How To: Get Your Neighborhood Disaster Watch Started

emergency plan

Lots of communities have a neighborhood watch to cut down on crime. Why not create one to alert your neighbors on possible disasters in your community? A neighborhood disaster watch places additional eyes on disaster awareness and advisories in your area.

How do you start a neighborhood watch?

  1. Contact your local emergency response departments in your area, like the police and fire departments. Not all departments have facilitators to help set up a neighborhood watch, but they should have resources available. If they don't have an official representative, ask the department if an officer can stop by one of your meetings.Many times something like this can be arranged in advance.
  2. Set up a meeting with your neighbors to see who's interested in participating. The meeting place should be accessible to all, maybe a school or church in the neighborhood.
  3. At your meeting, explain to others what's involved and expected for participation. Hopefully you'll find that many of your neighbors are interested, especially if it doesn't require a lot of time or effort. Check out our tips on how to hold a meeting.
  4. At the first meeting, assign roles and get as much information from community members as possible. Nominate a captain and co-captain. Find out if residents are interested in meetings every few months or general meetings about fire safety or if they want to stick with one annual meeting per year. Hand out a form for residents to submit information for the community phone tree and map.
  5. Once the first meeting is over and the information is gathered, the captain and co-captains can compile the phone tree and maps.
  6. The Captain and Co-Captain should then give a phone tree and map to every participant in the neighborhood.
  7. Now it's up to the captains and residents to keep information up to date and work with their neighbors on community projects or socials. That's it!


This information was adapted from Neighborhood Crime watch programs like