Photo courtesy Margie Carter: Madison Park emergency hub volunteers prepare for a simulation drill, practicing scenarios they might encounter following a catastrophic disaster at the emergency communication hub at Madison Park, Oct. 21.
Photo courtesy Margie Carter: Madison Park emergency hub volunteers prepare for a simulation drill, practicing scenarios they might encounter following a catastrophic disaster at the emergency communication hub at Madison Park, Oct. 21.

Throughout history, across the globe when disasters happen, there is an outpouring of local support for search and rescue, shelter, food, medical care and more.

This tradition of responding to neighbors in need underpins the network of more than 140 emergency communication hubs across Seattle.

A hub is a group of volunteers coming together in their own neighborhood to plan and practice how they will provide assistance to each other after a disaster when traditional communication systems  — phone, internet, social media — and other basic services — transportation, power, healthcare, police, fire and rescue — are disrupted.

Madison Park volunteers have been meeting to reboot our emergency communication hub and recently held a practice drill in the park by the tennis courts. We timed this event to coordinate with the annual worldwide Great Shakeout Day, the third Thursday of October, this year, Oct. 21.

This was an activity to both educate our neighbors about how to get prepared and to practice our short-wave and print-based communication systems to respond to scenarios we anticipate will emerge during a disastrous event such as the anticipated large-scale, destructive earthquake standing in the wings, or should we say in waves and shifts of tectonic plates off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

 

What neighbors should know

The pre-determined Madison Park hub location where we will gather to exchange information and resources is at the tennis court-area of the playground, across from the beach house. After a disaster, this is where we will sort out immediate needs and skills and transfer information to and from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and other neighborhood hubs with a shortwave radio setup.

It’s important to know that this is NOT a place where there will be food, water or medical supplies, so this is why you should prepare your own home with these basics for survival, which you can easily learn about with an online search.

Following a catastrophic event, you should first secure your own household and check on other neighbors in your building or on your block. Learn more about out how to prepare and organize yourselves with those in your immediate area by visiting https://www.seattle.gov/emergency-management/prepare/prepare-your-neighborhood/seattle-neighborhoods-actively-prepare.

Once you and your neighbors have gathered, you’ll identify any needs anyone has or skills or resources they could offer to others outside your building or block. Then, one or two people from your group brings this list of needs and offers of support to the hub by the Madison Park tennis courts.

By then, the hub should be open to help match your needs and resources with that of others who have convened in the park.

 

How you can help

Hubs are 100 percent volunteer and community led. Whatever skills and amount of time you have to offer, you can help us prepare as a community to be ready to offer mutual aid. You can:

Join the MP Hub volunteers and learn how the hub operates after a disaster;

Participate in the practice drills at the MP Hub;

Become a liaison with local Madison Park businesses and groups to engage them in supporting hub activities;

Get a license and experience in shortwave radio communication;

Sign up for emergency alerts through apps such Seattle and King County Emergency Alerts and Smart 911, which gives first responders important information about your household;

Participate in useful online or in-person classes on topics such as search and rescue, first aid and utility management.

To learn more or get involved, contact one of our volunteer hub team members:

Sarah Armstrong, saraharmstrong215@gmail.com,

Mary Beth McAteer, msimiele1@gmail.com,

Margie Carter margiecarter@comcast.net.