I recently had a mini-flash flood in my backyard.
We had torrential rains and several homes were flooded. We were okay, but some of our neighbors' homes were flooded with water and mud.
Some swimming pools were filled with muddy water. Our dirt/sand here is reddish orange. It stains clothes and shoes.
The rocks in Southern Utah are beautiful to look at, climb, rappel and walk on nature trails. BUT when we have too much rain in a very short time it can be very dangerous, very quickly.
We had neighbors texting each other to make sure everyone was okay.
We were all asking questions like, "are you okay?" or "do you need sandbags?"
The rain and hail actually pitted cars, garage doors, front doors, and gates. Some cars were so badly pitted they looked like some rocks had been thrown at them.
The reason I want to share these 15 ways to get to know your neighbor is because we might just need that family that lives 6 doors down to come and help in a fire, a tornado, a hurricane, a flood, an earthquake, or simply a torrential rainstorm.
Sometimes we feel very secure that we can take care of ourselves.
That truly is a very good feeling.
BUT sometimes we need to know our neighbors so we can share labor, tools and know-how in an unexpected emergency. I have said many times when I teach emergency preparedness classes...".that guy down the street with a chainsaw may be your new best friend."
- Say "Hello!" When going outside to get the mail from your mail box, greet, wave or say hello to your neighbors.
- Plan a neighborhood movie night (you could serve Dorito® Popcorn!)
- Invite friends over to play card games, make crafts or play outdoor games in the yard.
- Plan a potluck dinner and have people bring their favorite recipe to share.
- Suggest having a girl's night out or a luncheon to get to know each other.
- If you see a garage door open that is usually not (at night)....knock on the door or call them if you know their phone number. They'll be thankful to know you were looking out for them.
- Plan a "Clean up our street" event...keep in mind some neighbors might be elderly and hesitant to ask for help.
- Get involved. If you have kids, plan play dates, join the local PTA, volunteer to coach a youth team. Consider attending a local church and volunteer for a committee.
- If you feel comfortable, ask neighbors for family members' phone numbers you can contact in case of an emergency. Let them know of any special talents / skills you have that might come in handy.
- Have you ever thought about a block party? Suggest a park or area close by so people can exchange ideas about emergency preparedness. Some people have no idea they should store water, food, etc.
- Get a dog....it is wonderful to take a dog walking and meet neighbors.
- Take a fresh baked loaf of bread (or something else) to a neighbor. Exchange phone numbers so you have someone you can contact if help is needed in a real emergency or disaster.
- Have a barbecue in the front yard and send notes around to neighbors to bring a dish and their own meat of choice. Chairs are welcome too!
- Spend more time in the front yard, porch or balcony. Say hi to those who pass by on foot, riding their bike, etc.
- Make a jar of jam and deliver to neighbors with your name and contact information on an attached tag. Indicate you are available in case they need help.
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Knowing your neighbors is a great way to provide that extra level of security to your community.
We rely on the police to cruise the area looking for trouble spots.
A well-informed neighborhood is one that provides that "crime watch" feel and actuality.
Be aware of who is driving down the street.
Alert neighbors if you think the door to door solicitor / salesperson may be casing the homes looking for that weak link.
If you notice papers piling up out front, grass growing longer than usual, weeds in the planter areas, etc. these may be signs of challenges in that home. Be vigilant and concerned.
How better to show we live the mantra to "love thy neighbor"?
How well do YOU know YOUR Neighbors?
Which tip will you try first? Or which do you already do?