Last year, one of our readers made a comment that got me thinking. It was after a wind storm hit our area particularly hard, uprooting trees and knocking down power lines. Some folks were without power for more than 24 hours.
She mentioned that many people aren’t prepared to survive simple power outages, let alone a significant event like an earthquake. She added that this is especially worrisome for senior citizens who may be less mobile and more vulnerable. Couldn’t someone organize a presentation on disaster preparedness, she asked.
After exploring this idea with others, I was introduced to Dr. Robert Mitchell, a 30-year Edmonds resident and retired obstetrician who has devoted his life to crisis response and hospital emergency preparedness. That meeting led to a second and larger meeting with representatives from Snohomish County Fire District 1, City of Lynnwood Fire Department, Operation Military Family and Edmonds Community College. The outcome: Count Me In When Disaster Strikes — a town hall aimed at helping you, your family and your neighborhood prepare for a disaster.
The mission of this free inaugural event, set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, is to start a conversation about what it means to be prepared. First responders will lay the groundwork, providing simple steps that each of us can take to become disaster-ready — and information that we can share with families, neighbors and co-workers.
During the March 15 presentation — in Woodway Hall at Edmonds Community College — you’ll learn what is likely to happen in the case of a major disaster, and how to prepare for it. You will also receive a list of the supplies you’ll need to make it on your own for at least seven days. Finally, you will become empowered to involve your neighbors, with the goal of helping not only your family but your community become self-reliant
Thanks to Dr. Mitchell, we’ve lined up an outstanding keynote speaker for the event: Dr. Brian Atwater, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist based at the University of Washington. His research on earthquake and tsunami hazards hastened consensus that the Pacific Northwest is subject to earthquakes as large as magnitude 9. Atwater’s work was cited in the recent New Yorker article “The Really Big One.”
Atwater’s presentation will be from 7-8 p.m. Both before and after the presentation — from 6:30-7 p.m. and again from 8-8:30 p.m. — those attending can visit information booths focused on disaster preparedness. We also invite citizens to pinpoint where they live on a giant South Snohomish County map to aid in neighborhood preparedness efforts.
The event is free, but registration is requested at the following link: http://bit.ly/SnoCoDisaster.
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Teresa Wippel, Publisher