Statewide earthquake drill shakes up preparedness plan

October 23, 2012

Tina Eggers (left), city clerk, Megan Gregor, city passport and records specialist, and Mary Lorna Meade, city risk management officer, take shelter under desks at Issaquah City Hall at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18. By Greg Farrar

Staffers flooded from Issaquah City Hall and other municipal buildings at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18 as employees joined a statewide earthquake drill.

The preparedness exercise involved public employees throughout the city, plus residents throughout the city and state, as planners tested residents’ ability to respond to a temblor.

The city official responsible for disseminating information to the public during emergencies, Communications Coordinator Autumn Monahan, said frequent disaster preparedness exercises educate city employees about the proper procedures to follow in worst-case scenarios.

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Residents can join Great Shakeout regional earthquake drill

August 21, 2012

Statewide, more than 160,000 residents plan to participate in the Great Shakeout earthquake drill at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18.

The regional exercise is meant to bring together residents and emergency planners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and British Columbia. The event includes a simultaneous drop, cover and hold earthquake drill. Register to participate in the exercise at www.shakeout.org/washington.

“Earthquakes are a hazard throughout the state, and the Pacific coast and Puget Sound can experience a tsunami at any time,” John Schelling, earthquake, tsunami and volcano program manager for the state Emergency Management Division, said in a statement.

April is Disaster Preparedness Month — no fooling

April 1, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. April 1, 2012

April is Disaster Preparedness Month, and the state Emergency Management Division encourages residents to plan for emergencies.

Statewide preparedness activities include a drop, cover and hold earthquake drill at 9:45 a.m. April 25. The drill is part of the monthly Emergency Alert System test for broadcasters.

Citizens can find preparedness information for businesses, homes and schools from the Emergency Management Division.

“Citizens, companies and government agencies will be encouraged to review their individual preparedness plans, contact information and emergency kits, and to prepare themselves to be self-sufficient for a minimum of three days following an act of terrorism, or natural or manmade disasters,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a Disaster Preparedness Month proclamation.

State emergency planners also conduct a drop, cover and hold earthquake drill for National Preparedness Month in September.

Minor earthquake shakes areas south of Issaquah

September 27, 2011

Seismologists recorded a magnitude-3.2 earthquake south of Issaquah last week, but the minor tremor did not cause any damage or injuries.

University of Washington seismologists said the minor earthquake occurred at 1:22 p.m. Sept. 22. Scientists pegged the earthquake’s epicenter near Lake Desire in rural King County, about eight miles southwest of downtown Issaquah.

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies did not respond to any calls related to earthquake-related problems or damage, spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart said.

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National Preparedness Month includes earthquake drill

August 30, 2011

September is National Preparedness Month, and Washington officials plan a statewide earthquake drill to help residents prepare for a natural disaster.

The statewide drop, cover and hold earthquake drill is at 10:15 a.m. Sept. 21. The monthly test of the Emergency Alert System marks the start of the drill.

“Citizens, companies and government agencies should review their individual preparedness plans, contact information and emergency kits, and need to prepare themselves to be self-sufficient for a minimum of three days following an act of terrorism, natural or manmade disasters,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a special proclamation.

Sept. 21 also includes a Tsunami Warning Communication System test in coastal Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.

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National Preparedness Month includes earthquake drill

August 29, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 29, 2011

September is National Preparedness Month, and Washington officials plan a statewide earthquake drill to help residents prepare for a natural disaster.

The statewide drop, cover and hold earthquake drill is 10:15 a.m. Sept. 21. The monthly test of the Emergency Alert System marks the start of the drill.

“Citizens, companies and government agencies should review their individual preparedness plans, contact information, and emergency kits and need to prepare themselves to be self-sufficient for a minimum of three days following an act of terrorism, natural or manmade disasters,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a special proclamation.

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Volcano Awareness Month is a reminder to prepare for disasters

May 24, 2011

Issaquah faces risk from volcanic ash amid Cascade eruption

Majestic Mount Rainier, peeping through the gap between Tiger and Squak mountains, stands as a constant reminder to prepare for emergencies.

The looming volcano, like Mount Baker to the north and Mount St. Helens to the south, is active and although geologists do not expect Mount Rainier to erupt anytime soon, emergency planners remind residents to prepare. May is Volcano Awareness Month.

“It’s one of the things where we actually have to remind people that a volcano is one of our hazards,” said Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director. “Everybody looks at Mount Rainier down in the valley there on a nice day and goes, ‘Ah, beautiful mountain’ — until it goes off.”

Issaquah sits outside the area under threat from Mount Rainier lahars, a debris-strewn mudflow streaming from a volcano, but volcanic ash, or tephra, could impact transportation and air quality in East King County. In the area surrounding the mountain, lahars pose a greater hazard than lava and poisonous gases.

Though lava flows might not extend more than a few miles beyond Mount Rainier National Park boundaries, lahars could reach as far north as South King County.

Heath and other emergency planners identify volcanic eruptions as a potential threat to Issaquah.

Carolyn Driedger, hydrologist and outreach coordinator at the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said numerous volcanoes in the Cascade Range remain active.

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Citizens help others prepare for disasters

April 5, 2011

In Issaquah, a city of more than 30,000 people, only a handful of the population has completed the most rigorous training to respond to disasters.

The unfolding disaster in Japan — caused after a magnitude-9 earthquake rocked the island nation early last month — renewed attention on emergency preparedness on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Even in a city as focused on preparedness as Issaquah, some gaps remain in the system.

The city has spearheaded lessons in Map Your Neighborhood — a program to coordinate disaster recovery on a block-by-block basis and identify special skills, such as medical training, among residents — for dozens of neighborhoods, although less then 300 people had completed the more rigorous program, Community Emergency Response Team training, by mid-March.

City and independent emergency planners said the numbers belie the effect of trained responders, especially as CERT members start to educate family members and neighbors in disaster preparedness and response.

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Planning is focus for Disaster Preparedness Month

April 1, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 1, 2011

April is Disaster Preparedness Month — no fooling.

The month of activities focused on emergency preparedness includes a statewide earthquake drill and a conference to help regional and state planners gird for disasters.

“I encourage all citizens to increase their knowledge and awareness of proper safety measures to follow before, during and after a disaster,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a Disaster Preparedness Month proclamation.

The governor said state, city and county emergency management agencies also intend promote the value of preparedness across the Evergreen State during the monthlong observance.

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Leadership Eastside is committed to change

March 29, 2011

Leadership Eastside’s mission is to create fundamental changes — within the community and within the individuals who participate in the organization.

“One of our alumni recently said that the real project is you,” said James Whitfield, president of Leadership Eastside.

The nonprofit, officially launched March 16, 2005, “partners with the community’s greatest assets, its leaders, to meet the community’s greatest needs,” Whitfield said.

Indeed, the combination of community involvement and personal enrichment has seen much success during its past six years, largely due to what Whitfield refers to as LE’s primary product, a three-year leadership-development program, which accepts 40 to 45 applicants per year.

Issaquah Highlands resident Stuart Linscott, who was drawn to the program in 2006, said he believed the training would give him a “toolkit of skills” which could then be applied to many aspects in life, including furthering his community leadership, as well as personal and business relations.

Additionally, the people you encounter in the process, who share your values and goals of moving the community in a positive direction, often become lifelong friends, Linscott said.

“I think the neatest thing about the organization is that the people are all passionate about community involvement, and that really struck a chord with me,” he added.

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