Join Your Palisades Neighbors, Map a Disaster Plan

How prepared are the residents on your block if you must cope with the aftermath of a destructive earthquake? Have you ever met to discuss a disaster preparation plan?

If your answers are “ill-prepared” and “no,” members of the Red Cross Santa Monica Bay Chapter want to help out by presenting a “Map Your Neighborhood” (MYN) program at a home on your street.

On Saturday, July 22, the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club and Red Cross Tiffany Circle L.A. Region co-hosted an MYN program at a residence in the Marquez Knolls neighborhood. The audience included homeowners and residents who live on a cul-de-sac with only one way out.

Blue Can Water has a 50-year shelf life.
Blue Can Water has a 50-year shelf life.

The meeting was organized by Cathi Ruddy (president of PPWC) and Josie Tong (chair of 2017 PPWC Holiday Boutique and chair of the Tiffany Circle). It was led by Liz Giordano, a Red Cross L.A. Regional Board member and Tiffany Circle member. Other participants included leaders of the Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association and Julie Thomas, executive director of the Red Cross Santa Monica Bay Chapter.

The meeting focused on what to do during the first hour after a major earthquake, “The Golden Hour,” when the first responders may be overwhelmed and unable to reach damaged homes immediately.

“We learned how to keep our families safe and help each other to survive,” said Tong, a local realtor, who hosted the event. “We followed a step-by-step process and worked as a team to prepare our neighborhood following a disaster. We discussed what to do and not to do, located the gas shutoff valves in each participant’s home, took inventory of the availability of crucial skills and equipment, and identified residents with special needs (such as elderly and children) even if they were not present in the meeting.”

During the 90-minute meeting, neighbors enjoyed getting to know each other, shared disaster preparedness tips, and left feeling a little more comfortable about what to do in the event of a major earthquake. They also had a chance to purchase cases of water (Blue Can Water) with a 50-year shelf life. “This was not a one-time event,” Tong said. “We plan to repeat the meeting and in- clude those who were not able to join us. We also hope to extend this to other blocks and streets in the Palisades.”

The board of the Red Cross Santa Monica Bay Chapter, which supports the Palisades, has identified the “Map Your Neighborhood” program as its top initiative for the next 12 months. Liz Giordano and other Red Cross volunteers will be happy to conduct the training for individual neighborhoods or train the trainers who can then roll it out to the community.

Contact CEO Julie Thomas for more information and scheduling: Office: (424) 203-1102; cell: (310) 922-2046 or by e-mail:



Map Your Neighborhood Program

  • Statistics show that 90 percent of all survivors of disasters are rescued by other survivors. It may be up to you to save the life of another, or you may depend on your neighbors to rescue you or your loved ones.
  • The MYN program was designed by the Washington Emergency Management Department and is implemented locally by the American Red Cross to improve readiness at the neigh- borhood level. It teaches neighbors to rely on each other by working as a team to develop stronger communities.
  • This program is FEMA-endorsed and has been successfully implemented in more than 20 states.
  • The goal is to increase neighbors’ capacity to survive and be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after a disaster. This is particularly important when local police, fire, paramedic and other professional first-responder services are overwhelmed.
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