Community disaster response training is available in Issaquah

February 27, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 27, 2012

Registration is open for Community Emergency Response Team training in Issaquah.

CERT training is designed to prepare residents to help family members and neighbors during a catastrophic disaster. The training is important because professional emergency services personnel cannot help everybody immediately, so citizens can use CERT training to protect and save lives.

CERT courses include disaster first aid training, disaster preparedness, basic firefighting, light search and rescue, and damage assessment skills. Participants can also learn how to turn off utilities and the psychology behind a disaster.

The training program is $35. Learn more, and register for the CERT course, at the Issaquah Citizen Corps Council website.

Off the Press

January 24, 2012

Another winter storm, and not so prepared

Debbie Berto Press publisher

Storm coming, so get prepared. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The weatherman never gets it right.

My husband Tom and I are certified members of a CERT — Citizen Emergency Response Team — here in Issaquah.

Sadly, we found ourselves not so prepared last week.

On Tuesday, Tom suggested he should charge the generator. He didn’t follow through, but it did start when the power/phone/Internet/cable went out Thursday morning.

But we only had two gallons of gas on hand to keep the generator going. Uh oh.

Tom siphoned some gas from the 4-wheeler but learned that our cars have anti-siphon devices. A call to the police department confirmed that The Grange did have gas and a generator to pump it, and about 40 cars in line for it. We decided to wait for city power to return.

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Issaquah Community Center opens as 24-hour shelter

January 19, 2012

Barry Morgan (right), American Red Cross volunteer, registers the 100th client at the Issaquah Community Center at 3 p.m. Jan. 20 for a place to stay. Volunteer Stan McKenzie and service dog Katsu are at left. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 9:20 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

The city and the American Red Cross partnered to turn the Issaquah Community Center into a shelter for people without heat and power.

The 24-hour shelter opened Thursday night at the community center, 301 Rainier Blvd. S.

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City activates Emergency Operations Center, Eastside Fire & Rescue opens shelters

January 19, 2012

NEW — 5:10 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

City officials opened the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday afternoon to coordinate the response to a major snowstorm and ice storm, and subsequent power outages across Issaquah and the region.

The decision came as more than 18,000 customers in Issaquah faced nightfall without power and temperatures in the low 30s. Puget Sound Energy is in the midst of a colossal effort to restore power to about 200,000 customers in Western Washington. In a tweet posted at 4:59 p.m., PSE said people without power should not expect to have power restored Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Eastside Fire & Rescue opened Fire Station 82, 1851 228th Ave. N.E., and Fire Station 83, 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., as warming shelters.

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Issaquah residents urged to prepare amid King County flood watch

November 21, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. Nov. 21, 2011

King County is under a flood watch as a precipitation-laden system barrels into Western Washington, and Issaquah residents should prepare for localized flooding as rain and wind pelt the area.

The flood watch is in effect until through late Wednesday night. Expect 2 to 4 inches of rainfall Monday night and Tuesday as the snow level rises to about 6,000 feet, and then another 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night and Wednesday as the snow level gradually dips to about 3,000 feet.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said any flooding related to the system is expected to be minor.

In addition, a wind advisory is in effect through noon Tuesday.

Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said leaves dislodged from trees by rain and wind could also clog storm drains and lead to flooding along city streets.

Issaquah Creek flooding is not expected to pose a major problem in the days ahead.

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Prepare for national Emergency Alert System test

November 8, 2011

City leaders reminded Issaquah residents to prepare for a national Emergency Alert System test.

The test, scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 9, is a chance for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to try out the Emergency Alert System, a national alert and warning system for the president to address the American public during emergencies.

The test is meant to help federal agencies and local participants, such as Issaquah and King County, determine the reliability of the system and how well such messages notify the public during disasters, such as earthquakes.

During the test, a message indicating, “This is a test” is broadcast on radio and television. The test could last up to three and a half minutes, and could include a typed message on the TV screen.

The practice run includes local radio and television stations, cable television, and satellite radio and television services.

Officials said the test is similar to Emergency Alert System tests conducted in the area on a regular basis.

Issaquah emergency planners used the test to remind people to establish emergency preparedness plans and kits. Learn more at King County’s 3 Days 3 Ways program website, www.3days3ways.org, and the federal preparedness website, www.ready.gov.

Prepare for national Emergency Alert System test

November 3, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 3, 2011

City leaders reminded Issaquah residents to prepare for a national Emergency Alert System test.

The test, scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 9, is a chance for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to try out the Emergency Alert System, a national alert and warning system for the president to address the American public during emergencies.

The test is meant to help federal agencies and local participants, such as Issaquah and King County, determine the reliability of the system and how well such messages notify the public during local disasters, such as earthquakes.

During the test, a message indicating “This is a test” is broadcast on radio and television. The test could last up to three-and-a-half minutes, and could include a typed message on the TV screen.

The practice run includes local radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services, and wireline video service providers.

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City, King County changed disaster preparedeness since 9/11 attacks

September 13, 2011

The decade since 9/11 has reshaped how Issaquah and King County leaders prepare for disasters and manage the response to emergencies.

The attacks also meant increased attention — and dollars — for emergency management efforts, although local officials said the initial focus on counterterrorism sidelined plans about other dangers, such as floods and earthquakes.

“All of the sudden there was a big focus on emergency management in general. That was good news from an emergency management perspective,” said Bret Heath, city public works operations and emergency management director. “The bad news is that it shifted from all hazards to almost strictly terrorism immediately following 9/11.”

Issaquah planners focused on more common emergencies — floods, snowstorms, windstorms and the like — in the years before the attacks.

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Local leaders, citizens prepare for 9/11 commemoration

September 10, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 10, 2011

Issaquah residents prepared to mark 10 years since the 9/11 attacks Saturday, as local leaders utilized the anniversary to remind citizens to prepare for disasters and remain vigilant against threats.

The city, Eastside Fire & Rescue and community organizations plan to host a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary at 1 p.m. Sunday. The remembrance is scheduled to occur on the lawn at the Issaquah Community Center, 301 Rainier Blvd. S.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger is scheduled to speak at the event. The keynote speaker is Bill Lokey, a firefighter sent to New York City after 9/11 as part a special emergency services task force.

The anniversary also offered a chance for local leaders to cast a spotlight on emergency preparedness efforts.

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King County reminds locals to prepare after Vancouver Island earthquake

September 9, 2011

NEW — 2:10 p.m. Sept. 9, 2011

Many King County and West Coast residents felt the earth tremble Friday afternoon as a magnitude-6.4 earthquake occurred off Vancouver Island.

The tremor struck at 12:41 p.m. at about 14 miles beneath the surface. The earthquake occurred about 170 miles west of Vancouver. Residents as far south as Seattle reported feeling the tremor.

King County Executive Dow Constantine used the earthquake as a reminder for local residents to prepare.

“Over the past 10 years, in concert with our regional partners, we have worked to build a whole-community approach to disaster planning, response and recovery,” he said in a statement. “Strong communities begin with each of us making a personal commitment to prepare, and then reaching out to our neighbors to build the networks that will be crucial when disaster strikes.”

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