Think of the neighbors around you. You probably know a lot of them already and maybe there’s a few who you keep promising yourself that you will visit some day soon. Now envision that group of neighbors gathering to work on a common task – putting on a neighborhood party, organizing to get the city to re-paint the crosswalks or checking on each other after an earthquake or big storm. That is a Block Action Team, or what we call a BAT. It is a group of neighbors who know each other, and collectively watch out for those around them and work together to make your personal community – your neighborhood (your BAT) – a better, safer place to be.
Los Altos PREPARE formed the concept of BATs to support the above vision – to help build a sense of community and rally those around you to build stronger neighborhoods. BATs can do lots of things – block parties for holidays such as the 4th of July, participate in the City’s Neighborhood Watch program to keep the neighborhood safe, and most importantly, prepare for that “just around the corner” earthquake that we’re all expecting but hoping will never come.
How to Find Your BAT
Your household may or may not be in a BAT already – but it’s easy to find out. Check this Google map (opens in a new tab) which shows the BATs that are currently formed and operational. If your location is in a BAT but you don’t know who is heading up the local effort, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward it on to the BAT Leader in your area. (We’d love to give you their direct e-mail address, but for privacy reasons we don’t publish e-mail addresses of our BAT Leaders.)
How to Start a New BAT
If your location isn’t in a BAT, it is easy to get one started in your area. We are looking for individuals that can organize and get things rolling – you! Now before you say “not me”, please ask the question “if not me, who?” This isn’t hard – it isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t take someone who can stand up in front of a crowd and deliver the best motivational speech ever, it just needs someone who knows that their neighborhood can be just a little bit better if it were organized. We will help you get the ball rolling, but we need help connecting the neighborhood and getting everyone interested. To get your BAT going, attend one of our Block Action Team Leader training sessions – just click on the “Sign Up to Become a Bat Leader” link at the top of the right column. Sessions are 3 hours long and will provide you with enough information to get started forming your BAT.
What is a BAT Leader?
A BAT Leader is someone who volunteers to be the centralized information point for your neighborhood. The position of Leader can be shared – we definitely encourage co-leaders. The information that a BAT Leader needs to collect is fairly simple – not much more than contact information for the households in the BAT with emergency contact numbers. There’s some additional information to collect for use during an emergency but that’s about it. And the information collected stays with the BAT – the information is not stored on our servers. A BAT Leader treats the collected information as personal and confidential and does not share it with anybody else without permission from the members of the BAT.
A BAT Leader is also someone who will take the initiative to keep the BAT organized, and act as the focal point if that earthquake ever does hit. But none of these activities are real time-takers. It definitely isn’t a full-time job. It is meant to be a position that is fun with a purpose. So if you like to organize parties, like to keep your neighborhood informed as to what’s going on, and if you want to be prepared for “the big one”, then maybe the position of BAT Leader is for you.
Tools and Resources for Block Leaders
Additional tools are listed the Resources page.