Spring preparedness update

Since my last post on the anniversary of the Nisqually quake, we also passed the 5th anniversary of the Tohoku quake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11,  2011.

Preparedness-related highlights this past month included several very good articles from KUOW radio. The first focuses on the preparedness level of daycare centers for children in our area. Another focuses on Hollow Columns that hold up bridges on I-5 and I-405. Another is about whether  California takes earthquakes more seriously than we do. All are quite thought-provoking.

On a different note, spring (and fall) are typically when emergency preparedness classes are offered. I don’t see any sessions offered in West Seattle on the City’s Event Calendar at the moment, but you might keep an eye on it in the next few weeks.

Since the Seattle Office of Emergency Management no longer offers CERT training, you may want to look elsewhere for that. We recently received an invitation to participate as volunteers for the CERT training program in Kirkland; here’s more information for those who are interested.

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On this 15th anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake…

A friend reminded me last night that today marks 15 years since the Nisqually earthquake rocked Seattle. I spent those scary moments under my desk at work, having remembered to drop, cover, and hold. I was the only one that did so, as a frantic colleague with a loud booming voice announced that everyone better get outs because, “we’re all going to die in here.”

We worked on the top floor of a 6-story brick building; it certainly made lots of creaking, groaning sounds. I still recall the vivid sounds of computers and other office equipment  falling to the floor, and the window blinds intensely slapping the windows.

After the shaking stopped, I made my way out of my office and found that everyone had indeed fled the building during the quake. I realized then how important it is to learn about emergency preparedness ahead of time. I had experienced my first earthquake as a child; so I have since wanted to learn more about what to do.

This 15th anniversary of the Seattle Nisqually Earthquake can become a “teachable moment” for all of us. Please take a moment to share resources and information with your families, friends, colleagues, neighbors and others that you spend time with who may not be aware of what to do.

Let them know about the West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs. We now have a 13 hubs here in West Seattle, and over 50 throughout the city. Our main website, West Seattle Be Prepared, has a huge section of other Resources as well as detailed info about the hubs. We also have a West Seattle Be Prepared group on Facebook of over 1200 members that you can join!

West Seattle hubs map

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

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Earthquakes in the news this week, as 2015 wraps up!

Coincidentally, earthquake-related topics and a real earthquake were in the local news this week. Thought we would call them to your attention, so they don’t get overlooked in the holiday hoopla!

Cindi KOMO TV screenshot

First, the City of Seattle released a new natural hazards mapping tool that shows areas that are expected to be the most vulnerable to earthquakes. Much of the data was already available if you searched for it, but this new tool brings it together and presents it in a more cohesive, visual way. We’ve included some screenshots below. The Seattle Times featured  it in an article last Sunday, December 27th.

Mid-week, we awoke to news of two West Coast earthquakes,  a Magnitude 4.8 quake off Vancouver Island in British Columbia and a 4.4 in Southern California, northeast of Los Angeles, on Tuesday evening/night, December 29th. Fortunately, there were not reports of extensive damage.

The launch of the new Seattle hazard mapping tool, and the pair of earthquakes, prompted online discussion about local community preparedness — and hopefully caused many others to think about individual and household earthquake preparedness.

Highlights of the media coverage this week included more about our local earthquake preparedness efforts from the West Seattle Blog, including some useful resources in the comments on their story. KOMO TV had a short interview with Cindi Barker, (founder of our West Seattle hubs, and now Hub Coordinator citywide); they also interviewed Bill Steele and John Vidale from the PNSN (Pacific Northwest Seismic Network – a tremendous information resource for our area). KUOW radio also had a short segment with the PNSN seismologists.

We’ll sign off for the year (slightly short of midnight this New Year’s Eve) and wish you all a fabulous New Year!

Below are screenshots of the new Seattle-area natural hazards map. Click the images to take it for a test drive!

Screenshots of new Seattle Natural Hazard Explorer mapping tool

New Seattle Natural Hazard Explorer mapping tool


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Watch or join the citywide Tabletop Exercise on November 14th!

As you may have noted on our West Seattle Be Prepared calendar, there will be another citywide exercise on November 14th!

This will be an indoor Tabletop Exercise focused on hub volunteers. It runs from 9 AM until NOON at the Verity Credit Union in north Seattle.

You are invited to watch or participate in various ways. See our full calendar listing here or view the attached flyer, Tabletop for Volunteer mgmt Nov 14 2015 (.pdf format), for more details.

This will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about how emergency communication hubs will function during an emergency. FYI, prior to the tabletop exercise, you can learn more about hub operations and roles in the About the Hubs section of our website.

Tabletop exercise informational flyer

Participate in a Citywide Tabletop Exercise on November 14th!


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Procrastinators: listen up! Preparedness classes fill up fast!

Just a reminder that I’ve seen several “Session Full” notations for some of the upcoming emergency preparedness classes, including the free Earthquake Retrofit class scheduled here for November 4th, and some of the sessions at the free UW lecture series,  Surviving Disaster: Natural Hazards & Resilient Communities

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The Great Washington ShakeOut is tomorrow, October 15th!

Take a few minutes tomorrow morning at 10:15 to participate in the Shakeout Washington earthquake safety drill!  Over a million Washingtonians have already registered to participate.

Why ShakeOut? Practicing your response skills it a good way to ensure that you can react more quickly during an actual emergency. As well, it can be helpful to evaluate the locations where you typically spend your time to make sure that you can take safe action if an earthquake occurs while you are there. It provides an opportunity to discuss earthquake preparedness with those around you!

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Fall preparedness events for your calendar!

Fall isn’t quite here yet, but we can feel it approaching!

To help you prepare, we’ve just added a few fall preparedness events to our event calendar, (which you can find on the home page of our West Seattle Be Prepared website). Highlights include:

Fauntleroy Fall FestivalOctober 11th, Sunday, 2 – 5 PM: We will have an informational booth at this great neighborhood event. Pick up our new Hub Postcard Maps and other useful materials!

West Seattle Be Prepared graphic with URL

Surviving Disaster: Natural Hazards & Resilient Communities (UW lecture series): This free series will run on five consecutive Tuesday evenings starting October 13th. See our earlier post for details.

Preparing for the Big One, new class offering from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management, November 4th, 5:30 – 7 PM, at SW Branch Library. They also have listed a free Earthquake Home Retrofit class on October 11th, but it’s currently showing as full. FYI, their classes are free, but most require pre-registration. You can find more details and the Seattle OEM’s full schedule of classes here.

NOTE: If we’ve missed any West Seattle preparedness events, please let us know so we can add them to our West Seattle Be Prepared event calendar! Although September is National Preparedness Month, we didn’t find any local events to note here.

We did notice the joint Oregon Emergency Management Association (OEMA) and Washington Emergency Management Association (WSEMA) conference starts on September 21st in Vancouver, WA.  Looks like an interesting agenda.

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