Despite steady rain all morning, on Saturday the Victory Heights Community Council successfully hosted a drill for our emergency communications HUB in Victory Heights Park. Part of a city-wide drill, “No Power, No Bars,” to simulate an area-wide prolonged power outage, pop-up tents were set up in the tennis court area for our HUB. Nearby, amateur radio operators had their own area set up to receive messages being broadcast by the city, and to communicate with other HUBs.
Volunteers trickled in all morning to work the various HUB operations, as well as participating in mock “needs” that the workers would attempt to resolve. This was a good way to simulate what would happen during an actual crisis.
The HUB is not intended to provide first-aid or any type of physical supplies in the case of an emergency, but rather to allow members of the community to communicate with each other, by hooking up people with resources with people who have needs. Hopefully most people have prepared with enough provisions to ride out an event where outside help might be days or weeks from coming. Here are some tips to get started.
The supplies in the HUB, which are stored in the park, were supplied by the city thanks to a matching grant we received last year. We are currently running a GoFundMe to help supplement supplies. Thanks to everyone who participated and ignored the rain!
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At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council (read the complete minutes here), we heard from Hisham Farajallah about an unfortunately problem they’ve been having at the local Idriss Mosque on Northgate Way. A religious extremist has taken it upon himself to show up outside during Friday afternoon prayers with very offensive signs, a video camera, and the hopes of sparking a confrontation that he can “document” and go viral with. The feeling at the mosque is the best way to deal with this protester is to ignore him, apparently he hates that. They are hoping volunteers can show up on Fridays to help attendees avoid interactions. They don’t want a counter-protest. They don’t want to engage him. Just have everyone ignore him.
On the plus side, the mosque will be hosting an open house pre-Ramadan event on Saturday, May 5th starting at 5:30 PM that will include tours and a potluck. It’s worth checking out.
In other news, our emergency communications HUB in the park has been installed (or at least the storage box we got from the city using the grant we won). And we’ll be testing it at our “NO POWER, NO BARS” drill on Saturday, April 28th between 9 AM and noon. This is a city-wide event to simulate what would happen if the electricity failed for a long period of time. We need HUB volunteers (no experience necessary, and you get to wear a neat hat), as well as actors who will be given scripted scenarios to help the volunteers practice (again, no experience necessary). You might end up doing both. Bring the kids, last year’s drill included a very helpful Scout troupe. Our GoFundMe campaign is still going on, we hope to raise some funds to buy walkie-talkies, tables, and other things that the HUB didn’t come with.
The Victory Heights Neighborhood Yard Sale will be Saturday, June 16th from 9 AM – 2 PM. We have received permission to close NE 106th Street along the west side of the park, if people want to bring their stuff to be sold in one central location. Or let us know where your yard sale will be and we’ll have maps.
The next meeting is Tuesday, May 15th when Officer Kennedy from SPD will be speaking about dealing with homelessness, particularly the person who is camped out on 19th Avenue NE and Northgate Way.
Support our GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help the Victory Heights emergency communications HUB. On April 28th we will be holding a disaster drill in Victory Heights Park to simulate an extended power outage in our area. Our new HUB lock box will be ready, along with the tables, chairs, magnetic boards, hats and other equipment so we can receive and distribute information to residents. But we need more, hence this fundraising effort to get us more than the “bare-bones”: walkie-talkies, message boards, waterproof maps, rain ponchos, and canopies for starters. Help our neighborhood be prepared in case of an emergency. And come participate in our drill on the 28th (9 AM in the park–you can be a HUB volunteer or play out various scenarios that we will provide). The board of the Victory Heights Community Council thanks you!
On Saturday July 29th, the new Victory Heights emergency communications HUB did its first drill in conjunction with a city-wide event. Tables were set up and volunteers (including a local scout troupe) held different positions or played out various scenarios using scripts. Organized by Victory Heights Community Council President Ann Forrest, various staff were given color-coded caps so they could easily be identified: greeters, person reunions, information, medical, and information posting. The only resource a HUB has is information but in an emergency situation that can mean a lot when it comes to finding out who has what resources or where the greatest need is.
Local ham radio operators were also set up to allow our HUB to communicate with others nearby in Lake City, Meadowbrook and Maple Leaf. They could also receive messages from the city’s “central command” downtown that would broadcast general information messages every 30 minutes to update HUBs around the city.
Over two dozens people participated in the drill, a great turn-out for our neighborhood (by contrast, the central part of the city including the Central District and Beacon Hill doesn’t even have any HUBs). Drills will continue to be held in the coming months. They are fun to participate in and extremely useful training should that day come when we need an emergency communication HUB in case of a natural disaster.
Tomorrow, Thursday, October 17th, people all over the world will be participating in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. Locally it will “occur” at 10:17 AM. Washington State has also gotten into the act, encouraging individuals or families that register for the Great Washington ShakeOut today may be eligible to win a home earthquake retrofit worth $10,000!
Everyone, everywhere, should know how to protect themselves in an earthquake. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.
Do you have an earthquake plan? Know how to turn off your gas or electricity? Have emergency supplies?
This Saturday, the Seattle Community Emergency Hubs will be holding a Fall Summit from 9 AM to noon at the Seattle Emergency Operations Center, 105 5th Avenue S., Suite 300. You can RSVP to Ashley.Hill@redcross.org.
There are also a number of Community Skills Training classes available in different parts of the city, see the schedule at the City’s SNAP website.
And residents of Victory Heights may soon get a visit from an emergency preparedness block captain soon. These are folks from your street going from neighbor to neighbor to let them know about disaster planning, and organizing classes with city representatives on basic preparedness training (takes only an hour!).