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Residents sought for 'Map Your Neighborhood' effort

November 27, 2011
STURBRIDGE — With this year's parade of disasters in our area, a few local emergency providers decided it'd be a good idea to teach people how to handle things themselves, at least in the short term.

"There's really a need for neighborhoods to help themselves before police and fire can get there," said Sturbridge Police Sgt. Kevin Mercier. "In emergencies like these, resources can be overwhelmed very quickly, and events like the tornado can affect police and fire personnel as well, making them have to go take care of their own families."

To address that, Mercier is coordinating a gathering of people interested in learning how to prepare their neighborhoods for disaster. On Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., the police department's hosting a Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) "train the trainer" session on how to organize 15-25 nearby households and identify their skills, tools, needs and risks as they relate to a crisis.

"All the information that's collected doesn't go beyond the neighborhood," said Ric Skinner, a resident who's helping Mercier and has been trying to promote MYN in Massachusetts for a little more than a year now.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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