Are you interested in forming a block group but not sure how to get started? The following organizational steps have been successful in the past. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like help with this.
Ask a few neighbors you may already know to help out with generating interest and getting things started. Or contact us and we will try to match you to other individuals who have expressed interest in starting a group.
Decide which homes you would like to include in your group. We can help with a recommendation. Groups typically include 15 to 20 homes but may be larger or smaller. Somerset’s largest group includes over 40 homes and smallest around 10. Groups function best if homes are in clusters, say on a street from which all group members’ driveways are accessed.
With your co-organizers, decide on a date for a potluck meal, picnic, BBQ or similar event. This event will kick off the group members getting to know each other which is the fundamental component of community safety and preparedness. Early in September, just after school starts, has worked for some in the past. Others prefer just before school lets out in the spring. Either way, consult the school calendars before setting a date as orchestra concerts and football games often draw people away. The SCA will provide limited financial support (up to $100 annually) for costs associated with holding meetings and/or maintaining group supplies. Save your receipts!
Select a location. Meeting at one of the homes in the group will be most successful. In the past, group members have offered their driveways, garages, yards, decks or living/family rooms for gatherings.
Decide on the meeting format. Meetings often start with social time with food and beverages. This is then followed by an informational session focused on some aspect of neighborhood safety or preparedness (see item 7 below). Finally, a brief discussion time will help highlight specific concerns neighbors may have and point to future informational topics to be presented. You will also want to have name tags and a neighbor sign-in sheet available so you can capture contact information for future communications.
With the details set, divide up the homes into subgroups for organizers to go door to door to meet neighbors and invite them to the event. Face-to-face communication is important and most effective. Keep it informal and stress the main goal is for neighbors to meet one another. Ask for any specific concerns which might help focus the informational portion of the meeting. A printed flyer with time, location and contact information to be left with the neighbor is also helpful.
With dates set and neighbors invited, the details of the informational portion of the meeting can be planned. There are many topics you might consider. A few are listed below. The Bellevue Office of Emergency Management can help support these meetings as well.