Knowing Your Neighbors Could Save Your Life

Neighborhood Preparedness does make a difference

A recent study conducted by Dr. Daniel Aldrich at Northeastern University found that survival rates in the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami were much higher in communities where neighbors were well-acquainted. The 2017 North Bay fires showed similar results – knowing neighbors saved lives. Connection to your community can make all the difference in a life or death situation. 

Dr. Aldrich describes interviews with survivors of the 2011 disaster and concluded that communities with more interactions and shared norms worked effectively to provide help families and neighbors. In many cases only 40 minutes separated the earthquake and arrival of the tsunami. During that time, residents picked up and carried many elderly people out of vulnerable, low-lying areas. In high-trust neighborhoods, people knocked on doors of those who needed help and escorted them out of harm’s way.

How Do We Build Resilience in Mill Valley?

Neighbors can build cohesion and trust in a variety of ways. First, residents can learn about their immediate neighbors, many who will serve as first responders during a crisis. Next, whole communities can seek to deepen interactions and trust by organizing block parties, becoming a Firewise Community, hosting festivals, sports days, and other events. Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters has placed neighborhood preparedness and organizing as a high community priority.  Also, the City of Mill Valley’s Emergency Preparedness Commission wants to be a part of the solution by participating with neighborhoods who are active, as well as those just starting the process of organizing.

Additional resources:

Meet your neighbors by hosting a National Night Out event on August 7. 

Interested in volunteering in your neighborhood? Contact our Volunteer Coordinator.

Neighborhood Association Resources

Join the Community Emergency Response Team

Interested? Please reach out to the Mill Valley Fire Department for more information. Call 415-389-4130 or email