Emergency preparedness for Eastlake

The importance of preparedness

Eastlake is a safe place to live or work, but we can always do more now to make it safer in the event of a future emergency. Potential disasters include explosion/fire from underground natural gas lines or a tanker truck; or release of chemical/biological/radioactive contaminants. But as with the rest of western Washington, probably the most formidable risk in Eastlake is from a far larger earthquake than has happened in our lifetimes, but which last happened more than 300 years ago and is due for a repeat.

Two 2015 articles in the New Yorker (“The Really Big One,” July 20, click here; and “How to Stay Safe When the Big One Comes,” July 28, click here) report that some seismologists forecast an earthquake soon and even overdue that would be much larger than previously thought. A public meeting that the Eastlake Community Council held on earthquake preparedness was featured that year in a Seattle KCPQ TV channel 13 story(click here).

You can help your family, your neighbors, your workplace, and the Eastlake neighborhood be ready for any disasters to come. In the below sections are information resources and some ideas on how to prepare The Eastlake Community Council is committed to making our neighborhood safe from disaster. We welcome your help and suggestions, to info@eastlakeseattle.org and eastlake.hub@gmail.

Rogers Playground is Eastlake’s neighborhood hub in a disaster

In many possible disaster scenarios, Eastlake could lose part or all of its phone service (land lines and cell phones), internet (e-mail, social media, web, etc.), and utilities (electricity, cable TV, natural gas, and water). Along with the damage to homes and businesses, some bridges, streets, walkways and waterways may be blocked or hazardous. These losses will not only endanger those who live or work here, but also greatly complicate rescue and relief efforts.

To facilitate communications and mutual aid in a disaster, Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management (located in the Police Department) recommends that each neighborhood designate a site, to be maintained by community volunteers, where neighbors and other community members can gather to exchange information about local needs and resources before government agencies are fully able to respond. In consultation with City officials, the Eastlake Community Council selected that site as Rogers Playground (2500 Eastlake Avenue East).

A team of volunteers who live or work in Eastlake is planning a Eastlake Emergency Communications Hub that that will “pop-up” in Rogers Playground in the event of disaster. The Hub will be staffed by volunteers who have taken City-sponsored training about emergency assistance. A volunteer ham radio (also known as amateur radio) operator skilled at emergency protocols will be in communication with Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management and with other neighborhood hubs. Supplies such as water or food are not being stockpiled at the site, but in the event of a disaster, information will be shared about how people who have water, food, and other assistance can offer them to those who do not.

On why it is important for a neighborhood to have an emergency communications hub, or find out about upcoming hub events in other neighborhoods that would be interesting to observe, click here. To learn more about the Eastlake Emergency Communications Hub or how you can join, contact the organizing team at eastlake.hub@gmail.com

How you and your family, block, dock, or business can prepare

The City of Seattle’s excellent emergency management web site is available by clicking here. In the event of an actual disaster–and if the internet is working–this web site will be one of many sources for immediate information on the unfolding emergency. At that point, it will be clear whether you have made sufficient preparations. It is better to think about such matters now, when preparedness efforts are still possible.

The City emergency management web site has excellent advice about preparedness, such as in its section on SNAP (Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare), a program of preparedness for your block, dock, business, or household. Consider these key suggestions on which the web site provides background:

  1. Assemble necessities such as food, water, and medications into a “kit” for a 10-14 day period plus smaller kits for workplace and car. A video on how to make a kit at little cost is available by clicking here.

  2. Sign up for a free training workshop, with many topics and skills available. If you do get training, please let ECC know at info@eastlakeseattle.org so your skills are known and we can keep you in the loop on disaster planning and response.
  3. Arrange for an Office of Emergency Management representative or designated volunteer to be a speaker to your block, dock, workplace, or other group. To schedule a presentation, click here. If you are looking for a meeting place or someone to share the event with, the Eastlake Community Council may be able to help (info@eastlakeseattle.org ).
  4. In consultation with your family, block, dock, or workplace, write a plan for emergency preparedness. Suggested guidance for the household, business, or neighborhood is available by clicking here.
  5. Request that ALERTSeattle send you free alerts. AlertSeattle is the City government’s emergency notification system. Sign up at http://alert.seattle.gov to receive customized alerts by text message, email or voice message and on social media.
  6. Get a “ham radio” or satellite phone. When telephones, the internet, and electric lines are knocked out in a disaster, a battery-powered ham radio may be the only means for two-way electronic communication. For background, see the web site of the National Association for Amateur Radio by clicking here. To get involved in Seattle’s volunteer emergency radio network, click here. If you already have a ham radio or a satellite phone, please let ECC know you are in the neighborhood so we can keep you in the loop.
  7. Notify the Eastlake Community Council at info@eastlakeseattle.org about any special skills (such as medical or engineering) that you are willing to contribute in an emergency.

Call 911 about an emergency

If you are aware of any fire, explosive risk, or crime that is about to occur, is in progress, or is very recent, please phone 911 immediately. Additional phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and web sites for reporting can be found on this web site’s hot line page in the column at right, which you can also reach by clicking here. For non-emergency Seattle Police Department calls, phone 206-625-5011 e.g., nuisance, suspicious behavior, etc. (to reach dispatch, dial 2, then 8)

Fire Department

Eastlake is fortunate to have nearby the important protections of brave Seattle Fire Department employees and their equipment at Fire Station 22, just east of I-5 at 901 E. Roanoke Street. If you know of a fire or the potential for explosion, call 911.

Please help improve our neighborhood preparedness

If you have questions or would like to help in any way with neighborhood emergency preparedness, please contact the Eastlake Community Council at info@eastlakeseattle.org and the Eastlake Emergency Hub organizing team at eastlake.hub@gmail.com. We will keep you informed about ongoing efforts in the neighborhood, and if you report to us any special skills, we will give you the opportunity to engage them now or in the event of disaster.