Good grief — July’s exciting, big headline regarding emergencies sounded yet another alarm: “QUAKE-TRIGGERED TSUNAMI WOULD HIT SEATTLE IN MINUTES.”
We learned that new models project that a major earthquake beneath Puget Sound would bring a tsunami to Seattle shores much sooner and farther inland than previously thought. A magnitude 7.5 quake would inundate Seattle’s shoreline under more than 20 feet of water and within minutes reach Elliott Bay, Alki Point and parts of Bainbridge Island.
Some projections suggest waves could reach a staggering 42 feet at the Ferris wheel and as far down as the sports arenas. Disheartening news, to be sure, especially since new variants of COVID-19 seem to be rapidly spreading again and we’re told to also take seriously the arrival of monkeypox.
But here’s some good news: Across Seattle, volunteers in neighborhoods are working with our city’s Office of Emergency Management to set up disaster preparedness information and communication hubs. Community emergency hubs are places where people gather after a disaster to exchange information and help each other.
The Madison Park Emergency Hub is located near the park tennis courts, and at the end of July we hosted another disaster response drill with support from lead volunteers with the city’s Hub Communications Department. As in other neighborhoods, these drills involve a dedicated small group of volunteers using the hub security box contents to practice setting up different stations where neighbors can learn how to share information about their needs and possible skills and resources to share. One of these stations involves radio communications with other neighborhood hubs and city officials to get specific information about conditions and possible resources around the city.
We also support neighbors to organize block by block SNAP — Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepared — groups. Volunteering together helps us feel less overwhelmed by the thought of, let alone preparation for, a destructive and disruptive earthquake and tsunami. We find ourselves more connected to neighbors and business partners, experiencing a more solid sense of community. Please consider joining some of this effort by contacting members of the Madison Park Emergency Preparation Volunteer Team listed below.
Prepare for people, pets, property
Numerous organizations have developed educational materials with helpful steps and suggested resources to survive a disaster and engage in mutual aid with your neighbors. Searching the web, you will discover the basic supplies you should have on hand to survive for up to two weeks before other large-scale help efforts arrive. Seattle’s OEM has numerous “why” and “how to” articles, checklists, videos and skill trainings offered around the city. You can also sign up for emergency alerts. Some of our Madison Park business partners will be making preparedness literature available, so ask about it when you next pop into a storefront.
Sometimes overlooked is the importance of preparing not only for the humans in your family, but also any pets. Madison Park Veterinary Hospital has brochures that Seattle OEM has prepared on disaster preparedness for pet owners. Included are a pre-preparedness checklist and what to do during and after a disaster. Animals instinctively protect themselves and typically hide where they are safe. Assuming your pet is found and with you, the brochure offers tips on how to be patient and understanding, just as we need to be with people who have gone through a traumatic experience. They remind pet owners that familiar scents and landmarks may have changed after an earthquake, and this can confuse your animal. Assuming you’ve prepared a pet survival kit, you may need to reintroduce food in small servings, gradually working up to fuller portions if your animal has been without food for a prolonged time.
Should a disaster mean you get separated from your pet, you’ll find a posting station for “lost and found pets” at the Madison Park Emergency Hub in the park. If Wi-Fi service resumes, there are several websites with information on animals rescued during the disaster. You can find an updated list of these sites at https://www.findmylostpet.com. Owners are encouraged to try different search terms as animals are sometimes labeled by different breeds than what owners have on paperwork.
More good news: Nationally, the Humane Society supports rescue teams that deploy to areas with disasters to find, care for and reunite animals with their families.
You can add to the good news by strengthening our neighborhood preparedness so we are readily able to take care of each other.
Please contact us!
Madison Park Emergency Preparation Volunteer Team members
Sarah Armstrong: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Beth McAteer: email@example.com
Margie Carter: firstname.lastname@example.org