How well do you know you know your neighbors? Last year I 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, repel and walk on nature trails, but when we have too much rain in a very short time it can be very dangerous.
We had neighbors texting each other to make sure everyone was okay. We were 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 that we might just need that family that lives six doors down to come and helps in a fire, a tornado, a hurricane, a flood, an earthquake, or simply a torrential rain storm.
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.”
Here Are 15 Ways To Get To Know Your Neighbors:
1. When going outside to get the mail from your mailbox, greet, wave or say hello to your neighbors.
2. Plan a neighborhood movie night.
3. Invite friends over to play card games, make crafts or outdoor games in the yard.
4. Plan a potluck dinner and have people bring their favorite recipe to share.
5. Suggest having a girl’s night out or a luncheon to get to know each other.
6. If you see a garage door open that is usually not open (at night)….knock on the door of that home or call them if you know their phone number. I am sure they will be thankful to know it was open.
7. Plan a “Clean up our street”….let your neighbors know about neighbors who could use a little help. They might be old and are hesitant to ask for help.
8. If you have kids plan play dates, join the local PTA or volunteer to coach a youth team. Consider attending a local church and volunteer for a committee.
9. 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.
10. Have you ever thought about a block party? Suggest a park or area close by so people can exchange ideas about what you have available to help each other survive a disaster. Some people have no idea they should store water, food, etc.
11. Get a dog….it is wonderful to take a dog walking and meet neighbors.
12. If you make bread take a loaf to a neighbor. Exchange phone numbers so you have someone you can contact if help is needed in a real emergency or disaster.
13. 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!
14. Spend more time in the front yard, porch or balcony. Say hi to those who pass by on foot, riding their bike, etc.
15. 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.
Here Are 15 Reasons To Know Your Neighbors:
1. If you feel comfortable to give them a key is a great convenience for several reasons, like if you get locked out.
2. They can watch your home for unusual activities.
3. Gather your newspapers if you are out of town.
4. Collect your mail if you are out of town.
5. Take out your garbage cans and put them back if you are out of town or ill.
6. See if you can make a new walking or sports friend.
7. Someone to take fishing.
8. Someone to help put together an emergency neighborhood group.
9. Someone to call if you have fallen or hurt yourself.
10. Someone to travel with.
11. Someone to go camping with.
12. Someone to walk your dogs together.
13. Ask someone to join a civic club with you.
14. Plant a garden together, share the harvest.
15. Go for a bike ride or hiking together.
Knowing your neighbors is a great way to provide that extra level of security to your community. We rely on 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”?