhood to identify hazards and assets, and explore how to best lend a neighborly hand in the event of a disaster or emergency. The nearby 2013 Lolo Complex Fire, which destroyed five homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, acted as a reminder of the continuous wildfire threat for Montana neighborhoods located in the wild urban interface.
"Our MYN preparedness party helped focus the general notion that we should be prepared into specific actions that we can take. We all agreed that wildfires are our biggest concern, and as spring approaches we plan to organize in that direction. We are basing our activities on materials provided by FEMA, Fire Safe Montana, and the Governor's Office of Community Service. We are looking forward to continuing conversations with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure success of upcoming MYN meetings"
~Raquel R. Smith - Project Coordinator, CERT Instructor-Member Drummond
Neighborhood leaders took initiative, seeking out community resources and agencies to learn how to best build a prepared and resilient neighborhood. Leaders reached out to Missoula County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the nonprofit, Fire Safe Montana, and the Governor’s Office of Community Service.
Host a neighborhood preparedness party in your community! Learn more here.