How to use Nextdoor during a disaster

Below are tips on using Nextdoor to share and find local information and resources to ask for or offer to help. When looking for and sharing information on Nextdoor, search for commonly used terms such as evacuation orders, road closures, supplies, gasoline, and shelter.

  • Remember that some of your neighbors may need help. You can help them prepare, for example, by running errands, securing outdoor items, clearing drains, filling and placing sandbags, or installing hurricane shutters
  • If evacuation orders are given, some of your neighbors may also need a ride; knock on their doors and post to Nextdoor with your offer.
  • You may return home before others, and you can offer to check on your neighbors’ homes and take pictures of the damage so they can start the claim process. 
  • Repost messages you find helpful to increase visibility.
  • For the best experience, use the Nextdoor app or install it if it is not on your phone.
  • To find trusted information from public agencies, go to
  • Invite your neighbors to join Nextdoor to create more resilient neighborhoods in times of crisis.

To ensure that you and your neighbors can communicate with each other to share vital information, give and get help, and receive essential updates from public agencies, join Nextdoor now!

Neighbor Stories

How to Prepare

Sign up for alerts and stay weather-aware:

  • Check or join Nextdoor to get updates and alerts about your neighborhood from local public agencies.
  • Purchase or replace batteries for your NOAA weather radio.
  • Check your local municipality’s website to see if they offer an emergency notifications system and sign up for alerts.
  • Download the FEMA App (available in English and Spanish) to receive weather alerts, safety tips, and reminders and be ready for the unexpected.

Assemble or update supplies for your home, vehicle, pets, and children:

  • Store at least one gallon of water per person for at least three days for drinking and sanitation.
  • Purchase non-perishable foods for each person to last at least three days.
  • Ensure everyone has the medications they need and keep copies of prescriptions.
  • Make sure you have food, water, and medications for pets.
  • Have games and toys children enjoy readily available in your supplies.
  • Fill your tub with water to boil for drinking or to flush the toilet if the water supply is interrupted.
  • Withdraw cash as ATMs will not work during power outages.
  • Fill your vehicle with gas and charge your devices.

Document and insure home and vehicles:

  • Take photos of your possessions or store digital copies of important documents in the cloud (furniture, electronics, heating and cooling systems, valuables, etc.)
  • Check your insurance declarations and talk with your agent about your needs each year. 
  • Consider getting flood insurance for your home, as homeowners insurance typically does not cover flooding. 
  • Consider sewer backup insurance, which covers damages arising from sewage in your bathtub, toilet, basement, or anywhere else in your home.

Know your evacuation zone and routes and make a plan:

  • If you live in low-lying areas susceptible to flooding and storms, you must know in which evacuation zone you live should an evacuation order be issued.
  • Identify several ways to evacuate your neighborhood and town/city.
  • Post to Nextdoor and/or knock on doors to ask for help or identify nearby neighbors who need help evacuating in an emergency and make an agreement with them to help or be helped. Be sure to exchange contact information.

Create your family/household communication plan:

  • Ensure everyone in your family/household has each other’s phone numbers saved in their phones.
  • Identify out-of-town contacts and store their numbers on everyone’s phones.
  • Determine where everyone will meet, should you get separated, and make sure everyone stores the address and any contact information in their phones.
  • Texting is best during emergencies, as phone lines may be tied up.

Plan with your neighbors:

Before disasters

  • Post to Nextdoor to ask for and offer help to prepare for disasters. For example, help with sandbags, putting up hurricane shutters, shoveling snow, clearing brush to prevent wildfire spread, and evacuating. Coordinate with neighbors to clear drains of debris on your street.

After disasters

  • Post to Nextdoor to ask for and offer help taking pictures of damaged property so neighbors who have yet to return can submit insurance claims. You can also use Nextdoor to coordinate clean-ups, offer shelter, and raise money using tools like GoFundMe and sharing your fundraiser on Nextdoor.

Save for a rainy day:

During a disaster, you may need to pay for unexpected expenses such as a hotel and meals, if you evacuate, as well as cleaning and repair expenses when you return home.

Tips for returning home and cleaning up after a disaster

First off, please only return home when officials say it is safe to do so. 

Do not enter your damaged home if:

🚨 Authorities have not declared it safe to return or enter

⛽️ You smell gas or hear a hissing sound (call 911)

🌊 Floodwaters remain around the building

Also, watch out for these fire hazards:

✔️ Appliances or vehicles exposed to water.

✔️ Exposed power lines, electrical outlets & wiring.

When returning home after a power outage, follow these food safety tips:

🤢 Don’t taste the food

🌡️ Use a thermometer to check food temperature

🗑️ Throw away food that is 40+ degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours

If there is damage to your home or belongings, document it before you clean it up:

📸 Take photos before you begin to clean up. 

📝 Make a list of damaged or lost items & gather receipts. 

⚡ Do not touch or cut power lines as they may be live


When cleaning, please follow these safety tips from the CDC to stay safe.

Get the right safety gear:

  • Hard hats
  • Goggles
  • N95 masks (or a respirator with a higher protection level)
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank)
  • Earplugs or protective headphones (if you’re working with noisy equipment)
  • At least two fire extinguishers (each with a UL rating of at least 10A)

If sewage is involved, make sure to wear the following during your cleanup:

  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles

Use teams to move heavy, or bulky objects:

  • Have teams of at least two people work together to move heavy or bulky objects.
  • Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).

Pace yourself. Cleaning up your home can be a big job. Be sure to take care of yourself:

  • Rest when needed.
  • Decide which cleanup tasks are most important, and focus on those first. That way, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.
  • Try to work with other people so you aren’t alone.
  • Get support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists.

Take precautions when using a chainsaw:

  • When using a chainsaw, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear, and be sure that bystanders are a safe distance away.
  • Avoid contact with power lines, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches bent or caught under something else.
  • Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chainsaw.

Stay safe in hot weather:

  • In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.
  • For more information on protecting yourself against heat-related illness, see the CDC Extreme Heat website.

Do you still need help cleaning up?
If so, visit, a coordination website that aims to connect survivors of disasters who need help cleaning up with volunteer groups who can help. Check their website for the current number to call for your area to request assistance or to register to volunteer. Help is not guaranteed.

Join Nextdoor

How to get and give financial assistance using Nextdoor and GoFundMe

Have you been impacted by a disaster? Do you need financial assistance? Do you want to help neighbors in need? If so, Nextdoor has partnered with GoFundMe to help!

If you were impacted and need financial support:

To help neighbors in need:

To help get the word out about GoFundMe fundraisers you see on Nextdoor, click “Share,” then “Repost,” to invite your neighbor to donate.

Protecting the community:

At GoFundMe, being a safe and trusted place to give and receive help is their top priority.

To help keep their platform safe, donations are processed by GoFundMe’s payment partners, held, and then released only to the person named as the recipient of the funds (the beneficiary). Before funds are transferred to the beneficiary, their personal information must be verified. If any questions arise, GoFundMe processors will hold the funds until the recipient is verified.

GoFundMe has a team of experts working around the clock to review fundraisers and prevent misuse. During humanitarian disasters and other crises, GoFundMe’s team proactively monitors and verifies fundraisers so the communities impacted can receive the quick and trusted support they need. For a fundraiser to be considered verified, it must go through an enhanced due diligence review process. This process includes both a robust human review from GoFundMe’s world-class Trust & Safety experts as well as technical tools designed to catch misuse.

GoFundMe also has the first and only donor protection guarantee in the crowdfunding industry. Through the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee, GoFundMe guarantees donors a full refund in the rare case something isn’t right. You can learn more about GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety practices on their safety hub, as well as find tips that can be shared with your audiences.

Additional financial resources

FEMA Individual Assistance Grants: FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial assistance and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. To apply for disaster assistance, visit or call 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET or use the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service, or others, give FEMA the number for that service. 

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans: The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. The SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster. For more information, see

Operation Hope: HOPE Inside Disaster, powered by HOPE Coalition America (HCA), is their Financial Disaster Recovery Program designed to help you get back on your financial footing after your immediate needs for shelter, food, clothing, and medical treatment are addressed. Faced with the financial reality of property damage, job loss, business interruption, credit issues, and debt, disaster survivors can seek the support of HOPE Inside Disaster, powered by HOPE Coalition America, America’s first line of response for financial recovery after a disaster.

More Resources

CrowdSource Rescue: CrowdSource Rescue is a Texas-based disaster response non-profit that has helped rescue over 60,000 people during times of crisis by connecting them to nearby volunteer rescuers. Always call 911 first, if you can’t get through, you can request assistance at

Disaster Distress Helpline: The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 to all residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call or text 1-800-985-5990. For Deaf and Hard of Hearing ASL Callers: To connect directly to an agent in American Sign Language, click the “ASL Now” button below or call 1-800-985-5990 from your videophone. ASL Support is available 24/7. FAQs for ASL NOW users

Insurance Information Institute: The Insurance Information Institute provides objective, fact-based information about insurance, information that is rooted in economic and actuarial soundness for people to make educated decisions, manage risk, and appreciate the essential value of insurance. For more information, see their Homeowners + Renters resources. Disaster + Preparedness resources.

Connect on Nextdoor

Sharing updates and resources with your fellow neighbors is a quick way to give and get help.