will join Puget Sound towns, cities and federal offices today and tomorrow in an emergency preparedness exercise simulating several large-magnitude earthquakes hitting the Puget Sound area on June 4, 2012, according to a press release.
The two-day Functional Exercise on June 5 and 6 is designed to examine city, county, state, tribal and federal mid-phase response plans and EOC operations following multiple catastrophic earthquakes. Six counties, over 20 cities, several tribes, numerous private sector partners, as well as state and federal agencies will participate. The city will participate fully both days of the exercise.
During the EOC response exercise, partners from many jurisdictions will ‘play’ – including British Columbia. Canada will respond to a mutual aid request from Washington State, through the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement (PNEMA).
"This is a historic event as this international cross-border mutual aid agreement has not been exercised before," said Mercer Island Emergency Manager/ Police Officer Jennifer Franklin.
The City of Mercer Island will be participating testing their emergency plans, response to simulated impacts to the city’s transportation and communication systems as well as simulated power outages, utility disruptions, health care issues, impacts to schools, and businesses.
This exercise is intened to only test the city’s plan and staff’s capabilities in enacting this plan, and not impact residents, say officials.
One of the unique issues facing the community is the fact that a catastrophic event could collapse Interstate 90's bridges and vehicle or foot traffic access to neighboring Seattle and Bellevue. Emergency management of the crisis from City Hall will rely on assistance from community partners, including the , City Emergency Volunteers, the faith community, businesses, as well as private citizens, is essential.
"These drills provide a great opportunity for Mercer Island citizens, city workers, business employees, volunteers and Mercer Island Schools to get prepared, said MIPD Officer Franklin. "To practice using the city plan and work together to better prepare for not only catastrophic events but more common events like winter storms and power outages. We would like to encourage all Mercer Island residents to become personally prepared for earthquakes or other emergencies by improving your personal and family preparedness."
For more information on emergency preparedness and what can be done by local residents to help, visit: http://www.mercergov.org/emergencyprep