Block Captain Orientation

Block Captains (BCs) are the heart of this program and are a crucial link between the NRG and the individual residents of Mill Valley. The role requires a responsible person with the time and interest to work as part of an emergency response team. Being at home during the day is not a pre-requisite. A Block Captain should have a reliable phone messaging system, access to emails, be highly responsible and committed to assisting the residents in their neighborhood.

Becoming a BC can be a very rewarding experience, as you visit and get to know your neighbors. BCs serve the important function of providing preparedness information and keeping people informed about emergency incidents that affect the community.

Primary duties include:

  • Be responsible for 10-20 homes in their cluster and ideally work with a Co-BC or Assistant BC.
  • Collect basic contact information from the residents in their block of homes and keep a roster of residents in their area.
  • Serve as the contact person for those series of homes to distribute timely information re: safety issues within their neighborhood
  • Participate in bi-annual emergency drills at time change, checking on neighbors within their block and reporting any scripted injuries/damage to NRG Command Post
  • Assist in recovery efforts based on information from City of Mill Valley

Block Captains have three time periods or phases that define their duties:

Before the emergency, the preparation phase:

  • Visit neighbors to collect basic contact information and share basic preparedness information, including evacuation guidelines.
  • Meet at least once/year with their neighbors to review preparedness strategies and update contact information.
  • Participate in radio training and drills to make sure you are comfortable conveying messages by radio.
  • Be familiar with your NRG’s emergency plan, location of the NRG Command Post and your responsibilities.

During the emergency, the response phase:

  • Take care of yourself and your family first.
  • Only after your family and home are secured, put on BC vest, grab your BC backpack and report into Command Post by radio.
  • Check on neighbors in your block in order to assess the situation on your block and convey status such as injuries, downed power lines, gas leaks, fires, blocked roads, and structure damage to Command Post. Neighbors post “OK/HELP” signs in their windows to alert the BC of their status. Only those posting “HELP” signs or no signs need to be checked on.
  • Direct & assist CERT teams/first responders if they arrive on your block to help.
  • If your block of homes are secure, report and wait for further assignment.

Following the emergency, the recovery phase:

  • Visit each residence to make sure that your neighbors are safe and able to care for themselves. Any special needs can be conveyed by radio to the Command Post (CP) or designated recipient once CP is closed.
  • Pass on any documentation to Command Post.
  • Pass on feedback about effectiveness of response effort.
  • Re-stock supplies when emergency efforts are completed.