Connection: The Hidden Tool of Preparedness
One of the most powerful things you can do to prepare for the aftermath of a Cascadia earthquake is to connect with your neighbors and people in your community now. Even casual connections strengthen community ties, which have been shown to hasten recovery after a natural disaster. Did you know that over 90% of people rescued after natural disasters are rescued by the community members around them, not professional First Responders? It’ll be the same after the Cascadia earthquake. First Responders are unlikely to be available, so we'll be leaning on those around us, and they’ll be leaning on us.
Connecting with people around you is free, yet it’s an invaluable preparedness task. So, take the time to meet your neighbors, get to know the folks at the corner store and stop at that lemonade stand next summer. Consider attending your neighborhood association meetings or any community group that interests you. All of these activities build social ties, and communities with strong social ties do better in the aftermath of natural disasters than those without.
The Cajun Navy, private citizens who came to help with Hurricane Harvey in Houston in 2017. Photo by Travis Spradling.
These social connections are important to us all of the time, not just after a disaster. Multiple studies have shown that people with strong social support and meaningful relationships have fewer health problems, stronger immune systems, are happier and live longer lives. So, fostering connections with those around you can improve your life every day, now that’s compelling!
- Organizing a neighborhood potluck
- Borrowing a cup of sugar
- Saying hi to your neighbor
- Changing a lightbulb for an elderly neighbor
- Having a block party
- Walking around your neighborhood
- Stopping at a lemonade stand
- Delivering cookies to a new neighbor
- Knowing your neighbors’ names
- Taking in your neighbors’ recycling bin
- Checking in on an elderly neighbor