Map Your Neighborhood

“People, not kits. If you really want to be ready for the next big earthquake, forget the earthquake kit and go talk to
your neighbors.”
– Lucy Jones, June 12, 2021 Los Angeles Times.

Altadenans have a long history of working together to help one another. Our community has experienced wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes, power outages and, most recently, a pandemic. We have survived these disasters with the help of a strong response system and a sense of resilience. But imagine a disaster of far greater magnitude. Altadena sits on a major transverse fault, ever under threat of a major earthquake, one that could knock out utilities we depend on–water, power, gas, phone. And, no counting on our fire department, power company, water companies, or sheriffs. All of our first responders will be immediately overwhelmed.


When every-day life is completely turned upside down and havoc reigns it will be VERY good to have a plan. This is where Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) can be a life saver, literally. MYN is a disaster preparedness plan for groups of individuals and families in homes in close proximity, and in apartment buildings. 

Here’s how MYN works: one or more people act as “coordinator(s)” for their block or apartment building, and call a meeting of neighbors at their home. An Altadena MYN volunteer is there to explain a basic plan for working together before, during, and after a major disaster. The volunteer goes over basic do’s and don’ts when an earthquake strikes, hands out literature, acts as facilitator, and initiates a group discussion about personal and group earthquake preparation. Typically, 10-20 households attend the meeting where they agree on a location where all who can will gather once the shaking stops. The group will confer and decide on what needs to be done. Some will check on vulnerable neighbors, others may provide first aid, check for gas leaks, listen to radios for emergency information, and do whatever else is needed.

Yes, survival kits are important; we will all need shelter, water, food, and emergency supplies. But as Lucy Jones said, it will be the relationships that will sustain us and hasten our recovery. 

The long-term goal is for Altadena to continue to prosper as a community. It will be up to us, as citizens of this town, to make it happen. If you and your family are warm, dry and have food and water, you are more likely to stay and rebuild your life here in Altadena.

Altadena MYN committee members are all volunteers who believe that a community prepared for disaster is a strong community. Since 2017, approximately 18 % of residents of Altadena have participated in MYN. We need more.

If you are ready to get prepared for “the Big One” (and, as a bonus, meet your neighbors), email AMYN at Leave your name and phone number; we will contact you and get you started. If you want to know if an MYN group already exists in your immediate area we will happily put you in touch with your block coordinator. Please check us out on Facebook HERE.

For more from our local seismologist, musician, and author, Lucy Jones, listen to the NPR podcast, The Big One: Your Survival Guide at  Read the full LA times article by Lucy Jones HERE.