Tips: Always put your safety first. When meeting with people, follow your instincts. If you do not feel safe with someone, do not include them. Keep it simple. People are barraged with information. Keep things simple and direct. You can have longer conversations when the occasion and questions arise.
THE COMMUNITY BUILDING TOOLKIT
WHAT HAPPENS IF A LEVEL 9 EARTHQUAKE HITS HERE OR
A tool kit for preparing
your community for crisis
and building resilience
How do we know we are prepared
A group of people in the neighborhood talk to
each other on a regular basis.
A self-governing group of people take care of
each other when disaster hits.
A group of people support each other in small
actions taken today to make their lives and
Why Build Community?
Crisis: When disaster hits, do you have
community to turn to?
Sense of Belonging: People who are members of
groups live longer, are happier and are more
Community: Connection in the community is
one of the areas where we are scoring lowest
in the Happiness Initiative survey
Step One: Convening
• Convene your neighbors: Invite people in your
neighborhood to a meeting at a local café,
community center or other meeting area.
Ways to reach out:
• By yourself: A simple one sheet invitation you
deliver to your neighbors.
• Through an organization to members of a
nonprofit, place of worship, staff etc.
Convening Letter: A Draft
What would happen to you and your family if a level 9
earthquake hit tomorrow? Are you prepared to take care of
yourself and loved ones in the face of a natural or man-made
disaster in our neighborhood? One of the best ways to ensure
your own resilience is to be part of a community that knows
each other and knows how to work together.
Join other neighbors on (date) from (start time to end time)
at (place) to start building our community so we are prepared
in the face of crisis. At the meeting, we will get to know each
other and start the steps for creating a resilient
If you have questions, please email me at (email address).
Step Two: Holding a Meeting
At the first meeting:
• Start Your Asset Map: Gather names, emails and
addresses and information.
• Start individual emergency preparedness education
• Conduct a community building meeting
Neighborhood People Asset Mapping
A Neighborhood Asset Map tells lays out the assets and vulnerable.
In a crisis, self organizing groups are essential. Where these do not exist,
mobsters & gangsters move in to organize.
The most vulnerable are the elderly, alter-abled and children. At the
onset of a crisis the skills needed are: community organizing, rescue,
mechanic, plumber, carpenter/builder, medical, caretakers, etc. In
longer term, all skills are needed.
To build an asset map:
• Document who lives where in a neighborhood. Include
names, skills, homes where there are vulnerable people.
• Keep a paper copy as well as electronic of the document and
update it at each meeting.
• Circulate the Neighborhood map to the group after each
Example of a Neighborhood People Asset Map
4 principles for Community
1. We Connect: We talk and want to interact in other's
lives in positive ways
2. Me upside down means WE: We help one another,
especially when we are faced with challenges
3. We share the load and get more done: Its important to
share or talents, time and energy for causes bigger
4. We all benefit from the shared space we create: We
build networks of support, meet new and interesting
people, and have fun while doing it!
5 questions :
1. What does community mean to you?
2. Have you ever experienced this level of
community in your life before?
3. What do you feel is blocking you from
experiencing this level of community?
4. What are you personally committed to
doing to experience this level of community?
5. Is this something that you care about?
Steps for a Conversations
• Create circles of 3-8 people.
• Go through the principles.
• Have groups ask the 5 questions for each
• Spend equal parts time on each question.
• Conclude with date for next circle and
encourage people to work together on small
things to make their live and neighborhood
more prepared in the short and long term.
Individual Disaster Preparedness
What to have on hand:
• Flashlight and fresh batteries
• Water for 2 weeks
• Food for 2 weeks
• Basic Tools
Other ways to prepare:
• Fasten down large heavy objects (such as bookshelves)
• Resiliency in the neighborhood: food garden and stock of seeds,
rainwater barrels, functioning bicycles and other non-oil based
Your local government probably has informative materials available
online or in hard copy.
Step Three: Building part of
Community: Keeping Going
• Create a team of at least three advocates for your
community building and disaster preparedness
preparations. These are the conveners and decision
makers. Expand this team when you can, and do not
be discouraged as people on it come in and out.
• Hold meetings regularly (monthly, quarterly,
annually) and do not give up!
OU Medicine’s Communities Advancing Resilience Toolkit:
Community Resilience Toolkit:
Building Resilience in Local Communities:
Community Resilience Manuel
And there are many others! There is no “prescription” for
preparing for disaster in your community or building
community. All is provided to help and inspire you.