Nextdoor.com announced the launch of “Nextdoor for Public Agencies” today (which is by no coincidence the National PrepareAthon! Day of Action).
The average Joe uses the Nextdoor social network to connect with their neighbors about local issues. It is a closed network only open to the people who live in each neighborhood. But with today’s announcement, public agencies across the United States will be able to tap in to the platform to connect with citizens and address hyperlocal issues and concerns. The application to police and public safety communications alone could make Nextdoor a game-changer.
Why is Nextdoor different?
Members of Nextdoor are verified residents of the neighborhoods and communities in which they reside, unlike the users on most other social media platforms. “Nextdoor was originally focused on helping neighbors connect and communicate about local issues,” explains Sarah Leary, Co-Founder of Nextdoor, in a press release.
Neighbors create private neighborhood websites for their community or subdivision on Nextdoor.com and use the platform to exchange advice, ask questions about the area, and simply get to know each other and keep in touch. Upcoming local events, community concerns, garage sale and lost pet announcements, and even virtual neighborhood watch programs are just a few of the many other things members use Nextdoor to plan and discuss.
However, the platform’s creators began to notice that neighbors also wanted to use the network to share crime and safety concerns. After a lengthy pilot program, “Nextdoor for Public Agencies” was born.
Police, Fire Departments can now use Nextdoor
Police departments, sheriff’s offices, fire departments/EMS and departments of emergency management can now utilize Nextdoor for Public Agencies to reach specific neighborhoods, groups of neighborhoods, or even entire cities.
Nextdoor for Public Agencies, which is free for the agencies as well as residents, allows the agencies to share safety alerts, disaster preparedness tips, and immediate warnings for natural disasters such as floods and storms with residents.
The platform can be accessed from the Internet and on most smartphones and mobile devices. Nextdoor advises that the information from residents on their private websites cannot be accessed by their agencies.
Citizens encouraged to be prepared
It is not accidental that Nextdoor for Public Agencies is being launched on the National PrepareAthon! Day of Action. “Disasters can strike at anytime and anywhere,” said Rafael Lemaitre, Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in the press release. “Prepared neighborhoods are resilient communities, and today serves as a reminder for individuals, families, and neighborhoods to come together and have a plan of action before a disaster strikes.”
Police departments, fire departments, and other public agencies that are interested in joining Nextdoor for Public Agencies are encouraged to visit https://nextdoor.com/agency to get started. Residents that are interested in using Nextdoor in their community should visit https://nextdoor.com for more information.