For more than a decade, we’ve been reporting on West Seattle’s Emergency Communications Hubs – community-powered operations that, if we’re lucky, we’ll never need – places you would go in case of major catastrophe, if regular communication channels were disrupted. West Seattle was a leader in hub creation, and it’s now a citywide program. Right now that program is crowdfunding for the first time to cover its fairly nominal operation costs. Longtime local preparedness leader Cindi Barker sent the announcement:
The Seattle Emergency Communications Hub Network is an ALL-VOLUNTEER force dedicated to helping Seattle communities prepare for a disaster. We work closely with City of Seattle officials, are incorporated into the response plan, but choose to remain independent of formal city control. This allows us to remain nimble and respond to our communities as the unique entities that they are. Currently, we have nearly 60 Emergency Communication Hubs throughout Seattle where trained neighbors will gather to help organize and support their communities after a large disaster.
We continue to focus on skill training and education of our existing hubs and we are determined to increase our outreach to communities of color, to non-English speakers, and to those with accessibility or economic challenges. This has been an exciting time as we navigate new paths and learn how to reach out to all communities with sensitivity. More on that in the near future but for now, we are turning to the community for support.
Hub Volunteers have shouldered our operating expenses for fourteen years. For the first time ever, we are asking our supporters to cover our expenses for the next two years as we migrate to a more sustainable business model. It isn’t a large amount – $5,500. Our network costs include website maintenance, videoconferencing capabilities, translation services to engage more Seattle residents, and multi-language printed materials such as how-to manuals, outreach materials, essential forms, and self-help posters.
If you can donate – here’s where to do it. And even if you can’t – check out the West Seattle hub map above (as well as more resources here) and be sure your family and neighbors all know about your nearest hub!