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SNAP Program: Get Organized

Task List Materials:

Meeting Packet Materials:

When disasters strike, people will naturally want to help themselves and each other. The purpose of this part of the SNAP program is to help neighborhoods organize in advance of the disaster so that they help each other in the most safe and efficient way.

The philosophy when responding in disasters is "to do the most good for the most people in the safest way and the shortest amount of time."

Organizational check list:

  • Choose Neighborhood Co-Coordinators. These two people will be the leaders on the day of the disaster. They will ensure that the plan is being followed and problems are being solved safely and effectively on the day of the disaster.
  • Identify a neighborhood Meeting Place where everyone will meet after the earthquake. This meeting place should be centrally located and easy to get to. It could be someone's front yard, the end of a cul-de-sac or at a park or open area within the neighborhood.
  • Identify a First Aid location. This should be near your neighborhood meeting place.
  • Distribute and explain the neighborhood Help/OK signs. It is important that everyone understands that the Help/OK signs are a communications tool for the neighborhood program only. Police and fire responders will not know to look for nor will they respond to a Help/OK sign in a window.
  • Create a map of the neighborhood identifying the houses participating in SNAP, the neighborhood Meeting Place, the First Aid location and homes with natural gas meters.

Plan to Respond

Goal: Help People and Protect Property! To have an effective response, you need a leader. The Neighborhood Coordinator is responsible for making sure that the plan is being followed and neighbors are being as safe as possible when trying to help each other. There's a task list for this position listed below.

After a disaster, there are usually six tasks that have to be accomplished. The tasks can be organized into two groups: "Response Tasks" and "People Tasks." The response tasks include: Utility Control, Simple Search and Rescue and Disaster First Aid. Depending on how many people are participating on your SNAP team, you can divide your people into groups and accomplish these tasks all at the same time. If you only have a few people available on the day of the disaster, you'll have to prioritize which tasks get done first based on life safety. Usually the priority will be: 1) Controlling utilities so that search and rescue can be done safely and to reduce the likelihood of an uncontrolled fire. 2) Search and Rescue using the process described on the task list. 3) Setting up a Disaster First Aid area.

The other group of tasks has to do with taking care of people. Those tasks include Shelter and Special Needs, Communications and Damage Assessment. Those tasks can often be delayed if resources are limited. The highest priority of these three tasks is Shelter and Special Needs.

A meeting packet for this part of the SNAP program is available by calling the Office of Emergency Management at 206-233-5076.

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