Neighbors Helping Neighbors: That’s What Friends are For

Sheila McGee doesn’t take emergency preparedness lightly. Neither does her neighborhood for that matter. McGee, who resides in the Forrest Creek subdivision in College Park, has worked closely with neighbors over the past two years to ensure that everyone is prepared for the unexpected.

Currently, many in her neighborhood use “Nextdoor,” an app in which neighbors can communicate with one another in order to build a stronger and safer community. Since neighbors are often the closest form of help during an emergency, McGee understands that building bonds and trust in those you know best can make a world of difference if a disaster strikes.

“It’s important that we make sure to not only be prepared ourselves, but to also look out for our neighbors,” said McGee. “In addition to utilizing the app, I also make sure to regularly communicate with my neighbors and develop ongoing relationships that can be mutually beneficial if either of us is in need during an emergency situation.”

Sheila’s story is just one example of community members coming together to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in preparedness in their own community.  Because responders often do not have immediate access to a specific neighborhood or home due to devastation caused by bad weather, it’s important that communities bond together and develop a communications plan to address potentially dangerous situations.

Becoming prepared and informed is easier than you might think. Spencer Hawkins, emergency management director for Macon-Bibb County, says that providing just a little support can go a long way in helping your neighbors get through a potentially dangerous situation.

“Take some time to check on your elderly neighbor or a family with a newborn baby. They may not have thought to pack a Ready kit or sign up for the emergency notification system,” said Hawkins. “By taking just a few minutes, you could save a life.”

With many families heading out on summer vacation in just a few short weeks, now is the time for Georgians to utilize their personal network to ensure their safety and the safety of others.