Preparedness in Wedgwood

A recent news article told of the threat of the Next Big Earthquake which could destroy the infrastructure of the Pacific Northwest region.  Local newspaper The Seattle Times reported that pre-packaged emergency kits were “flying off of the shelves” as people scared by the news article sought the quickest, most convenient way of setting up supplies for home or office.

There are several ways to prepare for an earthquake or a severe weather emergency, and it all begins with a family discussion on preparedness.  How will you and family members get in touch with one another in case of the failure of phones and other communication systems?  Children should be told what to expect in several different scenarios, such as school, home or in after-school activities, and they should know the contact info of parents and extended family members.

There are several sources of “how-to” lists which can be very helpful in what supplies would be useful, such as bottled water and a first aid kit.  Here is the list compiled by Puget Sound Energy with the suggestion of keeping a kit at home, in the car and at work.  Buying a pre-packaged kit is one choice but most families can also assemble their own emergency kits in something easily carried such as a backpack, gym bag or rolling suitcase.  Assembling supplies as a family with the participation of children is an excellent way to help children understand what they will need to do in the event of an earthquake, and help them have confidence that they and others will help one another.

A home emergency kit

Here is info on how the State of Washington is preparing for emergencies such as a major earthquake.

One of the best ways for Wedgwoodians to get prepared is to organize among neighbors to check on one another and share resources in case of emergencies.  Who has a chain saw and can help clear downed trees?  Who has a barbecue which can be used for cooking in the event of a power outage?  An upcoming event, the Annual Night Out on August 4, is an excellent time to network with neighbors and make a preparedness plan.

Wedgwood has its own Emergency Preparedness Hub located at The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE.  In the event of an emergency in which communication systems are not working, the Hub will be activated by volunteers.  An amateur radio operator will be on-site to get in contact with the City of Seattle Emergency Communications Center.  Messages about emergencies such as injured persons, fires or collapsed buildings can be sent from the Hub.  The Hub is also a place to leave written notes for family members to help one another stay in contact.

Volunteer greeters Joann and Bill at a practice Emergency Preparedness Drill, the Hub at Hunter Tree Farm.

It is important to understand that the Hub in Wedgwood does not have any supplies such as food, water or tools to be used in the event of an emergency.  The focus of the Emergency Preparedness program is to urge Wedgwoodians to organize themselves for caring for one another in the neighborhood, checking on neighbors and sharing supplies after an event such as an earthquake.

In the event of the failure of other communication systems, the Hub at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE, will serve as a communications area for neighbors to give and receive help.  There will be a message board set up for leaving notes to offer services (such as, “I have a chain saw for removing trees in the road.”) or for asking for help (“We are out of diapers.”)

Messages can be left at the Hub as to your whereabouts, or requesting info on missing neighbors and family members.  The Hub at Hunter Tree Farm is not a city-services or supply depot, but in case of an emergency, volunteers at The Hub will help community members offer and exchange aid.

Families should make a plan and have a preparedness kit, using the guidelines of Seattle’s Emergency Preparedness office.  Every household needs a Family Disaster Plan of how to get in touch with one another, and where to go in case of the need to evacuate.  Build a supply kit in a rolling bin or suitcase in an accessible place, such as a garage or shed in the backyard. The kit can contain water, food, first aid, tools, medications and printed prescription info, and lists of telephone contacts.

We don’t know when “the Big One” might occur, but we can do our best to be ready.

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