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Neighborhood groups in Evanston were advised Monday to organize and compile essential data to be prepared for an unforeseen emergency.

The advice came from Marilyn Gardner, technical director of the Evanston Amateur Radio Community (EARC) in a talk at the group’s monthly meeting at the Fire Department Training Room on Lake Street.

“It’s important to map your neighborhood in advance of an emergency,” said Gardner, who’s licensed by the Federal Communications Commission under the call letters W9LUO.

A typical neighborhood organization, she said, is one that has an annual block party. It consists of neighbors who already know each other, but many have not gone the extra step to compile information that would be useful following a tornado, earthquake, ice storm, or some other natural or manmade disaster.

A “neighborhood map,” she said, would not only specify the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of its residents, but also would detail the location of gas meters, electrical power lines, and other potentially hazardous items.

A well-planned organization, she added, would also note which residents have special equipment, such as electric generators, chain saws, and the like, that would be useful, as well as special skills of various neighbors, such as plumbers, carpenters, medical personnel, and amateur radio operators.

The neighborhood plan should also note those residents who are elderly or handicapped.

“Someone with diabetes,” she said, “might need to know who has emergency refrigeration to help store insulin for the duration of a disaster.”

The EARC was started a few years ago by radio amateurs as a means of assisting the city with emergency communications when all other modes of communication, such as the internet, cell phones, and fiber optic cables, are rendered inoperable.

Photo: Marilyn Gardner speaking on neighborhood emergency preparedness.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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