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 firstname.lastname@example.org