Policing and preparedness @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network:

June 30, 2019 10:12 pm
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 |   Preparedness | Safety | West Seattle news

Before the weekend wraps, we have one more community meeting from this past week to recap: The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network‘s final meeting before summer hiatus. Here’s what happened when the WSBWCN gathered Tuesday at the Southwest Precinct:

PRECINCT UPDATE AND COMMUNITY Q&A: Capt. Pierre Davis said crimes against persons are up 14 percent, largely because of the string of robberies earlier in the year. Property crimes are down 13 percent. Citizen diligence remains helpful – he admits you’ve heard it many times, but, “if you see something, say something.” In the Southwest Precinct jurisdiction, South Park remains an area of emphasis – the Anti-Crime Team is there, serving warrants. Alki Beach is a West Seattle area of emphasis and they started early this year, including one group of dedicated traffic officers.

But even they only go so far – “there’s a point in time when I could have 100 cops down there and you wouldn’t even notice.” As he’s done at several other community meetings, he mentioned the newly installed swing gate at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. That required special manufacturing but now it’s an “extra tool” when needed. What about Lincoln Park? an attendee asked. It’s generally safe, but if you see something of concern, “let us know,” Capt. Davis said.

Other attendees brought up residential-street speeding. Capt. Davis said he could forward word to the Traffic Unit for potential enforcement.

Another question: How’s staffing doing? As he had explained to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce recently, Capt. Davis explained that hiring is the problem right now, finding qualified/interested candidates, rather than getting funding for more hires.

PREPAREDNESS: Missed the Urban Survival Skills Fair at the West Seattle Bee Festival or the mini version at last weekend’s Field Day? Be sure to visit the next one at Delridge Playfield during the Delridge Day festival on Saturday, August 11th.

In the meantime, special guest Melanie Cole from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management spoke to the WSBWCN.

The office is part of SPD and has 14 full-time staffers, 12 of whom are emergency managers. Some of their work involves activating the Emergency Operations Center, which is done for special events (including today’s Pride Parade). She’s been in the industry for six years, originally with the American Red Cross, joining the city three years ago.

People who have disaster plans recover three times faster than those who do not, she said. “Getting throug a disaster is about having a strong social community network,” she noted. “Communities that don’t” have a harder time recovering. While Seattle has something of a non-social reputation, people are nonetheless interested in their community, so that helps. Her focus at the meeting was on what you can do at a neighborhood level.

“The United States is one of the most disaster-diverse places in the world,” Cole explained. If it can happen… somewhere in the U.S. is susceptible. She showed the list of what Seattle is vulnerable to:

Snow and ice
Power Outages
Disease Outbreaks

Use the Seattle Hazard Explorer and King County Ready to see what your home is likely to be most susceptible to.

What’s the reality of life in the aftermath of a disaster?

The services you rely on will be significantly disrupted for an indefinite period of time
People may not be able to get places easy (roads, bridges damaged, transit stopped)

Utilities may be damaged (electricity, water, sewer)

Gas stations and ATMs may not work

Hospitals may be overwhelmed

Phones, cable TV, internet may not wok

First responders may not be able to help you for some time

It’s all scary – but it’s not likely to all play out that way. So why should you prepare? 98 percent of people survive the catastrophic disaster – so you need to know what you’re going to do with your life until services are restored.

Your plan should address
-How will you reunite with family?
-Alternate routes to home and work
-Plans for work and schools/day care
-What if you have no electricity?
-What if you have no water service?

The most important part of a plan is being sure it’s communicated and understood. How do you get started? Make sure it’s done in a way that works for you, “otherwise you’re never going to do it.” Figure out what’s going to work for you and do it.

-Texting is your best option. They WILL always go through, though there might be a delay. Set up groups.
-If you have a land line, it can be a good backup, but don’t feel you HAVE to have one.

Building a kit
-Be prepared to be on your own for at least 14 days – the recommendation is likely to rise soon to 21 days
-Think about what you need on a daily basis and include those items in your kit
-Have a kit in your car and at work

Gold standard for water: 1 gallon per person per day. 1/2 gallon per pet per day. But don’t get overwhelmed – start with what you can.

Safe sources of light (flashlights, for example) – fires tend to be a rising risk after disasters

Medication – Talk to your doctor and arrange for an extra 2-week supply.

Regarding community: You can start a SNAP group (Seattle Neighbors Actively Prepare) –

And of course, know where your nearest Emergency Hub is! There’s now one within half a mile of every address in the city of Seattle.

What to do during an earthquake
– Most injuries are suffered because something falls on you, so think of protecting yourself from that happening.

What to do after an earthquake:

-Check yourself and your family for injuries

-Check on your home (is it safe to re-enter?)

-Check on others

-Find out more information

P.S. Know how and when to control utilities – but only shut off you gas if necessary (if you smell gas, hear a hissing sound, or the dial is spinning rapidly)

Look for free disaster-skills training classes offered by the city.

The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network will resume monthly fourth-Tuesday meetings in fall – watch the WSBWCN website for updates.

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