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Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

Mercer Island residents can prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies by educating themselves about resources available and taking a few simple steps.

In wake of the recent earthquake and ensuing tsunami that has left parts of Japan devastated, many Island residents are wondering how they can better prepare for a natural disaster occurring at home.

In "Japan Tsunami not a Threat to Puget Sound", City of Mercer Island's Emergency Preparedness Officer, Jennifer Franklin, reminds residents that we need to "be aware that the potential for a similar type quake that occurred in Japan...can strike the Seattle area." Furthermore, a disaster such as this, "provides us with the constant reminder to prepare ourselves for this eventuality."

According to officer Franklin:

"Mercer Island is getting more and more prepared by the year. In the last 3 years we have renewed our city plans, created an amazing volunteer network, have put in place an emergency well, created an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with all of our adult care facilities and continue to get our faith communities and businesses on board with getting prepared for 7 days of being without assistance."

Furthermore, the city has "created an agreement" with a private company to provide resources to Mercer Island residents in the event that the county and state are unable to provide these resources.

However, Island residents still need to be able to be self-sufficient for a period of at least 7 days. Officer Franklin states that the most important thing Mercer Island residents can do to prepare for an emergency is to create a Family Plan and have Emergency Preparedness Kits at home, in the car, and at work.

Officer Franklin gives detailed tips on Emergency Preparedness in a Mercer View video of 2008:

Part One: covers items to include in your emergency preparedness kit

Part Two: covers shutting off the water, gas & electrical power to your home

Following are a few emergency resources that the City provides for residents. These, and other resources, can be accessed directly at the City of Mercer Island website page: Emergency Preparedness.

Emergency Well: An Emergency Well (located in across from the ) was drilled in 2005. The well is not tied to the water supply system, however, in case of a disruption to the water supply, water from the well is available either by walk up, or by truck distribution throughout neighborhoods depending on existing conditions. Residents can pick up one 6-quart collapsible container for each family member in the household at no charge from the Utility Billing Counter at . 

The City of Mercer Island urges residents to store a 3-day supply of water at home, one gallon, per person, per day, as, according to an online statement: "The emergency well was not designed to serve as your only source of water during an emergency situation."

For more information about the Well, visit the city of Mercer Island's Website

Phone Bank: (206) 275-7600 Residents can call in to the local Phone Bank to receive information during a catastrophic event.

Emergency Shelter Site: --8236 SE 24th St.

Mercer Island Preparedness Map: View printable version here.

Emergency Preparedness Booklet: Download and print this valuable tool here.

From the booklet:

When a disaster occurs, activate this response plan:

1. Take care of yourself, family, home and pets.

•    Dress for safety: heavy soled shoes, leather gloves, hard hat or bicycle helmet, flashlight

•    Shut off natural gas

•    Turn off electrical at circuit box

•    Shut off water at main house valve, or hot water tank and toilets, or main valve at street.

•    Call out of state contact to check on family members not present and give update.

•    Tune in battery operated radio to emergency radio station

•    Post OK/HELP card in window or front door so it is easily visible from street.

•    Place fire extinguishers outside front sidewalk or driveway so it is available if needed.

2. Check on Neighbors to see if OK. Assist displaced neighbors to a safe neighbor’s house.

3. If neighborhood is OK and you are able and willing to assist in city disaster response teams go to City Hall Court room to assist

The City of Mercer Island also refers residents to the 3 Days 3 Ways campaign which encourages citizens to be prepared to survive on their own for a minumum of three days in the following ways:

Make a Plan: Communications and Evacuation Plans

Build a Kit: Disaster Supply Kit, Basic Items, and Special Needs Items

Get Involved: Get trained, Help a Neighbor, Connect with Your Community

One way to get involved immediately in our community is by participating in the Emergency Volunteer Community Emergency Respose Team (CERT) Training Series beginning this Saturday March 19, 2011.

Franklin encourages all residents to participate in the training as, "we rely on residents to assist with the limited public safety employees and city staff that live on the Island."

The series is 10 classes in total with a (CERT) Community Emergency Response Team Base.  Classes are held monthly with breaks in September for our City Wide Disaster Drill.

To register call or email officer Jennifer Franklin, Emergency Preparedness Officer at (206) 275-7905 or jennifer.franklin@mercergov.org

Nilki Benitez March 21, 2011 at 12:23 AM
Thank you, Joe. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!
Nilki Benitez March 21, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Thanks for your comments, Jason. Another thing to keep in mind is that people have to rely on each other during emergencies--and after preparing your family with food & water & emergency supplies, one of the easiest and cheapest (Free!) ways to ensure the best protection after a major disaster, is building solid relationships with our neighbors. Hopefully Patch is helping our community stay connected in this way, but nothing beats talking to your neighbors, getting phone numbers & other vital information. Thanks again to everyone for commenting!
JasonK March 21, 2011 at 12:40 AM
Yes! As Volunteer Lead for the City of Mercer Island's Emergency Preparedness program I very much agree. Everything we do as neighbors, friends and volunteers to prepare ourselves will incrementally assist our entire community in the event of a disaster (small, large, and huge). Patch helps enormously with getting the word out and I'm really glad you are part of our community and a widening our methods of communication.
Nilki Benitez March 21, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Thank you so much for your dedication to our community, Jason! A question about the Emergency Preparedness Training: If someone wanted to get training but missed the first class (this past weekend), is there another opportunity for joining the training or will they have to wait for next year to start the training?
JasonK March 21, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Thanks very much, Nilki. Mercer Island Emergency Preparedness Training is open to all and not a problem if a class is taken out of sequence. Those interested can click just here to find the listing of the 2011 training classes and contact info: http://www.mercergov.org/Files/Mercer%20Island%20Volunteer%20Training%202011.pdf Thanks again, and we would welcome all those who would like to become involved. best regards, Jason King

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