VIDEO: Two West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs part of tonight’s citywide quake-scenario drillMay 9, 2015 at 9:31 pm | In Preparedness, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
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.
Deadly Nepal quake brings preparedness reminder, two weeks before already-scheduled Emergency Communications Hubs drillApril 25, 2015 at 10:23 pm | In Preparedness, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
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.
Make your home more earthquake-resistant: register now for 2 free workshops coming up in West SeattleApril 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm | In Preparedness, Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off
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.
Help your neighborhood be prepared! Come to Tuesday’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting to help ‘hub’ get goingOctober 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm | In How to help, Preparedness, West Seattle news | Comments Off
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
Congratulations! Emergency Communication Hubs honored with King County Executive’s Community Preparedness AwardOctober 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm | In Preparedness, West Seattle news | 4 Comments
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:
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
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.
West Seattle earthquake (etc.) preparedness: Do you know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is?August 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm | In Preparedness, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
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:
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
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:
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger 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!
What if? West Seattle preparedness, communications volunteers to join in citywide Mt. Rainier-scenario disaster drill this SaturdayMay 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm | In Preparedness, West Seattle news | Comments Off
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.
Big event under way all weekend at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) – the annual Communications Academy for volunteer emergency communicators, though, as evidenced by what we spotted outside, you’ll find lots of professionals there too. They include today’s keynoter Bill Schrier, the West Seattleite who is the former Seattle city IT boss and now works in the state’s CIO office – he tweeted from the event:
— Bill Schrier (@billschrier) March 22, 2014
You might have heard by now about the 6.9-magnitude earthquake off the far-northern California coast a little more than an hour ago. It could be seen on at least two official seismographs in West Seattle that are part of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network – above, the online display from the detector at the Alki stormwater-treatment plant; below, the one at Holy Rosary (which is a bit busier):
So far, no word of notable damage from the 10:18 pm quake 50 miles west of Eureka, California, according to former WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams, who lives and works there now. For us, yet another wakeup call – do you have your go bag? Know where your communication hub is? Browse westseattlebeprepared.org next time you can spare a few minutes.
P.S. Thanks to Skies Over West Seattle correspondent Alice Enevoldsen for the tip about the local seismographs,
Are you ready? Get involved with your Emergency Communication Hub – and get ready for a citywide drillFebruary 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm | In Preparedness, Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
Know your nearest Emergency Communication Hub! That map shows the 11 community-volunteer-powered spots in West Seattle that would be activated in case of major disaster – someplace you could go to find out what’s going on when other communication channels are down. And this week, anniversaries remind us that the most likely disaster around here – earthquake – can hit at any time; three years ago today, the Christchurch quake in New Zealand killed almost 200 people; next Friday (February 28th) will be the 13th anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake here in Western Washington, which left hundreds hurt. So while quakes are top of mind again, it’s a great time to get involved with the Hubs – which have now gone citywide – and to get ready for a big citywide drill that’s about three months away.
On May 17, between 9:00 am and noon, community groups and emergency volunteers from throughout Seattle will be participating in a disaster drill to test neighborhood emergency preparedness.
The groups, known as the Seattle Emergency Communications Hubs, will join the City’s Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) ham volunteers to simulate a volcanic explosion and it’s impact on Seattle, especially if the wind blows ash towards Seattle and resulting lahars (mud flows) impact infrastructure. “It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors” said Carl Leon, one of the drill organizers. “We set up neighborhood hubs where people can come to get information and share resources or skills to help those who have been affected.”
The ACS volunteers will practice sending situation reports of conditions in each neighborhood from the Hubs into the City’s Emergency Operations Center. In a real event, that information could be used by City response planners to assess conditions throughout the city and develop response plans.
Participating Hub locations in addition to West Seattle include Broadview, Capitol Hill, Kirke Park, Lake City, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Maple Leaf, Queen Anne, Rainier Beach, Shilshole. All Hub locations will welcome visitors and people who would like to learn and participate in the Hubs.
For more information about becoming a Hub volunteer, contact Cindi Barker, email@example.com, 206-933-6968.
For information about becoming a Ham radio operator or member of ACS, contact Carl Leon at
And in the meantime, browse westseattlebeprepared.org for information that could someday save your life.
November is here and Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month is over. Thanks to West Seattle Be Prepared for a month of instructions on how to put together THE “Go Bag“/kit that can be a literal life-saver for you and your family if disaster strikes. Over the weekend, we’re going to put together one big recap with all the advice and links, but for now, from WSBP’s Cindi Barker:
You get a treat today! Whatever you gave away for Halloween, you probably have leftovers, so dump some of that Halloween candy into your bag. The calories have been removed; you’re welcome. I have been reading the comments as the month has progressed, and thank everyone for their additional ideas and suggestions. I am very interested in how many of you built or are well on your way to completing an emergency bag, so please give a comment on how you did.
And if you’re still getting around to getting started – hey, just get a bag, and pick a random place to start! Everything’s archived, newest to oldest, here.
Spread your bag out, take a look at what you’ve got. This is your chance to decide if there’s something special and unique to you or your family that we’ve not covered. Or maybe the food just doesn’t seem like it will be enough (but don’t forget, you have to lift the bag). You can also take this time to repackage or regroup things in plastic bags or containers to make things fit more compactly; using ziplock bags or small containers can help make things fit more compactly.
This is the time to also decide if you might need a larger bag. Earlier in the month Margaret in Vashon decided she was going to use a suitcase with wheels, so she could move it without having to carry the whole time, so that’s one good idea. Maybe the water could fit into another tub or bag. There have been comments during the month about how bulky the water supply is. Remember, if you’ve stored all the water suggested, you will have enough for 2 weeks. The pre-made emergency backpacks sold by companies like the Red Cross do not have anywhere near that much water in their packs for sale; they usually just include a couple of cups per person. That’s so the bag is portable and has some water, but really only enough water for a day, it won’t get you through an extended disruption of the water supply. The point is, if you are going to have to evacuate the area, and are in a vehicle, you can take all the water you’ve stored. But if you are evacuating on foot, you will really only take what you can comfortably carry.
Want some recognition for what you have? We’d love to share a photo of your bag/kit/stuff – this might be the time to take one, before you repack everything, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that if you’ve missed some items along the way, or finally just made up your mind to get started, you can find everything archived (reverse-chronological order) at westseattleblog.com/category/preparedness.
As we’ve progressed through (almost) a month of building a “Go Bag“/emergency kit full of items you’ll want to have in case of disaster, the question has arisen along the way – where should you store all this stuff? West Seattle Be Prepared‘s advice this time around includes not only what to add, but also where to put the bag/kit itself:
This is the last time we are actually going to add anything specific – gather up some pens and paper and a permanent marking pen (should you have to mark things in a shelter). And depending on what you’ve already put in for your food supplies, maybe some plastic wrap, aluminum foil, empty ziplock bags, or assorted plastic containers with lids. More importantly: Now you should find the place where you are going to keep your bag and water.
The best place is wherever you can grab it on your way out the door you use the most. But near any door could work, since you are never sure if you will actually be able to get back into your home (after an earthquake). A hall closet is ideal, but most of us will have to wedge it in, especially if you have all your water in liter bottles. Garage is iffy; you may not be able to open the main door (power, off tracks) but if you have a separate door to the garage, that might be OK. Outside in a garden shed is an option, but I have a cautionary tale. I put my bag and water into a plastic bin and stored it outside. One of the water bottles froze, then burst. When I went to change out the food after a year, the kit was pretty moldy-nasty. So if you have to store outside, keep liquids separate and make sure the bag is waterproof (or put in a tub or trash bag if storing in a damp area like an unheated basement).
Need to catch up? Check back? All installments are archived, newest to oldest, here.
Are you running out of steam building your bag? Then feel free to sample as you pack; for this installment, you will top off those food supplies with dried fruit, quick energy snacks, maybe some peanut butter and more chocolate! Some nuts are OK, but they do tend to go rancid, so keep those in the original containers. This is the last food you will be adding, so you might take everything out and see how it all plays together. For your entire family/household, will you be able to get by on what you have? If you had to, could you make this stretch for one week? Most government agencies have switched from saying “3 Days 3 Ways” to advising being prepared for a full week. Today’s the day to supplement what you have. But do avoid foods that need heat or water to make edible.
We’ll say it yet again – no judging, no grade, no prize here, so if you have yet to start, just jump in, get a bag, check the archives and do what you can … the whole point here is to be ready for something we hope never happens; with winter coming, though, some of the items packed in the “Go Bag” could be helpful in case of severe weather, power outages, etc.
On a day that began with rain – fittingly, water is the subject of the next installment of what to put in your “Go Bag” kit as we roll into the final days of Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month. The instructions, from West Seattle Be Prepared:
So after the action yesterday to put in bleach to disinfect water – can’t imagine enjoying that taste! – so time to finish up your full stash of water. Today you should add 2 more gallons of water (or 8 liters) per person. This should bring you to 7 gallons or 27 liters per person total. And don’t forget water for your pets.
If the space to store all this water is going to be a problem for you, keep the minimum for 3 days (3 gallons / 11 liters per person) and think ahead about where else you have water that could be used in an emergency. For example, if you are staying in your house but the water supply has been disrupted, you have a large amount of water in your water heater that you can drain.
Need to review (or read for the first time) previous installments? Find them here, in reverse-chronological order. (At month’s end, we’ll also have one big recap.)
That “Go Bag“/kit we’ve been building day by day for Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month is getting more full by the day. But the next items to add are small things you can tuck in around the corners. From West Seattle Be Prepared:
A few more odds and ends to put in your bag today – a small sewing kit, safety pins, a small bottle of liquid dish soap and a small bottle of household chlorine bleach. The bleach has two purposes – you can use plain common bleach to eliminate bacterial contaminants in water. The general rule is 8 drops of chlorine bleach (must be common bleach, not scented, not color-safe) per gallon of water and then let sit for 30 minutes. This will kill many, but not all, disease-causing organisms. The second use is as a disinfectant, for surfaces that might be contaminated. For those of you who backpack, you can throw in water-purification tablets instead.
If you’re wondering what this is all about – or just getting started/catching up – the previous installments are all in our archive of preparedness-related stories, newest to oldest, Day 24 to Day 1; find them here.
One more week left in our day-by-day project to build your “Go Bag“/emergency kit – full of essentials to help you and your family get by in case of catastrophe.
Tonight’s advice from West Seattle Be Prepared has to do with the most basic of needs:
This is something new that has come up for preparedness lists: Put a bucket with a lid, some plastic sheeting and box of large garbage bags with ties in your kit today. Think of these as your emergency bathroom kit. People who are recovering in Christchurch were bathroomless 18 months after their earthquake; they emptied personal toilet buckets into larger city-provided waste containers placed on the streets. If you don’t have the room for a bucket (and it certainly won’t fit in an average backpack), at least put the garbage bags in – they can be used in multiple ways.
We’re going into the final weekend of Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month. No, nobody’s grading you, but think of the increased peace of mind you’ll have when your kit is done – or at least well on its way. So catch up if you need to. Our installments are all archived, newest-to-oldest, here.
Belated update in our “building your ‘Go Bag‘ one day at a time” series. The next addition, as advised by West Seattle Be Prepared:
Dry goods are the food of the day – graham crackers or other dry and durable crackers, dry cereal, powdered milk, spices, sugar, coffee or tea, and candy. Put them in smaller ziplocks to save space, and mark with the date packaged.
If you haven’t started your bag yet, not too late! Just do SOMETHING. Get a bag, review the previous installments and see what’s easiest for you to get into it, then do the rest as you can. Something > nothing. It’s all archived (newest to oldest) here.
Some odds and ends this time: Put in a whistle, glow sticks, and matches, which can be used to light outdoor BBQ’s for cooking (or campstoves, but that’s a bit more than we will be putting in the bags we are building). Store the matches in a waterproof container. Also, this would be the day to add extra batteries for flashlights, if you haven’t already.
Still time to get it all done before month’s end (or as soon as feasible) – all installments are archived in reverse-chronological order here.
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