Connect Your Block
Burlingame Neighborhood Network (BNN) encourages neighbors to connect with one another to build a sense of community, become informed about disaster preparedness and support one another during emergencies.
Earthquakes, wildfires, and floods can all disrupt our lives and our neighbors’ lives. Studies of major catastrophes show that personal connections among neighbors dramatically improve both chances of survival during a disaster and faster recovery in its aftermath
Getting to know neighbors builds our sense of community and our resiliency. That’s why BNN encourages forming block groups to connect neighbors and promote block parties and get-togethers. BNN also holds community preparedness events, and organizes an annual citywide emergency drill.
How to Get Started
Block Groups are formed simply by communicating with your immediate neighbors on your street, condo building or apartment complex. Connecting with your neighbors to discuss emergency preparedness or hold social events brings added benefits in building friendships and community spirit.
This can begin with a flyer to all households inviting them to a casual coffee or wine gathering to meet each other. You can introduce the idea of forming a block group to hold occasional social events, or advance emergency preparedness.
An easy way to start is by having a sign-in sheet so neighbors can share contact info; these to be shared only within your group. Also consider identifying two or three Block Leads. If you like, a BNN board member would be happy to join your first meeting.
Block Groups are usually 20-60 households, and it’s nice to include the neighbors on cross-streets or who are ‘in-between.’
A Block Lead is any neighbor who wants to reach out to their immediate neighbors, with the idea of forming a Block Group. To share the coordination, a neighborhood may have several block leads. The role is flexible, block leads can volunteer year-round, or step forward to coordinate a specific event or two.
BNN has ideas and materials you can use in organizing block events (see Block Lead Materials in Resources). We have sample flyers, block directory info, event ideas, and info on the citywide drill. BNN is happy to chat further, or partner with you, to start your Block Group.
Block Leads are an integral part of making Burlingame a resilient and appealing place to live. Your involvement is appreciated in any way you’d like to volunteer.
Drill Leads run the Citywide Drill event for your block. The 90-minute drill is held simultaneously on dozens of blocks throughout Burlingame. (Block Leads are often also Drill Leads).
Ideas to Get Your Block Connected
- Choose your block area, and gather neighbors to meet, e.g. coffee in the yard
- Make an invitation flyer to leave on doorsteps (see Flyer Samples in Resources)
- Consider inviting a BNN board member to join you (contact us here)
- Have a sign-in sheet to share names/addresses/email/phone
- Talk about ideas for future block events, or topic ideas
- Select one or two (or several) Block Leads
Once Your Block is Connected
- Plan what your next event will be, and announce via flyer and/or group email
- Sign up for the BNN Newsletter for events and updates
- Consider a block directory list. Announce via flyer, and distribute directory to those who provide contact info; you may list special emergency skills, e.g. construction, medical, CERT, ham radio operator (see Directory in Resources)
- Participate in the BNN Citywide Disaster Response Drill; training and drill kit provided!
- See how your block can qualify for a free Emergency Cache (see Cache Program)
Neighbor introductions opens the door for acquaintanceships. And through occasional get-togethers neighbors can become better prepared for a disaster, support one another in times of need, and build friendships.
See our Resources section for materials or links which can be shared in future block talks or gatherings.
I’ve signed up for the newsletter so am now part of BNN. In October I see signs for the BNN emergency drill. This is a great idea and I want to join this event. How can I organize participation for our block?