Issaquah Citizen Corps offers new short-form CERT class

January 7, 2014

The Issaquah Citizen Corps is kicking off the new year offering a Community Emergency Response Team class in a new short format. The training focuses on personal readiness and disaster preparedness skills.

Classes are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays starting Jan. 18, at the Issaquah Public Works building, 670 First Ave. N.E. Cost is $35 and covers course materials and a basic CERT backpack.

The four-week class culminates in a disaster simulation drill March 8.

Karen McManus, president of the Issaquah Citizen Corps, said the new courses are the result of popular demand.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 6, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

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President declares King County a disaster area for January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 3:40 p.m. March 5, 2012

Federal aid is available to Issaquah and other cities impacted during the January storms, because President Barack Obama declared King County a disaster area Monday.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for city government. City officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked Obama late last month to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

Local governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using FEMA public assistance grants.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 5, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

“You’d clear a road, you’d come back down and you’d have to clear your way back out the same road,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said in a Feb. 28 briefing to the City Council. “Or you’d clear a road and you’d get a call from somebody else in the snowplow that said, ‘I thought you cleared this road.’ The answer is, well, we did. We were just there, but those trees were coming down so fast and frequent that it was impossible for awhile to stay on top of that.”

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Governor asks president to declare King County as disaster area

February 28, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked President Barack Obama on Feb. 24 to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

If the declaration is approved, Issaquah and other governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grants.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for Issaquah municipal government. Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.

If a disaster declaration occurs, city officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.

Preliminary state and federal damage assessments estimated $32.3 million in potential eligible damage across the state caused by snow, freezing rain, power outages, rain, fallen trees and limbs, avalanches, falling ice, landslides and storm debris.

Gregoire proclaimed a winter storm emergency in the state Jan. 18.

Gov. Chris Gregoire asks president to declare King County as disaster area

February 24, 2012

NEW — 3:15 p.m. Feb. 24, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked President Barack Obama on Friday to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

If the declaration is approved, Issaquah and other governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grants.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for Issaquah municipal government. Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.

If a disaster declaration occurs, city officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.

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Issaquah’s bill for response to January storms tops $500,000

February 21, 2012

The city’s initial tally for response and cleanup from the January snowstorm and subsequent ice storm reached $530,000 — although the number could shrink if federal officials release dollars for disaster efforts.

Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.

The city could receive federal dollars as a reimbursement if President Barack Obama declares the January storms as a federal disaster. Such a decision means local governments could apply for reimbursements for emergency response and cleanup activities.

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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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