Did you know there was a 3.4 earthquake near Mount Rainier on Wednesday? Us either, till West Seattle Be Prepared‘s Karen Berge mentioned it in e-mail. Microquakes are common there, but this was a bit bigger. Not necessarily a harbinger of anything more, but just another reminder: Be ready! So, the most constructive thing we can tell you here in our sixth Disaster Preparedness Month spotlight is: Be at WSBP’s first free training session TONIGHT, 6 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction!
A flyer is worth a thousand words … see you there. (If you haven’t been to the Senior Center before, the entrance is on SW Oregon, east of West Seattle Coins – go immediately upstairs.)
If an earthquake hit now, what would you do? If you replied “Run for a doorway” – sorry, wrong. The advice these days is “Drop, Cover, Hold.” As our nightly Disaster Preparedness Month spotlights continue, with a focus on quake preparedness/survival – there’s a little more to “Drop, Cover, Hold” than those three steps. We’ve found a few videos that have extra information that can increase the chances “Drop, Cover, Hold” – or as some put it, “Drop, Cover, Hold On” – will save you. They’re right after the jump: Click to read the rest of Preparedness Month, 5th report: ‘Drop, Cover, Hold,’ and then……
As Disaster Preparedness Month continues in our state, with WSB committed again this year to nightly spotlights, with a special focus on earthquakes – it might be of value to make sure you’re not skeptical about the whole topic. The experts say too many people dismiss the concept of preparedness, when in reality, earthquakes are survivable. Want to hear firsthand from an expert in our state? ****Read this.**** (Thanks to Cindi Barker from West Seattle Be Prepared for the link; she and WSBP’s Karen Berge and Deb Greer are immensely helpful again this year in providing information we’re drawing upon for these nightly spotlights.)
So then, if they’re survivable, what do you do as soon as the shaking starts? Run for the door?
Here is THE LIST of what to do – if you’re indoors, if you’re outdoors, if you are in a moving vehicle, and even, if somehow you still get trapped in debris. This version of the list is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Read that, know it, share it. (And once you have all that down – read the other summaries linked from that page, like what to do AFTER a quake.)
NIGHTLY REMINDERS: Know your nearest Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hub – go here to find it (and if there’s not one nearby, help make one happen!) … Make plans to be at the preparedness-training session that West Seattle Be Prepared is presenting this Thursday, 6-7:30 pm at the Senior Center in The Junction … And check out the “3 To Get Ready” campaign, which is sponsoring WSB during Disaster Preparedness Month again this year. This time around, they’re offering a contest as incentive for you to take their “Preparedness Challenge” – check it out here … Our archive of preparedness coverage on WSB, newest to oldest, is here.
Once again this April – Disaster Preparedness Month in our state – we’re spotlighting preparedness every night on WSB, with a special focus on earthquakes. As noted here last night, one of the in-person training sessions you can check out in West Seattle this month is an earthquake-retrofitting workshop on Saturday, April 16, 11 am-2 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. But realize that readiness is about the little things, too. One of the preparedness experts who responded to our call for resource suggestions shared a link to a quiz about how to make your living room safer – through earthquake-proofing for the everyday items it just might contain, such as a wide-screen video monitor, a bookcase, glass/ceramic art pieces, mirrors on the wall. It’s a simple quiz with graphics and multiple-choice questions; we’ll confess that we only got half the answers right, so we learned a lot. It’s from a California agency, but don’t let that stop you – the quiz starts here. Even if you only take away one or two things you can easily do in your home to earthquake-proof some of its smaller contents, that’s progress. Till tomorrow – we’ll close with another important reminder: Get to know West Seattle Be Prepared – especially your nearest Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hub.
April is Disaster Preparedness Month in our state, and for the second year, WSB is committed to a nightly focus on preparedness, with a particular emphasis on being ready in case of earthquakes, given our area’s history and risk, as well as the heightened awareness and concerns resulting from last month’s quake/tsunami disaster in Japan.
Our first report gave a quick refresher on the Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hubs that are part of an amazing volunteer-led effort that has given West Seattle the preparedness edge so far – West Seattle Be Prepared. But the relatively small group of volunteers who have come forward to join in the planning and preparation this far won’t be able to do much in case of disaster without backup and help from hundreds, even thousands of others in the community. That’s why your participation in training is vital as part of Preparedness Month – and the good thing is, you don’t have to seek it out on your own. Here are 3 West Seattle opportunities coming up in the next two and a half weeks, all free – you just have to show up!
THIS THURSDAY (APRIL 7TH): West Seattle Be Prepared launches a new training/education series. 6-7:30 pm, be at the Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction (California/Oregon). An hour and a half is a small investment considering the potentially lifesaving information you get in return – here are full details from WSBP.
APRIL 16TH: Find out about retrofitting your home for earthquake safety, with a free workshop at the West Seattle (Admiral) Library Branch – full details here. (Though the class is free, registration is requested – 206-233-5076.)
APRIL 18TH: WSBP and the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network team up for a preparedness-training session, 6-7:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster).
Those are all from the West Seattle Be Prepared events calendar, where you will also find a reminder of April 20th – the day for a statewide “drop, cover, and hold” earthquake drill at 9:45 am. More here tomorrow night, and we’re still interested in your suggestions for what you most want to know about earthquake readiness (we’ll be working on the questions raised in last night’s comments!).
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
Once again this year, WSB is taking time every night in April – proclaimed Disaster Preparedness Month in our state – for at least a tidbit of special coverage (sometimes more) to help you get closer to the goal of being ready for anything. This time, we are going to focus specifically on earthquake preparedness, still so top-of-mind following the recent Japan megaquake/tsunami disaster, preceded by the New Zealand quake. But first out of the gate, the most important thing we can do is make sure you are tapped into West Seattle Be Prepared, a volunteer-led effort with online and offline components. The biggest one is the designation and mapping of “Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hubs” around the peninsula. As explained on this page of the West Seattle Be Prepared website, the hubs are “emergency community gathering sites in case a major disaster occurs that makes it impossible to get information and help in the usual ways.” Check the map (above, and here, with a downloadable/printable version here). Know your nearest hub. If you don’t see one near your neighborhood – that’s only because volunteers haven’t come forward yet to designate and plan one (maybe you can help?). Hub or no hub, bookmark and browse West Seattle Be Prepared; also check out its new blog-format site, with more-topical information, like a newly launched events calendar; join the WSBP group on Facebook; and “follow” @wsbeprepared on Twitter. Saturday night, we’ll start getting down to quake-preparedness specifics. If there’s anything specific about earthquake preparedness or earthquake risks you’ve long wondered about, leave a comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be sure to find experts to address it during our month of coverage.
For all the time you may have spent in the past few days watching those jaw-dropping videos from the Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear zones, spend some time watching/listening to this one. Monday night’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting was almost entirely devoted to disaster/emergency preparedness, and we put the 43-minute heart of the discussion on video for those who couldn’t be there. The topic actually had been planned before the Japan quake. Information was presented by Debbie Goetz from the city, which presents SNAP preparedness classes (next two in West Seattle are June 7th at 6:30, High Point Library, and November 3rd at 6:30, Southwest Library), and Cindi Barker from the all-volunteer West Seattle Be Prepared. The presentation led to a discussion about the need for North Delridge to have its own Emergency Communication Hub as part of WSBP (as Cindi reiterated, these are places you would go for information in case of catastrophe). North Delridge will keep the conversation going (NDNC meets the 2nd Monday of each month, 6:30 pm, Delridge Library); if you are in another neighborhood – check to see where YOUR nearest hub is:
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
(Video recorded at a home in Japan during the earthquake)
We’ll leave the information about the huge, magnitude 8.9 Japan earthquake to those who are covering it directly – but a couple of notes: First, the federal websites providing tsunami information are finally working properly (until a half-hour or so ago, they were not reflecting the watch that is in effect for the ocean coast) – here’s where to go for that information. Note that even though any wave generated in a situation like this is technically a “tsunami,” if one actually hits this side of the Pacific, it could be barely a ripple – we have seen that scenario play out time and again – BUT it is never a reason for complacency. “Watch” means lowest level of “keep your radar up.” We’ll be keeping an eye on the situation all night.
Second, until we get information about relief efforts to help the quake survivors, here’s something you can do to not feel so powerless in the face of the horrifying scenes from the Japan quake zones – THINK PREPAREDNESS. Start by knowing your Emergency Communication Hub location. Here’s the West Seattle-volunteer-created, info-rich West Seattle Be Prepared website, as a place to start.
2:50 AM UPDATE: This table has the projected height of whatever “tsunami” might hit the Washington ocean coast. Note the highest is about three feet.
In case you missed it earlier tonight — as part of their coverage of the Nisqually Earthquake’s 10th anniversary tomorrow, our friends at KING 5 News talked to the preparedness gurus behind West Seattle Be Prepared – Cindi Barker, Karen Berge, and Deb Greer (not pictured above, but if you click “play” you’ll see the story). As we often mention, it’s vital that you check out their website and know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is – in case of catastrophe, if all other channels of communication go down, you can go there to find out what’s going on and how to get help. Watch the KING 5 story above (and/or read the text here), then check out the Hubs page and the rest of West Seattle Be Prepared. (And if you can get involved in this all-volunteer effort that’s setting an example for the rest of the city as well as for our entire peninsula, please do – they would love more help.)
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
We had been planning a reminder story about this anyway, given that next Monday is the 10th anniversary of the big Nisqually earthquake, but New Zealand’s deadly quake brings the point home again, and an immediate reminder seems in order: Quakes strike without warning; they strike big cities as well as small villages. Don’t put off preparedness thinking you’ll “get around to it.” Do realize that the official agencies, like police and fire, will be so busy/overwhelmed, it’s not wise to expect they will reach you immediately and/or be able to tell/show you what to do. (This page explains that further.)
In West Seattle, we are lucky to have dedicated volunteers who, as reported here over the past three years, are working to help make sure we’re all able to help each other, and ourselves, in some semblance of an organized manner even in case of mega-catastrophe. A key component of the effort: The West Seattle Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hubs – now nine in number, and located on the Google map above (which is taken from the West Seattle Be Prepared website). If you’ve missed previous coverage – these are nine places (and yes, they’d love to have more, but more volunteer power is needed) around West Seattle where you will be able to go to get and share information in case disaster takes out all the regular channels. Know your nearest hub; make sure your family does, too. And have your disaster kits ready – at home, in your car (note that the New Zealand quake struck in the middle of a busy workday, as did, for that matter, the Nisqually quake). Here are some hints from 3 Days, 3 Ways. You can also go to this WSB archive to browse our coverage (newest-to-oldest) of local preparedness efforts – drills, and the daily tips we ran during Preparedness Month last April (more ahead this year, but don’t wait till April to be ready!).
P.S. Preparedness efforts for yourself and your family are priority 1 – but if you can devote time/effort beyond that, get involved with West Seattle Be Prepared; contact info is here.
You’ve heard a lot about preparedness here, thanks to the amazing group of West Seattle volunteers working on projects like West Seattle Be Prepared, but here’s another way to get involved: West Seattle resident Dave Nichols e-mailed with a call for volunteers to join the Public Health Reserve Corps for Seattle & King County. He explains, “This group of volunteers augments Public Health during a medical emergency or disaster.” And you don’t have to be a health-care professional. Read on to see what they’re looking for and how you can help with this “just in case they’re ever needed” team: Click to read the rest of Your chance to be part of the Public Health Reserve Corps…
Cindi Barker and Sharonn Meeks are two of the volunteers at the Fauntleroy Emergency Communications Hub (explained here), one of three hubs, along with Highland Park and Admiral, that are part of an earthquake drill this morning. It’s a followup to a May drill – meant to simulate what the hubs might deal with in the not-as-immediate aftermath of The Big One. The scenario given to volunteers is that it’s about 30 hours after a major quake hit the region, affecting power and transportation, and breaking or overloading major communications systems, so Community Hubs are up and running, and ham-radio teams are in action. Today’s participants are acting as if they are relieving the first group that’s been working since just after the quake, and have to deal with “a large amount of message traffic” – note the radio and the bulletin board in the photo. The volunteers will be attempting to relay those messages, among other parts of the drill. (This is the same one for which we put out a call for “actors.”) What can you do? Know where your nearest Emergency Communication Hub is – that’s where you would go to find out information and how to get help when the conventional ways of doing so have failed. Also, don’t just think of a disaster kit as “we’ll get around to it” – be ready now – weather disasters may be partly predictable, but earthquakes still aren’t. Find tips on the excellent, volunteer-created West Seattle Be Prepared website.
View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map
It’s been a while since we’ve talked about the West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs (above) – neighborhood-designated sites around the peninsula where you would be able to go in case of disaster/major emergency, to get information and help (here’s where to find the one that’s closest to you). This morning, we have a request for you to help the Hubs during an upcoming “fake quake.” From Cindi Barker:
On Saturday, October 16, there will be a citywide drill of volunteer Emergency Preparedness organizations. In West Seattle, the Emergency Communications Hubs will set up 3 of their Hubs and conduct a live drill of an earthquake scenario, complete with aftershocks. To make this as realistic as possible, we would like to have citizen “actors” come to the Admiral, Fauntleroy or Highland Park Hubs to report damage, request assistance or offer resources (we’ll provide the script ideas). We would especially like to invite SNAP groups or Block Watch members to help, so you can see how the Hubs could interact with your neighborhood group. The drill will run from 9:00 am to noon on the 16th and you can participate for part or all of the drill. If you can help, please contact us at email@example.com.
These aren’t happening IN West Seattle, but the recruiting notice for volunteers to help with two drills is shared by WSB’er LyndaB, and given our peninsula’s leadership role as a hotbed of disaster preparedness, somebody out there just might want to help. And the volunteers for the first one can be as young as 14 – high-school students, that means community-service credit! Read on: Click to read the rest of Want to be a ‘volunteer victim’? Recruiting now for disaster drills…
The preparedness volunteers who gathered at Ercolini Park to join in Saturday’s “Rattle in Seattle” drill (explained here) admit at least one person was a bit startled – walking by and overhearing radio transmissions, incoming and outbound, like this (listen closely – it’s only 10 seconds long):
That particular “catastrophic failure” was supposed to involve the 35th/Myrtle reservoir/water tower site. But that was just one of numerous hypothetical catastrophes reported in the drill, which took on an old-time disaster-movie feel after you’d been watching/listening long enough – gas-station fires, and more. Most important of all – each of these volunteers was tracking what was being reported in her/his neighborhood:
They are the “focals” – key contacts/organizers – for the Emergency Communication Hubs around West Seattle, mapped on the website we’ve told you about many times before, West Seattle Be Prepared. If a true disaster happens and takes out standard lines of communication, overwhelming city services (that line was heard at one point during the drill, “City services are maxed out”), volunteers will set up at the “hubs,” equipped with the radios they used during this drill, to join a communication network that not only will make sure authorities are aware of what’s happening, but also will communicate, neighborhood-to-neighborhood, what’s needed – so that other volunteers can be dispatched where they’re needed, whether their expertise is first aid, search-and-rescue, or something else.
The Communication Hubs are also where you will be able to go to find out what’s happening and to seek help – and that’s why it’s important to have them in all neighborhoods, so that you or someone representing your family/block/etc. wouldn’t have to go far, even if you had to walk or bike. But they only work through volunteer power – and there’s room for lots more help – start by joining the West Seattle Be Prepared Facebook group – if you’re not on FB, there’s contact info on the main WSBP website too.
This isn’t likely to be something you accidentally encounter and get concerned about – but just on the very slight chance you happen onto somebody who’s participating, we’re giving you the heads-up about the “Rattle in Seattle” neighborhood-preparedness simulated-earthquake drill this morning. It’s meant to test the backup communications system that’s been organized (as explained on West Seattle Be Prepared). Want to know more? Read the official news release, ahead: Click to read the rest of West Seattle preparedness: Communication Hub drill today…
This is it – the end of Disaster Preparedness Month. All but one night this month, we brought you tips, links, recommendations about making sure you and your loved ones are better prepared just in case of the unthinkable. HUGE thanks to the West Seattle preparedness-volunteer crew – including Karen Berge, Deb Greer, Cindi Barker, Ron Zuber, and everyone who works on the Emergency Communication Hubs in neighborhoods around the peninsula. And thanks to you for taking a few minutes to read. These haven’t sparked massive discussions online but they weren’t meant to – they were meant to get you thinking and hopefully preparing, and if at least a few West Seattleites added something to their kit, memorized their nearest Hub, signed up for 3 to Get Ready (left) – that’s what it’s all about. Here are the recap and regular links one more time:
*Archive of all Disaster Preparedness Month stories on WSB, newest to oldest
*West Seattle Be Prepared website – resource-rich, full of links and maps and information, WS-specific
*West Seattle Be Prepared Facebook group – join!
*3 to Get Ready, the city’s preparedness campaign (sponsoring WSB to get the word out), continuing 1 more week
And as noted in the first week of DP Month, the city has two classes in June in West Seattle – an earthquake-retrofitting class in Admiral on June 1, a SNAP (Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare) class in Delridge June 8. Disaster Preparedness Month may be ending, but any day can be Preparedness Day.
On this second-to-last night of our Disaster Preparedness Month coverage: Feeling overwhelmed by all the advice and exhortations, knowing there is so much you need to do, but not knowing where to start? Here’s help. Morgan Junction preparedness volunteer (and emergency responder when wearing his professional hat) Ron Zuber shares a calendar created by the Santa Rosa (California) Fire Department, but NOT specific to that locale – every step is absolutely applicable here (among many other places). It is a week-by-week calendar that offers several steps you can take EACH WEEK – at your leisure during that week – for six months. Print it out, put it on the fridge, check off the steps as you take them; every bit of progress you make is progress toward making sure you and your loved ones could make it through a disaster. HERE’S THE DOWNLOAD (Word doc). Meantime, those other regular reminders – tons of resources online at West Seattle Be Prepared, including the map to West Seattle’s Emergency Communication Hubs (memorize yours!); take the extra online step and join the Facebook group that’s part of West Seattle Be Prepared; plus – there’s still time to get in on the “prize pack” for the city’s 3 to Get Ready campaign (sponsoring WSB as part of Disaster Preparedness Month). Again, don’t get overwhelmed – every small step you take, means you’re more prepared than you were before.
Transportation is the focus for this Disaster Preparedness Month “moment” … specifically, how you’d get around if you can’t drive, either because you’re out of fuel or the roads are jammed/impassable. West Seattle Be Prepared webmaster (and more) Karen Berge recalls the scenes from 9/11 in which women were trying to walk with shoes that weren’t made for distance – giving rise to the thought that even if high heels are your preferred business wear, you might keep something more practical handy at your workplace, stashed in a locker or under a desk, and at home, regardless of what you usually wear, know where the sturdiest, most walkable shoes are, in case you have to get out fast. If you’re not fully acquainted with West Seattle’s streets and trails, take some time to learn more about them – the West Seattle Walking Trails maps can help. Know the route to your West Seattle Emergency Communication Hub, at least. And beyond walkability – even if you don’t or can’t regularly ride a bike, you might consider having one around as a matter of preparedness; taking the idea even further, given that we’re surrounded by water, owning watercraft (or having an agreement with a friend who has a boat moored on this side of the bay) could be considered part of preparedness as well.
Now, for the third to last time, our nightly reminders:
-West Seattle Be Prepared (resource-laden, WS-specific website here; Facebook group for more discussion/ideas here)
-Accept the city’s simple 3 To Get Ready challenge (register for prizes!), which is being advertised on WSB through early May
-All of this month’s reports/ideas/links are in the WSB Preparedness archive, newest to oldest – see them here
During this Disaster Preparedness Month, we’ve mentioned the city’s preparedness activities before. Here’s a simple one that you can take advantage of: The monthly newsletter from the Office of Emergency Management. Not quite May yet but the May edition is out – see it here. It lists upcoming classes and drills, in addition to taking a closer look at a specific preparedness topic you might not have heard much about. This edition also has another reminder about the “3 to Get Ready” (WSB sponsor) promotion that’s under way now. Overall, the OEM website has plenty of resources – as does, of course, West Seattle Be Prepared, home of the Emergency Communication Hubs (know YOURS!) P.S. Still need items for your emergency kit? Might be something to look for during West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day – 200+ sales around the peninsula, somebody’s bound to have something you need! (Oh, and don’t forget to join the WSBP Facebook group …)
After our Monday night Disaster Preparedness Month mention, a comment from “Onceachef” pointed out that if you need prescription medication to stay healthy, you need to make sure you have a supply ready to go if you have to evacuate. The federal government has plans to get drugs into disaster-affected zones – read about them here – but the whole point of personal preparedness is the expectation that authorities will not be mobilized to help immediately, so you have to be able to take care of yourself for at least several days. The general advice is that you keep the stockpile in your preparedness kit, and rotate it, rather than just packing it and forgetting about it. What if you need insulin, which is supposed to be kept refrigerated? Here’s a federal infosheet on that. … Got a preparedness question we haven’t addressed, as we get to the final few days of Disaster Preparedness Month? Leave a comment, e-mail us, or take your question, any time, to the West Seattle Be Prepared group on Facebook – where others interested in the topic will help you find the answer!
It’s a two-way story here on the 25th night of our Disaster Preparedness Month coverage: Since the West Seattle peninsula doesn’t have a hospital, what happens if disaster cuts us off from off-peninsula services? First – looking ahead, now is the perfect time to put out the call for volunteers in the Public Health Reserve Corps, to spring into action if necessary in a crisis. Read all about it here. From that webpage, here’s who PHRC is looking for right now:
Licensed medical volunteer roles:
* Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners
* Clinical Social Workers
* Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses
* Marriage and Family Therapist
* Mental Health Counselors – Registered or Licensed
* Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
* Physicians and Physician Assistants
* Registered Nurses
Non-medical, non-licensed support volunteer roles:
* Administrative Support
* Call Center Operator
* Chaplains/Spiritual Care Worker
* Support Volunteer
The PHRC has formal mobilization protocol, but also, the folks behind West Seattle Be Prepared note that in case of crisis, people with medical skills will also be VERY MUCH WELCOME at the West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs (here’s the map). One other note from the WSBP site: This page is devoted to information about medical and first-aid help, including a link to Google Maps with the nearest hospital and veterinary facilities.
Just a little encouragement as we enter the final week of Disaster Preparedness Month. Even the pros work to prepare. The scene above is from the Joint Training Facility in the southeasternmost corner of West Seattle – scene of the Fire Muster competition featured here on WSB earlier tonight. That’s an area of the site used for search/rescue training – just last month, Christopher Boffoli shot this video of firefighters participating in monthlong training exercises:
Telling the story in that clip is Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen, who explained that firefighters go through that training annually. But what about you and your family-preparedness plans – how often should you review? At least “every few months” seems to be the consensus. Set a day and time and hold everyone to it. You could alternate practicing earthquake drills, fire evacuation plans, and going over the information about where you would all meet if you weren’t together when disaster struck (this is where West Seattle has an advantage, with the Emergency Communication Hubs – be sure everyone knows “your” location). Don’t just make a plan once, or pack a kit, and forget about it until you realize rustily – oops – should have practiced.
Got questions about this or other preparedness issues? Great place to ask: West Seattle Be Prepared group on Facebook.
As we have traveled through Disaster Preparedness Month with almost-nightly information since April 1st, we’ve talked a lot about getting ready. What about when – if – something actually happens? That’s the focus of the advice on this city webpage. Some of the advice on that page has to do with earthquakes, which we’ve addressed already this month, but there’s also a one-sheet with information on Sheltering In Place – which is the advice if there is some kind of chemical spill/hazmat/toxic fume problem in the area. To be able to follow that advice, you’ll want to have a roll of plastic sheeting available – something else to add to your preparedness list, for next time you visit a hardware store. But first – have you already taken the 3 steps advised in the city’s “3 to Get Ready” campaign, including making sure 3 other people know about them? Here’s the starting point; 2 more weeks in the campaign, and don’t forget to register for the prize pack! For West Seattle-specific information, the West Seattle Be Prepared website is the place to go, along with its companion Facebook group. And if you do NOTHING else this month toward personal preparedness – at least know where your West Seattle Emergency Communication Hub is, and be certain your family/friends know too.
Just in time for Disaster Preparedness Month, the city-run Seattle Channel now offers embedding code for its videos – including the one you can watch above, a Seattle-geared preparedness overview, with practical advice, including what to do in case of earthquake. We found it by following links from the city’s “3 to Get Ready” campaign, which is being advertised on WSB and other news sites around the city to keep preparedness top-of-mind this month. Set aside 15 minutes to watch it – being ready is “everyone’s responsibility,” as the host points out – nobody can do it for you. Then take time to check out West Seattle-specific resources you won’t see in the video, like the info-rich volunteer-created West Seattle Be Prepared website, and its centerpiece, the community-created Emergency Communication Hubs (you know yours by now, right? right?).
We missed our Disaster Preparedness Month report last night – and there was no time to catch up in the early morning, because we started the day covering a sizable West Seattle power outage. So that set the tone for tonight’s advice: First, from the fabulous West Seattle Be Prepared website: What to do (and not to do) when the power goes out. But what you need in case of an outage may be very personal – depending on what you’d need to get along for a while without power – in our case, for example, it’s extra laptop batteries – so think ahead of time about what you’d really need, and have it standing by. It may be something simple, like one suggestion we got – this morning’s outage left people unable to run their coffeemakers, but if they’d had some packets of instant coffee set aside, they could have had something stopgap before leaving the house. As for the practical items, a suggested “lights-out kit” list is here. And here are your must-do get-prepared online assignments: Join the West Seattle Be Prepared group on Facebook; take the “3 to Get Ready” challenge (WSB sponsor – with prizes!); know your Emergency Communication Hub. (WSB photo above from December 2006)
One relatively simple, but hugely important, home-improvement action you can take in honor of Disaster Preparedness Month: Secure your water heater, since it can supply you with fresh water for quite a while if trouble interrupts your access to the main system. The sketch at right is from a how-to page on the state Department of Health website – which points out that plumber’s tape is no longer the preferred method for securing water heaters, because “so many tanks burst through this strapping” during the 1989 Bay Area and 1994 Southern California quakes. To see how to secure your water heater, check out the state how-to here. Got yours secured already? Send us a photo so we can show the world your awesome preparedness! And while we’re talking earthquakes – a reminder that the statewide drill, recommended for everyone (work, home, school, etc.), is coming up at 9:45 this Wednesday morning. Till then, make sure you’ve completed the basic preparedness steps we’ve been reiterating each night: Take the “3 to Get Ready” challenge (city campaign, sponsoring WSB this month); explore the West Seattle Be Prepared website and memorize your Emergency Communication Hub; and if you’re on Facebook, join the West Seattle Be Prepared group.
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