Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mayday, Mayday Earthquake Preparedness Exercise, Saturday May 11, 2013, 9-noon

Ballard and Crown Hill have proposed a total of six emergency preparedness hubs. Two of those hubs will be participating in Saturday's exercise. Show up, or call ahead if you are interested in participating:
Loyal Heights Community Center
2101 NW 77th St, 98117
Contact: Cheryl Dyer / 206-‬684-4052‬

7001 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117
Plaza area behind the main building, probably with a flashing yellow light.
Contact phone: Jim Doub / 206-979-9016
Other Ballard / Crown Hill Hubs not participating this time:
Gilman Park
Contact phone: Linda Frank / 206-778-3350

Crown Hill
Contact phone: Dennis Galvin / 206-706-7663

Kirke Park

Ballard Commons

Neighborhood emergency preparedness groups across Seattle assisted by two amateur radio emergency communications teams will test their skills Saturday in an exercise based on a simulated catastrophic earthquake.  This exercise titled Mayday, Mayday is the spring version of this semiannual event.    The goal of this exercise is to practice preparedness and response actions that will contribute to community resiliency in surviving a significant disaster.  
An estimated 125 people from disaster preparedness groups and volunteer response teams including the Public Health Reserve Corps and  ham radio emergency communications teams will participate in the event.  The amateur radio teams are sponsored and trained by the Seattle Office of Emergency Management.  Their purpose is to provide emergency communications when cell and landline phones become overloaded or damaged due to catastrophic events.

The scenario for the event is based on the impact of the 6.3 magnitude, 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand applied to the Seattle area.  That disaster took the lives of 185 people and severely damaged the central city buildings and infrastructure as well as causing massive destruction to its suburbs.

Responding to Saturday’s simulated disaster event are community volunteers forming neighborhood “Hubs”.  Participants have practiced solving neighborhood problems that could occur during a disaster, responding to needs affecting life and property, sharing community resources, and reporting simulated emergency messages to the Seattle Office of Emergency Management using ham radio.

“In a real event, information communicated by ham radio from the Hubs could be used by City response planners to help assess conditions throughout the city and develop response plans”, said Cindi Barker, a member of the design team for the exercise. Exercise designers have built in some twists and turns involving communications networks and several challenging issues at Hub sites which will develop during the three hour training event.

These exercises provide an opportunity for preparedness new-comers to work alongside their more experienced neighbors to gain experience and learn skills.  “It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors” said Carl Leon, one of the drill organizers.  “We set up neighborhood Hubs where people can come to get information and share resources or skills to help those that have been affected”.

Seattle Auxiliary Communication Services (ACS) amateur radio teams will set up portable, battery powered radio networks at neighborhood Hub sites providing communication links with the City and to other Hubs.  Messages will be transmitted on ham radio systems using both voice and digital formats.  Computers are connected to send and receive e-mail like documents.

The second participating ham Radio group is the Western Washington Medical Service Team (MST).  Its purposes are to provide emergency communications to and from area hospitals and medical facilities in the Seattle area, as well as coordination with the City EOC regarding hospital readiness during this drill.

The Public Health Reserve Corps of Seattle and King County will be participating for the first time, offering both ham operators and medical professionals at the Hubs. “Our goal is not to set up medical care, but to learn how the community connections are made and where we can fit in during a disaster. Our priority is to help stabilize people and move them into the established medical system”, said program manager Dave Nichols of Public Health.

Participating Hub locations include Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Lake City, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Maple Leaf, Queen Anne, Shilshole, Wedgwood and West Seattle. All Hub locations welcome visitors and people who would like to learn and participate in emergency neighborhood preparedness during this drill.

For more information about preparedness – please visit:
            Seattle Emergency Management: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/default.htm
For more information about amateur radio – please visit:
            Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service: http://www.seattleacs.com
            Western Washington Medical Service Team: http://ww7mst.org
            ARRL the national association for Amateur Radio: http://arrl.org/
For information about the neighborhood Hubs: http://www.seattlehubs.org/


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