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Let's Build Resilient Communities

The Comox Valley Emergency Program (CVEP) is excited to announce the soft launch of its refreshed and simplified Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) and Guide. This program and guide will provide important tools and direction to ensure Comox Valley communities are prepared in case of an emergency.

Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP)

Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program Guide

Most initial disaster relief is provided not by formal emergency and relief organizations, but by residents of the impact area and surrounding communities.

-- 'Common Misconceptions about Disasters' by Erik Auf der Heide

NEPP was identified as a key initiative by the CVRD Board of Directors to help ensure Comox Valley communities are prepared in case of an emergency. While personal and household preparedness is important, NEPP builds resilience at the community level. By working together with your immediate neighborhood, you will not be alone in times of need.

Individuals and neighbourhoods need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a week or more following a major disaster. 

Program Highlights:

  • NEPP fosters social connections and mutual assistance within a neighbourhood setting.
  • For several days after a major disaster, help from neighbours may be the only help available. It's important to build those relationships beforehand so you're prepared, should a distaster occur.
  • Research shows that in a disaster, people working together have a better chance of survival than individuals acting alone. They also recover much faster emotionally.
  • It is important residents are prepared to be self-sufficient during emergency situations with emergency kits, water and have proper plans in place for family and pets. To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit our Emergency Preparedness page.

Create Your NEPP Plan

This section leads you step-by-step through the stages of creating a basic NEPP plan. You may be surprised by how easy it is!

Step 1 - Be Personally Prepared

Personal preparedness is the foundation of emergency planning. How can we help each other if we cannot first
help ourselves? We should all prepare to be self-sufficient with food, water and emergency supplies for at least
seven days.

For more information on personal preparedness presentations and resources, contact the Comox Valley
Emergency Program at 250-334-6000 or visit us online at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/emergency.

Step 2 - Be a Neighbourhood Champion

Neighbourhood champions are the folks willing to rally their neighbours, spread the word, share materials, and in the process - build lasting relationships. They come from all different backgrounds and walks of life and share a passion to make their community a safer place. Neighborhood champions are priceless.

You will receive support. The Comox Valley Emergency Program does not offer funding, but we will give you the following:

  • All of the planning tools you need to begin. These include this step-by-step guide, promotional materials, a presentation from the Comox Valley Emergency Program, a map of your neighbourhood, and free materials you can share.
  • A way to connect with fellow champions online and in person, allowing you to ask questions and share your concerns, thoughts and ideas.
  • Support by email or phone.
Step 3 - Prepare to Host a Meeting

Consider the following when preparing for your NEPP meeting:

  • When would you like your neighbourhood to meet?
    • If you would like us to do a presentation and help guide the process, please confirm the date and time with us first. We suggest you schedule 90 minutes for the meeting.
  • Where do you want to hold the meeting?
    • A home in the neighbourhood is ideal, unless there are too many attending. It can also be outside, weather permitting. In-person meetings are preferred, but we can also give the presentation virtually on Zoom.
  • Where are the neighbourhood boundaries?
    • You can include as few or as many homes and people as you like. You can always increase or decrease the size of your group later. If you live in a small subdivision, an apartment complex, or a mobile home park, you may want to include the entire area or building. It’s your call.
  • How will you invite your neighbours to your meeting?
    • We recommend inviting your neighbours in person, if possible. This helps to encourage their attendance and participation. Find a sample invitation you can leave with your neighbours in Appendix B.
  • Who will do the inviting?
    • Do you have a like-minded neighbour, partner, or a couple of kids willing to pitch in? The more, the merrier, and the less time it will take. Some neighbours may choose not to participate, and that’s okay.
Step 4 - Meeting to Create a Basic NEPP Plan

Great work! You've organized yout first NEPP meeting. Here’s what to expect:

  • A representative for the Comox Valley Emergency Program will provide a presentation on NEPP, and offer materials needed to complete a basic neighbourhood plan.
  • Meeting participants will be invited to help identify the top three hazards within your area, and to learn about preparedness tips to help reduce overall risks.
  • You might be able to complete a full draft of your basic NEPP plan before the meeting is over. This plan might include identifying who will be on your NEPP Leadership Team.
  • Your NEPP plan is as unique as your neighbourhood, and will serve you best when regularly maintained. NEPP Leadership are responsible for distributing and updating the plan over the long term.

A sample of a fully completed basic NEPP plan can be found in Appendix T of the NEPP Guide.

Well done! Your neighbourhood now has a basic NEPP plan that could reduce impacts, ease suffering, and maybe even save lives after a disaster.

Step 5 - Hold a NEPP Leadership Meeting

The NEPP Leadership Team are encouraged to meet shortly after the basic NEPP plan is fully drafted. This
meeting is for Leadership to identify the basic supports and functions needed to maintain the NEPP plan,
and to determine:

  • What is our leadership model? Chair, co-chair or team lead?
  • How will we meet as the leadership team?
  • How often do we meet as a neighbourhood?
  • When do we update the plan? Annually or when neighbours move in or away?
  • How do we distribute the updated plan? At a NEPP BBQ, or delivered door-to-door?
  • Will this team also coordinate the response after a disaster, or will it identify others who will play that role?
  • Which of the appendices from this guide should we include as part of our plan?
  • Does our neighbourhood need a more detailed plan?
Step 6 - Hosting Follow-Up Meetings

Follow-up meetings are essential. A group that meets just once will have a hard time remembering what
to do when disaster strikes. Follow-up meetings strengthen your group and reinforce the roles each
neighbour will play after a disaster. They allow more neighbours to become involved in the organization,
particularly new neighbours. They build unity and increase your group’s ability to respond promptly and
effectively to disasters.

We suggest that you hold your neighbourhood follow-up meetings at least every 8 to 12 months or more
often if necessary. A follow-up meeting can be a get-together or an activity. Make it fun!