County emergency planners use Japan disaster as reminder to prepare

March 11, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. March 11, 2011

King County emergency managers continue to monitor the Japan tsunami, though the Office of Emergency Management does not expect the disaster to significantly impact the area.

The office directed people to check the American Red Cross Safe and Well Program or call the U.S. Department of State at 888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225 for information about relatives impacted by the earthquake and the tsunami.

Following the magnitude-8.9 earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued alerts for the U.S. West Coast, and around 8:45 a.m., a small wave — about 4.5 inches and smaller than high tide — reached the Seattle waterfront.

“Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this disaster,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “While the tsunami didn’t affect King County, our Office of Emergency Management has been on top of developments and coordinating with our partners throughout the region.”

Though the county escaped harm in the ongoing disaster, the tragedy in Japan serves as a reminder to prepare now for emergencies.

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Leaders urge preparedness on Nisqually earthquake anniversary

February 26, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 26, 2011

Monday marks 10 years since the Nisqually earthquake — a magnitude-6.8 earthquake credited for changing attitudes about emergency preparedness and for spurring a decade of reforms.

In Issaquah, city leaders credited the temblor for alerting officials and residents to the importance of disaster preparedness and response. Issaquah School District planners also learned lessons from the earthquake.

The state Emergency Management Division prepared a summary of changes implemented since the earthquake struck at 10:54 a.m. Feb. 28, 2001.

American Red Cross leaders used the 10-year anniversary to encourage Western Washington residents to evaluate personal earthquake preparedness plans and to prepare for disasters.

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Report windstorm damage to emergency management agencies

November 16, 2010

UPDATED — 11:30 a.m. Nov. 18, 2010

The state Emergency Management Division encourages residents to report damage from the Monday night windstorm.

State emergency planners said homeowners and business owners should notify local emergency management agencies to damage. Find a list of local agencies and contact information here.

If a business owner suffered economic injury as a result of the severe weather, he or she should also report the information to the local emergency management agency.

This initial damage information is compiled and assessed to determine if citizens and businesses in the state qualify for federal assistance in recovering from the storm.

Winds gusting at more than 40 mph toppled trees and downed power lines, plunging thousands of customers across the region into darkness.

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City prepares for earthquake aftermath

October 12, 2010

A dry-erase board at the city Emergency Operations Center lists mock local road closures as city employees handle emergency scenarios during the two-day regional earthquake drill. By Greg Farrar

The disaster — a magnitude 6.7 earthquake — struck the region less than 48 hours earlier, during rush hour at 7:54 a.m. on a Tuesday.

The temblor triggered landslides on steep slopes, damaged Interstate 90 through Issaquah, snapped mains and compromised the drinking water supply, and toppled cargo cranes at the Port of Seattle — a critical link to deliver food and fuel to Issaquah and the region.

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Leaders urge emergency preparedness

October 12, 2010

Issaquah Highlands residents gathered at Blakely Hall over pizza and soda late last month to prepare for a cataclysm.

The meeting, part of the statewide Map Your Neighborhood effort, brought together residents of a highlands neighborhood to prepare for the aftermath of a strong earthquake.

“What we found out with Katrina and the Kobe earthquake in Japan is that neighbors depend on neighbors,” Stuart Linscott, a highlands resident and Issaquah Citizen Corps Council board member, told the group.

Linscott and other corps members offer free education and training to organize Issaquah residents — neighborhood by neighborhood — for disasters.

Because only a handful of Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters might be on duty in Issaquah at the time of a calamity, city and state officials encourage residents to take steps to prepare.

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September could be a good time to invest in a weather radio

September 4, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 4, 2010

September serves as a reminder for residents to prepare for natural disasters and inclement weather, because the state observes National Preparedness Month and Weather Radio Awareness Month.

Now makes for a good time to add a weather radio to a home or business preparedness kit. La Nina could mean much more active winter weather in the Pacific Northwest.

The radios receives broadcasts about the latest weather forecasts and conditions 24-hours a day, and operate on special frequencies not found on regular AM and FM bands.

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Emergency Management Division plans radio test Saturday

July 30, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. July 30, 2010

Join amateur radio operators during a field test of the state Emergency Management Division to field-test a state emergency communications system on Saturday.

Between 15 and 20 amateur radio operators plan to join state emergency-management staffers to conduct a test of the state emergency communications trailer. Using communications equipment in the trailer, radio operators will attempt to contact county emergency operations centers in all 39 Washington counties.

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