Want information? New emergency alerts are coming!

I’m sure many of you have seen this week’s New Yorker article, The Earthquake that Will Devastate Seattle. The vivid scenario described in the article has prompted lots of discussion about what would happen here and potential ways to mitigate the many impacts that a large earthquake would have.

On the heels of this discussion, we received an announcement from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management about the rollout of AlertSeattle, their new emergency alert service. Here is an excerpt:

AlertSeattle is a free service that allows you to sign up online to receive customized alerts by text messages, email, voice message and on social media (Facebook and Twitter)

Emergency alerts are sent when there is a significant risk to life and/or property, at any time of day.

You can find out more at alert.seattle.gov and in this CityStream video.

screenshot of new AlertSeattle site


This will be a welcome addition to existing emergency preparedness resources, which include King County’s RPIN (Regional Public Information Network), a very useful regional alert system.

Screenshot of RPIN website


FYI, the New Yorker article has stirred up discussion on our West Seattle Be Prepared page on Facebook), as well as on other sites. There are some excellent, informative responses to it from local earthquake experts including those at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Their Facebook group (ThePNSN) always has relevant, useful content; the scientists on that forum take the time to answer questions and explain seismic events.

On the subject of emergency alerts, I wanted to mention that the PNSN scientists are developing and testing an actual Earthquake Early Warning System that would detect the earliest shaking and provide some time to react. This would certainly help immensely if we do have a huge earthquake.

I’m heartened to see all of the new tools and apps rolling out, as well as all of the emergency planning work going on. While a significant quake could indeed devastate the Seattle area, taking steps to understand the dangers, gather information, plan and prepare will help us be more resilient.

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Pick up new hub maps next Saturday at Summer Fest!

As promised, we’ve added a few more details to our earlier post about upcoming events! The main one is that we’ll be at Summer Fest on Saturday, July 11th from 2 to 6 PM. Look for us in the Community Tent, right next to the south wall of Easy Street Records (intersection of SW Alaska Street & California Avenue SW).

We will have kid’s items (bags, stickers, coloring books), as well as useful information for grown-ups. Most importantly, we’ll have our new West Seattle Emergency Communication Hub postcard maps (shown below).

Why new maps? We added a new hub  earlier this year, and relocated several of the original hubs recently, hence the updated maps.

updated hub map postcard, front side


updated hub map postcard, back side

Posted in Announcements, Earthquake Preparedness, Events, Outreach events & festivals, West Seattle Be Prepared | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Summer! We’ve updated our event calendar!

Summer activities and outreach events start this weekend! We’ve just added the following to our event calendar, which is linked from the home page on our West Seattle Be Prepared website.

June 20th, Saturday, Morgan Junction Community Festival: We will have an informational booth at this great neighborhood event. Look for us between 10:30 AM and 4 PM. You can pick up free coloring books and other useful materials!


July 10th – 12th (Friday – Sunday): We’ll be at Summer Fest again this year. We will not be there the entire weekend, so will post details about our schedule and location once our plans are finalized. [Update: we’ll be in the Community Tent on Saturday, July 11th, from 2  to 6 PM.]  This is another opportunity to pick up emergency preparedness materials from us, as well as ask questions or just say hi. We’ve ordered a new batch of Hub Postcard Maps that will literally be “hot off the press!”

August 4th, Tuesday, — NIGHT OUT!  Registration is open for Seattle’s 31st annual Night Out Against Crime. Night Out is a wonderful way to connect with your neighbors, who during an emergency may become your first responders.

August 8th, Saturday — Delridge Day & the SW Precinct Picnic: We’ll have an info booth again this year. Stop by between 11 AM and 3 PM! It will be held at the Delridge Community Center.

NOTE: We may continue to update this list – especially to add event flyers and links to additional info as they become available – so check back. If we’ve missed anything, please let us know.

FYI, we checked the Seattle Office of Emergency Management’s calendar of classes, at the moment there is nothing scheduled  in West Seattle. You can find their full schedule of classes here.

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West Seattle has another new hub on the map!

Last fall and winter we mentioned that the agenda for the JuNO (Junction Neighborhood Organization) meeting included discussion about forming another hub in the Junction neighborhood. Fast forward to last month, when volunteers stepped forward from this new hub to participate in the citywide emergency communication drill!

Now that they’ve had some practice, we’ve added them to our map (below)! You’ll find this newest hub, #13, at Hope Lutheran Church (4456 42nd Ave SW, at SW Oregon Street).

West Seattle hubs map

West Seattle emergency communication hubs map (updated, June 2015)

We’re updating our other informational materials, as well! We’ll have printed materials soon, but meanwhile here’s a printable .pdf version of our updated Hubs postcard.

Keep in mind that you can find lots of additional and more detailed information about the emergency communication hubs in the About the Hubs section of our website. Get in touch with our group if you’re interested in establishing a new hub in your neighborhood.


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Wondering where to get CERT training?

certlogoWe recently learned that the City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management has cancelled their CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training classes for 2015. We were quite surprised by this announcement, as their program was relatively new; it launched in the fall of 2011. Several members of our West Seattle Be Prepared group, as well as some of the hub captains from other Seattle neighborhoods, felt lucky to be part of the first “pilot” class of Seattle CERT graduates.

Cancellation of Seattle’s CERT training for 2015 now raises the question about other nearby locations where CERT classes are offered. If you are interested in CERT training, you can find info on the King Country OEM website here. As well, visit the FEMA website, which has additional information about CERT here, including a zipcode-based search.

CERT classes are skills-based; they include hands-on training in Light Search and Rescue, Disaster First Aid, Controlling Utilities, and other information that can help you help others following a major disaster.

We’ll close by noting that the annual CERT Expo is coming up on August 15th at Renton Technical College. This is not the full program of CERT training classes, but rather an opportunity to learn and practice skills and connect with others who are involved in CERT.

Added 6/11/15:  I found this interesting article about CERT training in my newsfeed today. Nice job by a writer in Lake Oswego, Oregon; he provides some useful insights and perspective on this training and raises many relevant questions.

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Want to “BEE” prepared? Find out how next Saturday, May 16th!

Forgive us for the pun…and stop by to see us at the 3rd annual West Seattle Bee Festival at High Point Commons Park (6400 Sylvan Way SW, Seattle, WA 98126). We’ll be among the community groups participating in the Information Fair this coming Saturday, May 16th. The Information Fair runs between 11:30 AM and 2 PM.

The West Seattle Bee Festival starts at 9 AM with the Honey Run, and there are other fun and educational activities — for adults as well as kids — that follow. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the West Seattle Bee Garden. Between noon and 2 PM, they offer free tours of the bee enclosure!

We’ve included the West Seattle Bee Festival informational flyer with additional details below.

3rd Annual Bee Festival flyer

Join us for the 3rd Annual Bee Festival in West Seattle’s High Point neighborhood!

We hope you’ll stop by “make a beeline” to our booth to learn more, pick up informational materials and hub maps, find out how you can get involved, ask questions or just say hi!

FYI, you can also find and like the West Seattle Bee Garden on Facebook.

Added 5/23/15:  Here is some video from King5 TV taken during the Bee Festival this year.

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Takeaways from the citywide emergency communications drill?

Saturday, May 9th, was sunny and warm — truly a gorgeous day here in Seattle. I later heard that the temperature reached 80 degrees. At 5 PM, the Hub/ACS communication field exercise, dubbed Dark and Stormy 2015, got underway. It did get dark, but participants had to try very hard to imagine stormy conditions.

Two West Seattle hub locations, at Ercolini and Hiawatha parks, were activated for this drill, with participants from the other West Seattle hubs. As noted earlier, this was the first drill that has taken place partially after dark. Another big change is that ham radio, rather than GMRS radio, was the primary method used to communicate information  during this drill. Information being sent to/from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was all done via ham. GMRS channel 1 (West Seattle’s frequency) was only used to communicate from hub-to-hub during the drill.

For those of you who participated, or listened in, we want to hear your takeaways! You can find the Twitter stream for the drill at #Darkandstormy2015, and post any comments or photos you may have taken there. Or, send us your thoughts via the contact form on our website.

West Seattle Blog has posted coverage of the drill including photos and video.

Added 6/10/15: Discovered that the Seattle ACS group has posted photos taken during this drill in a photo gallery here. Scroll down a little and you’ll see one of our West Seattle Emergency Communication Hub signs. They have some great shots taken at our hub locations.

Posted in Earthquake Preparedness, Events, Radio Drills & Field Exercises, West Seattle Be Prepared | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment