Photo by Jessica Keller
Madison Park emergency hub volunteers Lawrence Pitre and Sarah Armstrong survey the contents of the brown metal container next to the tennis courts at Madison Park during a drill in August.
Photo by Jessica Keller Madison Park emergency hub volunteers Lawrence Pitre and Sarah Armstrong survey the contents of the brown metal container next to the tennis courts at Madison Park during a drill in August.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that brown metal box next to the tennis courts in Madison Park. Some people think it’s chock full of supplies that will help them after an earthquake, like food, water and medical supplies. They’re wrong. The box is the result of Madison Park neighbors coming together over the last decade to develop a communication center to activate after a significant disaster, like the magnitude-9  earthquake expected in Seattle some day in the future, https://www.geekwire.com/2020/earthquake-researchers-lay-latest-outlook-really-big-one-thatll-hit-seattle/.

Recent research by seismologists and geophysicists propelled Madison Park residents John Madrid, Bob Edmiston, Sue Heffernan, Dave Reeder, other residents and the Madison Park Community Council members to gather donations to set up an emergency communications box in the park — called the hub box. While the box holds this history, it does not hold any supplies to help neighbors survive. Rather, supplies are limited to items that would help neighbors communicate what they need, offer skills that they have, learn what’s happening in other parts of Seattle after the quake and access information about how to survive with what you have until help arrives.

Most of these early contributors to our Madison Park emergency preparation work have moved on.  Currently, a small group of volunteers is trying to pick up their work and get ourselves educated and better prepared. This involves upgrading the hub box and holding practice drills so that we can efficiently set-up our local communication system after a quake.

Another aspect of our work together will be to mobilize neighbors into small block clusters to get know each other and plan for mutual aid. We certainly can build on some of the positive experiences we’ve had getting to know our neighbors better after 18 months of a global pandemic!

Will you join us in this effort? We know it is both foolish and unsustainable to expect someone else to handle things that seem so daunting. If we each play even a small part, we can accomplish a great deal. You might want to join the ham radio team that will keep communications flowing between different neighborhoods and the city’s Office of Emergency Management after the earthquake. You might want to help mobilize neighborhoods or practice running the communication center during a drill. Or perhaps you have some needed funds or supplies you could offer to upgrade the hub box. We have a knowledgeable team that will be guiding volunteers and co-creating our plans so your time or donations will be put to good use.

If you have more questions, contact Sarah Armstrong, saraharmstrong215@gmail.com, and Mary Beth McAteer, msimiele1@gmail.com.