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Nextdoor partners with San Francisco to mobilize neighbors during a disaster

Susie Ochs | April 21, 2014
Hyperlocal social network Nextdoor isn't just about introducing you to your neighbors so you can borrow each other's lawn mowers, recommend babysitters, and pitch in to find lost pets. The network also has more than 100 partnerships with local governments, which can issue alerts to specific neighborhoods about things like street closures, broken water mains, and even bigger emergencies. Including, someday, the Big One.

In fact, that's just what happened recently in Potrero Hill, a San Francisco neighborhood that's very active on Nextdoor (its more than 2800 neighbors puts it in the top 10 of the 32,000 Nextdoor neighborhoods nationwide). During a massive fire in nearby Mission Bay, explained neighborhood Nextdoor leader Tim Sigle, Portrero Hill residents dealt with street closures, and some were even evacuated from their homes due to smoke and ash.

Nextdoor users mobilized to share real-time information, look after neighbors' pets, and even opened their homes to people who couldn't return to theirs right away. Sigle praised Nextdoor's iOS and Android apps for letting neighbors stuck at work in other parts of the city keep tabs on the situation. "They're tapped into the neighborhood even when they're not there," he explained. With the new partnership, Nextdoor users will have even better access to official information directly from the DEM: "This will be a big help to get actual, factual information," Sigle said. And when neighbors already know each other via Nextdoor before a crisis, they'll be even more likely to lend a hand to each other.


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