What Are NRGs?
What are Neighborhood Response Groups (NRGs)?
Mill Valley Neighborhood Response Groups (NRGs) are grassroots-led neighborhoods that prepare as a community for largescale emergencies, such as earthquakes and floods. NRG members take responsibility to prepare themselves as best they can and to help each other as neighbors. The strength of the program is based on the social cohesion of neighbors who have a good reason to get to know each other despite busy lives – to help look out for one another and their families when or if disaster strikes. We create the village again. Each group of 15-20 homes has a team of Block Captains to look after the residents within their block.
Getting to know our neighbors provides us with information on who might need help and who is able to provide help if a major disaster occurs.
Neighbors, led by CERT members and Block Captains, can help with the following:
- Administer basic first aid if someone is injured or turn off utilities if there is a gas leak
- Assist neighbors with special needs (Access & Functional Needs –AFN)
- Check on children waiting at home for parents to return from work
- Check to make sure no neighbor is overlooked.
In the event of a major disaster, such as an earthquake, Marin’s first responders will likely be overwhelmed. The goal of the NRG program is to have every neighborhood ready to care for those residents who live within its borders until first responders arrive, which could take up to several days. NRGs can also help the larger Marin response effort by sharing local information up the chain of command, notifying public safety officials of the most significant injuries and structural damage.
Shelter-in-place: Following a significant disaster such as a large-scale earthquake, residents must be prepared to take care of themselves with food, water, and shelter for 5-7 days on their own in their homes or at least on their property. More information and supply lists can be found at www.readymarin.org/plan-prepare/.
Evacuation: Now that firestorms are also a reality in our area, the more information we have about potential fire conditions, the better decisions we can make. Signing up for emergency alerts through www.alertmarin.org and Nixle (text your zip code to 888777), provides guidance on being prepared to remain at home or to safely evacuate. As a community we can help each other prepare for and mitigate fire risks. Knowing where temporary safe areas or CRAs (Community Refuse Areas) are in your broader neighborhood will provide a quick and safe temporary destination as you evacuate.
Learn more at www.firesafemarin/evacuation/.
PG&E power outages: PG&E power outages have created additional situations that may be difficult for many individuals. Neighbors can bridge that gap also in checking on vulnerable residents to make sure they have the resources to care for themselves.
Sign up for outage notifications at https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/your-account/account-management/manage-your-account/alerts-and-notifications.page.
An NRG is divided into “clusters” of as few as 40 to several hundred households that are further divided into “blocks” of 15-20 homes. Each block has 2 volunteer Block Captains or Coordinators. In an emergency, Block Captains check on the residents in their block to make sure their neighbors are safe and able to care for themselves. Any injuries and significant structural damage are reported to a local, pre-determined Command Post. Requests for medical assistance or other support are conveyed by hand-held radios/walkie-talkies.
Each NRG will have a leadership group or Steering Committee that oversees progress within that NRG; decisions for the entire citywide program will be made by the Mill Valley NRG Advisory Council with representatives from City Council, Fire Department, Emergency Preparedness Commission and each NRG.
CERT: Community Emergency Response Team members are volunteers who have taken a 20 hour course sponsored by FEMA and Citizens Corp. Participants are provided training in first aid, light search & rescue, disaster psychology and fire suppression and upon graduation are considered citizen first responders and disaster service workers. Our goal is 1 CERT member for every 20 homes. CERT teams work closely with Block Captains and the NRG Command Post to provide basic safety resources (first aid, search & rescue, disaster psychology training, animal rescue) to assist in the neighborhood until public safety officials can arrive. **Classes have been canceled for the fall 2020 due to COVID but you can find out more information and access registration when classes are available at www.readymarin.org/cert/.