West Seattle, Washington
Even if you didn’t feel it, the Vancouver Island earthquake late last night is another wakeup call reiterating the message that we all need to be ready, because someday we’re going to shake in a big way. So here are two maps you need to see. First, from West Seattle Be Prepared:
KNOW YOUR NEAREST WEST SEATTLE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION HUB: Especially if you’re new to WS, this might be news to you. Preparedness volunteers in our area have been regional leaders in this unique aspect of preparedness – organizing “hubs” where you can go in case of catastrophe, to get information and seek help if the regular communication channels are down/damaged/unreliable. Click a spot on the map to get information on the location where volunteers plan to set up a hub if and when disaster strikes. If you don’t see one relatively close to you, that’s only because no one has come forward to lead the way in your area – here’s how you can help! And take some time to browse the WSBP website, which is an excellent resource packed with a variety of preparedness-related info.
Now, the second map you should see. You might have already taken a look, as this new city map was circulating in the days just BEFORE the quake:
SEATTLE NATURAL HAZARD EXPLORER: The city-produced map takes you through a variety of types of “natural hazards,” including earthquake risk, as explained in Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton‘s story earlier this week. You can see the map (really, it’s more than a map) fullscreen by going here; in the condensed version above, you can use the arrows at the bottom to scroll through types of hazards. In each category, click the “i” at top right to open up a text box with information at the bottom of the map, including a tab that explains the map’s legend for that section. Among other things, the earthquake-risk view shows where the Seattle Fault travels through our peninsula.
Rare chance to tell you way in advance when and why helicopters are expected in the area. The Port of Seattle just announced that multiple agencies also including Seattle Fire, King County, and Snohomish County “will be conducting a joint exercise involving multiple helicopters for emergency preparedness training” on Monday at Terminal 5. This exercise, the announcement says, “will give the participants better training for rescue situations such as those that took place after the Oso mudslide in 2014.” The helicopter activity, “moving heavy loads of equipment and personnel,” is expected to last from 11 am to noon on Monday (November 16th).
Even if you weren’t part of Thursday’s statewide earthquake drill – you can get your preparedness going ANY TIME. Here’s some inspiration – at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor), the drill went far beyond the actual “imagine there’s a quake” moment. Out on the field, they set up a makeshift hospital. And some students portrayed people in major need of treatment.
This was all organized by teacher Timothy Owens, who explained it to us on camera:
(The call Owens took at the end of our chat, by the way, was from the school’s brand-new phone-alert system, which gets messages to families in case of emergency.) The drill was based on a long-lasting quake. Students took cover under their desks, then went out on the field, for a drill running about 45 minutes, followed by a debriefing; regular classes resumed after lunch.
P.S. If your earthquake/disaster preparedness is lagging – don’t feel guilty, you’re not alone! – a great place to get started, with local info, is West Seattle Be Prepared – be sure to find your nearest emergency communication “hub”!
Though November might seem far away, the city’s earthquake-preparedness presentations tend to fill up fast, so we’re sharing word of this one in case you want to sign up:
Are you prepared for the next big earthquake and other disasters Seattle could face? Attend a presentation at one of the below library branches to hear from local emergency management experts about what you can do to get prepared. Learn about the City’s new emergency alert and notification system – AlertSeattle – and bring questions to ask the City’s hazard specialist during an open Q&A session.
Wed. November 4, 2015
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Southwest Library Branch
Register for a class by emailing your name and the presentation you plan to attend to email@example.com
Did you feel it? We heard from one person south of Alki Point who said they did – a 4.0-magnitude earthquake at 3:22 this afternoon, epicenter east of North Bend. Lots of info here – and if you DID feel it, tell the scientists by filling out this form. The quake gives us a reason to remind you that September is Preparedness Month – and at the very least, you need to know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is.
Know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is? Know WHAT your Emergency Communication Hub is? West Seattle has long been a citywide leader in this aspect of preparedness, via West Seattle Be Prepared. And they’re sharing news of a presentation downtown tonight that might interest you. Usually we can only promote on-peninsula events, but preparedness has been a signature issue for us for a long time, and at the heart of this presentation is the reminder that community can be key in case of catastrophe:
Join the Seattle Emergency Communications Hubs and Seattle Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Tom Richardson, one of the Urban Search and Rescue Team Leaders (USAR) at the SR 530 slide, who will share his experience during the response and recovery stages and his thoughts on how communities are key in disasters.
6:30 pm – (Optional) Overview of the Seattle Emergency Hubs
7:00 pm – Program start
8:00 pm – Q & A and discussion
Location: City of Seattle Emergency Operations Center, 105 5th Ave S. (Corner of 5th Ave S and S Washington St)
Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 206-233-5076
The city has opened signups for AlertSeattle, which its announcement describes as “a new, real-time emergency alert and notification system … a way to send out messages to the public with information on what to do when emergencies like earthquakes, explosions, flooding, or other disasters happen,” as well as “community notifications about severe weather, safety, health, utility-service disruptions, major traffic incidents, preparedness events and more.” You can register by going to alert.seattle.gov and creating a profile. Set aside a few minutes before you start – it’s a bit complicated, with numerous optional fields you can (but don’t have to) fill out beyond the basic notification information; it’s linked to Smart911, so you’ll also be asked, for example, if you want to provide information about your household that could be displayed to emergency providers if you call 911 from the phone number you register.
They’re not quite burning the midnight oil, but close. Local emergency-preparedness volunteers will be in view at Ercolini Park west of The Junction and Hiawatha Playfield (above) in Admiral until about 10 pm tonight as part of a citywide drill. We stopped at both before sunset. The drill scenario: A BIG quake, with the Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hubs on Day 3, working to communicate information and procure help. Listen in to a snippet from Hiawatha:
We listened in for a bit at Ercolini too:
Ham-radio operators are on site at each participating hub this time for the first time, according to West Seattle Be Prepared.
Volunteers of all ages were welcome, and were assigned roles including “greeter” and “message taker” all to be ready just in case the unthinkable happens and the hubs have to be set up because other ways of communication aren’t working:
That was the whiteboard at Hiawatha, which we visited a while after our stop at Ercolini:
While these were the only two hubs “activated” for tonight’s drill, West Seattle has ten others – check this map to find the one closest to you:
And learn more about the hubs at westseattlebeprepared.org.
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake in Nepal is now reported to have killed almost 2,000 people. And a difficult, dangerous time is ahead for the survivors who now must figure out how to get through its aftermath and aftershocks. So tonight, a reminder about local preparedness:
You need to know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is – and that map will help. West Seattle volunteers have led the way in organizing hubs around the peninsula. The hubs are places you can go in the aftermath of a disaster that shuts down usual communications, places to find information and help, as explained on this page of westseattlebeprepared.org – and on a citywide level, they’re explained in this video:
The video mentions the drills that hub volunteers stage every so often to make sure plans and procedures will be fresh if and when disaster strikes. Just so happens that the next drill is two weeks from today, Saturday, May 9th – an evening drill this time, 5-10 pm around the city. The drill scenario will be “a major earthquake followed by aftershocks and worsening weather conditions. The exercise will test operations, procedures and equipment, offer opportunities to learn and to get to know fellow volunteers.” West Seattle Be Prepared‘s Cindi Barker shares this flyer showing that two WS hubs are participating, Ercolini and Hiawatha, and explaining how you can help, even if you haven’t been involved with a hub before:
Hub volunteers and radio operators with the Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service will be among those participating.
In the meantime, here’s one more *very important* thing you can do even if you are not involved with a hub: A new website has launched in an attempt to get various community safety and preparedness-related groups communicating and coordinating – Hubs plus SNAP, CERT, and Block Watch groups. If you’re involved with any of the above, go to seattleemergencyhubs.org, find the Emergency NeighborLink Map on the home page, and get signed up so your group will show up.
P.S. If you haven’t even taken the basic preparedness steps – emergency food/water supplies – don’t feel overwhelmed. The Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) website has some advice – see this page.
Want to make your house more earthquake-resistant? Two chances to learn about retrofitting are coming up in West Seattle as part of the Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) program. They’re free, but you do have to register. First one is next Sunday (April 19th), 2-4 pm, at the West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library – full details here; e-mail email@example.com if you’re interested. After that, another one is set up for 2-4 pm May 2nd at the High Point Branch Library; same registration address.
Tuesday night, the Junction Neighborhood Organization meets – and it’s not just a chance to hear and talk about projects and issues in the area, it’s also a chance to help your neighborhood be prepared! From Ellen West:
Earlier this year, JUNO committed to joining with West Seattle Be Prepared and to create a Emergency Communication Hub in the Alaska Junction area. We’ve approached Hope Lutheran, who will partner with us on hosting the Hub location. So now we’re ready to form the Hub team and start training with the other West Seattle Hubs. Please come to the next JUNO meeting on Tuesday, October 21st, 6:30 at the West Seattle Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon, to become a volunteer for this important work! For more information, please e-mail Ellen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Because of its pioneering Emergency Communication Hubs, West Seattle is a regional leader in neighborhood-based emergency preparedness – and that was affirmed by an award presentation this afternoon at Fauntleroy Church. On behalf of the Community Hubs citywide, Cindi Barker from West Seattle Be Prepared accepted the King County Executive’s Award for Community Preparedness, presented by KCE Dow Constantine. Those on hand got a demonstration of scenarios that the all-volunteer Hubs are meant to handle, and the kinds of information and resources they would coordinate:
The award honors the Hubs for “going beyond the basics, to promote disaster survivability and build community resiliency.” Also there, a city rep with whom they have worked closely, Debbie Goetz:
And we can’t talk about the hubs without again showing you the map of where West Seattle has them:
They’re explained here – locations chosen by neighborhood groups, designed to be set up in case of catastrophe that interrupts regular ways to communicate. You need to know the closest one to your neighborhood, so that you know where to go for information and help in case of disaster. If there’s not one anywhere near you – that’s because no one has stepped up to get it organized – contact WSBP if you’re interested in making one happen!
P.S. We’ll add video of today’s award presentation once it’s uploaded back at HQ. (Added – here it is:)
October is Disaster Preparedness Month in our state, and how timely; regional water woes – this morning’s Delridge pipe break, and the recent Mercer Island scare – are a reminder that you need to have an emergency supply of water on hand. From West Seattle Be Prepared:
The recent challenges to our normal water supply reflect the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Sometimes an emergency can be small, like a day where the water is shut off, or bigger in scale, with complete disruption or like the recent “boil water” notice on Mercer Island. Stores in Mercer Island quickly sold out of bottled water and residents were dragging out pots to boil water. This would have been a perfect time for those residents to dig into their 3-day (or more) stash of water set aside for emergencies, as part of their emergency preparedness kit. Using that water, while waiting for normal service to return, would have prevented panicked searches for bottled water supplies at the stores or the inconvenience of boiling water for multiple days. The additional benefit is that once you used your supply up, in the Mercer Island case, the stores would have received new shipments AND you can replace your stored water with a fresh supply, and your emergency-kit water is now good to go for another 6 months before normal cycling.
So what should you do to secure that water stash? We covered that during our special preparedness reports last year – check it out here.
In light of today’s Northern California earthquake – we have two preparedness reminders. First, do you know where your Emergency Communication Hub is? The map above is courtesy of West Seattle Be Prepared, local volunteers who have worked for years on helping facilitate local neighborhood preparedness. The hubs are explained here – in short, the place you would go if regular communication channels/methods weren’t working in the aftermath of a disaster (big quake, storm, etc.). If there’s no hub near you, it’s because no one has stepped forward to set one up – this is an all-volunteer effort; here’s how to get one going.
Second, the city offers classes to help you retrofit your residence to make it more capable of withstanding a quake, and as mentioned on WSB recently, registration is open for one coming up this fall – info is here.
These sessions are usually really popular, and advance registration is required, so here’s an early heads-up: The city Office of Emergency Management is offering a free earthquake-retrofit workshop at West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library on October 4th, 11 am-1 pm. More info here, including the note that you have to sign up, so if you’re interested, do that ASAP – e-mail email@example.com.
FIRST REPORT, 6:03 PM: Night Out is on! We’re visiting block parties around West Seattle again this year and will add updates here. Since we can’t get to them all, we’d love one from yours if you care to share – firstname.lastname@example.org (or Twitter/Instagram, where the hashtag is #SeattleNightOut and we are at @westseattleblog) – thanks; updates ahead!
FIRST STOP, ARBOR HEIGHTS – in the block where we attended a Seattle Police Living-Room Conversation at Block Watch Captain JoDean Edelheit‘s home two years ago. (That’s JoDean in the back row, third from right.) This block is getting busier, as it’s near the undergoing-renovations future home of Westside School (WSB sponsor) at 34th/104th.
SECOND STOP, SUNRISE HEIGHTS: Carole invited us to stop by; her husband Michael is Block Watch Captain and has also recently gone through a round of preparedness training, so he’s leading the neighborhood in getting everybody organized to start working on a neighborhood plan. That’s why there’s preparedness info at their party:
They’re hoping not only to be, well, more prepared as a result, but also to inspire other neighborhoods. (Have we mentioned lately – lots of preparedness info at westseattlebeprepared.org, including the location of your nearest Emergency Communication Hub.)
7:20 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Marcia for tweeting this photo from her neighborhood’s party:
— Marcia Ventura (@marciaventura) August 6, 2014
Via text, more preparedness, at 23rd and Cambridge, including this photo:
The texter (206-293-6302 any time!) says neighbor Patty Doty got a grant to “put together emergency kits to distribute tonight to our neighbors!” Meantime, back onto our travels:
OUR THIRD STOP, GATEWOOD: Sue‘s neighborhood has an annual “flags of all nations” display:
The biggest flag there in the middle synergizes with the sign – the flag is for Hawaii, the sign says No Ka Oi (Hawaiian for “is the best”) Party. We also discovered while visiting that Jeff is an award-winning amateur winemaker:
As we continue our travels, we’re noting MANY side streets closed off for block parties – way to go! And closing streets takes some logistics – and signage:
OUR FOURTH STOP, HANSEN VIEW: The sign above is from Hansen View just south of The Mount, where Night Out always means a big party. Including bluegrass band The Mighty Fallen.
We just missed visiting firefighters. Lots of neighbors having a great time!
Hansen View is home neighborhood to West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network leaders Deb Greer and Karen Berge, who we’ll see again – and you should come too! – at Delridge Day this Saturday. Meantime, a photo texted from Gatewood:
The band is Woodland, playing near 35th and Rose – thanks for the photo!
OUR FIFTH STOP, FAIRMOUNT: We were leaving Hansen View, headed to Junction Plaza Park (stop #6), when we noticed two Seattle Fire vehicles at a block party, so we pulled over, and got a group shot including the visiting firefighters:
This is Fairmount, south of The Triangle, not to be confused with Fairmount Park or Fairmount Springs. Then it was north to …
OUR SIXTH STOP, JUNCTION PLAZA PARK: The re-activated Junction Neighborhood Organization threw a party in the park … we didn’t arrive until it was almost over, but caught the small spirited group that remained:
West Seattle Bike Connections joined JuNO for the party. Police and fire had visited earlier too, as had City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who was making West Seattle rounds. JuNO had water balloons, too … now THAT is a party. JuNO’s director René Commons says they hope next Night Out will bring their SECOND annual party in the park.
ADDED 9:23 PM – OUR SEVENTH AND FINAL STOP, SEAVIEW: 5900 block of 44th and vicinity – thanks to Kelli for inviting us. A 1970 El Camino was a canvas for chalk art:
Heather from Sparklez Face and Body Art was creating art too:
And the group:
(added) WE STOPPED HERE TOO: Thanks to Sarah for kindly pointing out in comments that we had neglected to publish anything from one of our stops, 6000 block of 37th – and this was actually the first invite we’ve received, from Aaron. Found the pic!
(back to Tuesday night in-progress report) Next: Photos from the inbox – thanks for sharing! First:
That’s from Steve at 16th and Trenton. One block over, at 15th and Trenton, a party photo from Chris:
Next, from Leslie on Canada Drive SW:
Tweeted by Jason in Admiral:
— Jason G (@jgrotel) August 6, 2014
Lots of kid activities at tonight’s parties. Even a bouncy house in Belvidere, on 36th SW – thanks for this e-mailed photo:
Further south on 36th SW, here’s the group photo from Jenny‘s neighborhood (“between Findlay and Brandon, best block EVER!” she declared):
Also very proud of their block:
We love our neighborhood and thought you might like a glimpse of our amazing gathering. 61st Ave SW – between Hinds and Spokane St.
Mary Pyper and Janinne Brunyee, Block Watch Co-Captains
Pigeon Point always has a big bash, and Pete Spalding shared photos – here he is with Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske:
Deputy Chief Mike Washburn also stopped by, as did a Seattle Fire engine:
But neighborhood mingling remained the big draw, as it was with parties from north to south, east to west:
A first-time event in North Shorewood on 102nd SW. The west end of the block is the City of Seattle. The east end of the block, unincorporated King County. From 28th SW to 30th SW. We are also participating in an informal radio net with the West Seattle Radio Club.
Next year … maybe a band appearance? If you live out that way, keep watch for flyers next summer! Heading back north, to Gatewood again, Long B. Nguyen photographed his SW Portland neighbors:
From the 6300 block of 41st SW, Fairmount Springs vicinity, Jenny explains the next photo as “not everyone at our block party, but still a picture of neighbors enjoying each other.”
From the 3400 block of Belvidere Avenue, Erika shares a photo of the youngest neighbors, noting, “We had another fantastic night of community gathering with our neighbors and the gang of kiddos had so much fun riding bikes and scooters, as well as jumping in a bouncy house! We love National Night Out and look forward to it all year!”
From 46th SW between Walker and Hill in North Admiral, a photo texted earlier in the night:
And from Rutan Place SW, John shares a photo of his well-attended block party:
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: Two more – first, from Diane, the late crowd on 45th SW between Alaska and Edmunds:
The block party had double this amount in attendance earlier, with games, bubbles, a balloon artist, & sidewalk chalk for the kids. Most had headed home by this late hour to get little ones to bed and missed the photo. The block party also had 2 musicians who sang for them through the evening, accompanied with a guitar and double bass cello. A great block party for 45th Street!
And Don‘s neighborhood in Fairmount Springs had visitors who brought goodies – the Ben & Jerry‘s truck that’s making Seattle rounds this month:
Thanks again for sharing glimpses of awesome West Seattle neighborhoods.
In case of catastrophe – there’s likely a Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hub near you, a place where you can go to get and share information about what’s happening and how to get help. Pigeon Point has a new hub location – 20th/Genesee – on the West Seattle Be Prepared Emergency Communication Hubs roster, and Jim Sander has created signs to help get the word out:
Thanks to Pete Spalding for sharing the photos. P.S. So where’s YOUR nearest hub, you ask? Check this map from westseattlebeprepared.org:
Don’t see one near you? Here’s how to change that.
Kitchen fires are the most common kind of fire in the U.S. – so do you know what to do in case of a fire in your kitchen? Take a few minutes and watch the demonstration we covered this morning at the Joint Training Facility on the southeast edge of West Seattle. That’s Seattle Fire Department Captain C.M. Yob. (For the abbreviated version, move the cursor ahead to 2 minutes in, when the flames appear.) Also on hand, Puget Sound Energy‘s Andy Wappler:
We photographed him showing off the elements of a disaster-preparedness starter kit that will be given away at Fred Meyer in Redondo (25250 Pacific Hwy S.) during an event on June 14th that’s part of the Safe in the Sound campaign involving PSE and the Red Cross, among others.
The volunteers of West Seattle Be Prepared are more prepared than ever after today’s emergency-communications drill at Ercolini Park west of The Junction. WSBP’s Karen Berge shared these photos, and reports, “Fortunately, the weather was nice and we had a great turnout of volunteers and people who stopped by to ask about what we were doing!” In case you missed the preview, they were acting out what might happen in the event of a major Mount Rainier ash/mudflow, and how the neighborhood “hubs” (explained here) would communicate and cooperate. Ercolini and North Delridge hubs “activated” at the park for the drill, but volunteers from elsewhere helped, including Gordon Wiehler, Fauntleroy hub captain, who served as a radio operator at Ercolini
Alki hub captain Tony Fragada also served as a radio operator. At left in the next photo, debriefing post-drill, is Ercolini hub captain Kris Buitrago ):
The hubs are set to activate in case of catastrophe – and you’ll want to know where the nearest hub is, since it’ll be a place to go to find information and seek help. Here’s the current West Seattle hub map:
Along with Karen, fellow WSBP leaders Deb Greer and Cindi Barker were there, along with North Delridge hub captain Jay McNally; the EC Hughes hub’s acting captain Shane Marr was “offsite in the role of Net Control,” Karen mentions. You can find out more about WSBP at tomorrow’s Seattle Summer Streets event on Alki, 11 am-5 pm – look for them toward the west side of the street-fest zone, between 61st and 63rd.
The p-word – preparedness – is big around here. We know it’s tough to take time to plan or learn something you hope to never have to use – but this Sunday, if you can spare *half an hour*, it’ll be well worth it. A free city-presented mini-workshop at Southwest Branch Library will teach you what you need to know about handling household utilities in case of disaster, 1:40-2 pm:
In just 30 minutes, find out how to safely power down your household electric panel and how and when to turn off your natural gas at the meter. Join us for hands-on practice using real equipment and pick up other tips on how to secure your household water supply. Class is free, no RSVP. Come one and all.
The SW Library is at 35th/Henderson.
P.S. Also in the preparedness vein – remember that local volunteers are having a drill at Ercolini Park tomorrow morning (9-noon), so don’t be startled if you happen onto it!
Seen hazily in the distance from a ferry this morning, Mount Rainier was beautiful … yet always, also, vaguely ominous. It’s a volcano. And it’s NOT extinct. So … what if? That’s the scenario for a disaster drill coming up this Saturday morning (May 17th, 9 am-noon), involving West Seattle preparedness volunteers and others around the area. Local activity will be focused at Ercolini Park west of The Junction and at American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle. As officially announced:
Neighborhood emergency preparedness groups across Seattle assisted by amateur radio emergency communicators will test skills Saturday in an exercise based on a simulated major mudflow and ash release from Mt. Rainier. This exercise titled “Mud and Ash Everywhere” is the spring version of this semiannual event. The goal of this exercise is to practice preparedness and response actions that will contribute to community resiliency in surviving a significant disaster.
As the Snohomish County slide disaster reminds us, lives can be changed or ended in an instant, without warning. In some cases, preparedness wouldn’t have made a difference. But in many, it can. If you can spare five minutes right now, for starters, you can make a difference – West Seattle community advocate Mat McBride, who also happens to be a private-sector preparedness professional, explains:
While Oso has our collective attention, there’s a local preparedness initiative happening. I’m part of the team updating Seattle’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, and the public feedback portion is underway. This is an important process, as it helps the Office of Emergency Management identify the priorities from its key stakeholders – us. There are two opportunities at present:
* Take the online survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SeaHazMitSurvey. It takes all of 5 minutes to lock in West Seattle concerns and priorities.
* Attend the public meeting: April 8 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. South Seattle
Interpretation and accommodations are available upon advance request to Donna Voss, Project Manager, at (206) 233-5089 or by email at:
The survey took us just four minutes – its centerpiece is a list in which you can rate your level of concern about types of disaster both natural and man-made.