Disaster Preparedness Suggestions

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council (read the full minutes here) we heard all about disaster preparedness and tips that could really make a difference. Think about recent events in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Mexico City. Is it so incredible to think about a massive earthquake hitting the Puget Sound area?  Even if there were no substantial damage in our neighborhood, it’s estimated it could be two weeks before we would see outside assistance (other higher priority areas, debris, damaged bridges). Here are some suggestions that would make survival a whole lot better:

  • Sturdy shoes and socks under each bed
  • Flashlight under bed
  • Remove or secure pictures / shelves around bed
  • Secure refrigerator to wall
  • Plug-in-the-wall flashlights that come on automatically when the power is cut
  • Know where the water cut-off is inside your house.
  • Learn how to turn off your gas at the meter if you smell/hear gas leaking
  • Designate an out-of-town contact person
  • WATER! (assume 1 gallon per person per day x 14 days, don’t forget your pets)
  • Strap down water heater
  • Food – do you have enough to last two weeks in your house?
  • Make/buy an emergency toilet (5 gallon buckets work)
  • Find emergency communication HUB closet to your house, work, schools (in Victory Heights there will be one set up in the park)
  • Assemble a “Get Home Bag” for your car or work
  • Scan important documents and upload to the cloud
  • Have cash in small bills stashed away, assume ATMs will not work

Here is a list of further resources:

Resources:

Securing household items http://www.earthquakecountry.org/step1/index.html

Securing refrigerator to the kitchen wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaMqz9Q_vgc

Turning off the WATER to your house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvE6n7rTGnM

Turning off GAS to your house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keNdbAs-sBk

Twin-Bucket Emergency Toilet http://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/article/394125

 Map of HUB locations in Seattle http://seattleemergencyhubs.org/seattle-emergency-neighborlink-map

 Seattle Hazards Map http://seattlecitygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=0489a95dad4e42148dbef571076f9b5b

Alert Seattle http://alert.seattle.gov

Smart 911 https://www.smart911.com

Add Emergency Contact Number to your phone’s lock screen http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2489237,00.asp

GPS Apps for Offline Navigation https://www.wired.com/2015/04/offline-gps-apps/

http://mashable.com/2015/09/16/offline-maps/#gT52NaBjG8qn

Seattle Resilience Survey http://www.seattle.gov/resilience/get-involved

The next meeting of the community council will be Tuesday, October 17th at 7 PM in the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.

Community Council Going al Fresco Tuesday Night

Park 2015The June meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council on Tuesday, June 16th will be held al fresco on the lawn in Victory Heights Park starting at 7 PM. Partially this is to take advantage of the beautiful weather we have been having lately, but also because we don’t have access to the pre-school building during the summer. So bring your lawn chairs out. (In the off chance it rains, we have a nearby house to retreat to.)

The speaker this month will be Debbie Goetz from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management. She will speak about emergency planning, and how we as a community can best be prepared if the worst should happen. We’ll also get an update on August’s Neighborhood Night Out party that will be held next to the park on August 4th. Hope to see you this Tuesday!

Upcoming Events Including Community Council Meeting

VHsignThis Tuesday, May 19th is the monthly meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council. Meetings are open to the public, please come and participate.

The meeting starts at 7 PM on Tuesday, May 19th at the Co-op Preschool Building in Victory Heights Park.  The chairs are sized for small children, so bring your own for maximum comfort.

Also coming up in our area:

Friday, May 15th: Community Art Workshop: Telling Stories. Sponsored by Silver Kite, these $10 workshops each Friday focus on a different aspect of art. This week is Theater. 4 PM – 6 PM, George Center for Community, 2212 NE 125th Street.

Sunday, May 17th: Celebrate African Cultures. Enjoy stories and crafts from African traditions. 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM at the Lake City Library.

Monday, May 18th: District 5 Candidate Forum. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, North District Council, and the Meadowbrook Community Council are sponsoring a candidate forum for the newly formed 5th District City Council seat. Come hear what the prospective representatives have to say. 6:45 PM at the Jane Addams Middle School Auditorium 11051 34th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125 (across from Nathan Hale).  Janine Blaloch is the moderator, and our own Brad Cummings will be timekeeper.

 

Emergency Drill Prepares HUB Volunteers

Interior view of the emergency HUB storage container in Lake City.

Interior view of the emergency HUB storage container in Lake City.

Under grey threatening skies that later changed to sunshine, Emergency communication HUBS around Seattle participated in a simulated disaster drill Saturday morning, including the one in Lake City located in the Fred Meyer parking lot. For two hours, volunteers at the HUB, using neighborhood “actors,” practiced dealing with different emergency scenarios, and matching them up with provided resources.

The radio room in the communications HUB.

The radio room in the communications HUB.

By 9 AM, the Emergency Preparedness volunteers had set up pop-up tents, chairs, tables, dry-erase boards, and the radio room for relaying messages to a post downtown. Regular citizens were asked to come by and pull a slip of paper from a bowl that would describe the “emergency” they had, which then had to be dealt with by the staff.

A slip I picked said “I need a tow truck, my car just died. I pushed it to the side of the road, but it’s blocking a lane of traffic.” A volunteer then collected my information and posted it on the “Needs” section of the board.  Later, Victory Heights Community Council President Ardith Lupton pulled a resource slip that said she had a truck with a tow rope that could be used to pull a vehicle. Mission accomplished!

Keith Dekker pretends to be a blind resident who needs shelter. On the left, Susan Causin posts the information.

Keith Dekker pretends to be a blind resident who needs shelter. On the left, Susan Causin posts the information.

The pretense of the drill on Saturday was an eruption of Mt. Rainier with resulting ash and lahar flows. During the last such event, lahars racing at speeds up to 60 mph reached as far north as Seattle! A vulcanologist I know told me, “And, while Mt. Rainer can produce a lahars if the eruption period last for a while, Rainer’s biggest threat to Seattle is ash and poisonous sulfur dioxide gas.” Swell. An article in yesterday’s Seattle Times about earthquakes also had this cheery tidbit,

The last megaquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs 700 miles from Vancouver Island to Northern California, struck in the year 1700 and measured about magnitude 9. The odds of a repeat within the next 50 years are estimated at between 15 and 30 percent.

That’s pretty high odds. So be prepared. Have several days worth of water and food on hand and don’t expect immediate help from authorities in case of a disaster. More advice from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management is here.

Community Council Focuses On Emergency Preparedness

Last night’s monthly meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council focused on emergency preparedness. Cheryl Dyer, a volunteer from the City’s Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepared (SNAP), gave a talk about how to prepare for a disaster that might cut off electricity, water, gas, and possibly food.

Read the full minutes of the November meeting.

If you live in Victory Heights, you might soon be visited by a block captain who can give you literature from the city about what steps to take in advance of an emergency, as well as what to do in the immediate aftermath. The city will also hold, block by block (as organized by the captains), one-hour presentations where they boil all the information into the essentials. It is emphasized over and over, in case of a catastrophic disaster (particularly an earthquake, but the recent power outage after the windstorm shows what can happen) residents would be left to fend for themselves, perhaps for days maybe a week, before outside assistance could arrive. It’s imperative for each household to have enough water, food, light sources, and a way to keep warm and dry for several days.

Other items discussed at last night’s meeting was the new Little Free Library that has been installed on NE 106th just west of the park. A second is coming soon to 23rd Avenue NE. Holiday Caroling will return in December to Victory Heights, stay tuned for details. And stolen mail from boxes on Goodwin Way prompts reminders that residents should use locked mail boxes.

The next meeting with be on Tuesday, December 17th.