Emergency preparedness on the West Coast is a little different than it is in most of the US.
In the last 365 calendar days, just the Pacific Northwest alone has had 651 earthquakes greater than 1.5 on the Richter Scale, according to the US Geological Survey. If you’re from here, you can likely recall your first significant experience with a quake just as easily as you can drum up your earliest memory of your favorite teacher from elementary school, or that first time you rode a bike unassisted. It’s simply an entrenched part of our culture, much like someone from the mid-West has been shaped by their alertness to tornadoes and their proceeding weather patterns.
Whether or not you know it, you’re attuned to the signals; the first shiver in the ground an out-of-towner might confuse for a big truck rolling by, your own internal reckoning process as you determine if you need to scoop up your hot coffee to keep it from rippling out of the cup, or if you need to nose-dive under your desk to avoid falling shelves. Luckily for us, the City of Everett and it’s Office of Emergency Management has its own ear to the ground too, so to speak, and they’re listening for rumbles.
Their collaborative begins and ends with the safety and well-being of Everett denizens. In the end of 2014, the City released the ‘Promulgation Proclamation’ which includes 331 pages dedicated to the city’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). The CEMP “represents the framework for City disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities.”
The CEMP details how all relevant public authorities, functions and responsibilities to establish a mutually cooperative plan of action between City Departments, Divisions and other private and public entities in response to a disaster. Besides including local authorities and procedures, the CEMP is metered against the National Response Framework, National Incident Management System, and Washington State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The state-specific plan takes into consideration “the unique needs and circumstances” of our area, rather than a one-size fits all plan, as what is true for coping in the wake of a disaster in Everett will not be the same as it would be in, say, Cle Elum.
As individuals, we all know what we ought to do; keep flashlights, batteries, water, non-perishable foods somewhere out of the way and easy to remember, enough for a minimum of three days. Keep food for your pet, and have a back-up place to meet if you’re separated, a chain of communication you can work through if cell towers are down.
But what about our businesses? We may know to set aside extra food for Fido and your parakeet and make sure to check on all your elderly neighbors, but the unique circumstances surrounding economic impact is another facet that the City actively works towards addressing. June 14th, the Everett Office of Emergency Management and the University of Washington are hosting the Everett Business Disaster Resilience Workshop, where they stage an interactive workshop designed to address the risks facing individual businesses and “identify opportunities to reduce those risks”.
The workshop addresses the “separate and equally devastating economic disaster” that can occur after a natural disaster rocks our world. While this workshop isn’t relegated to recovery from only earthquakes, it does signal that the City is working hard to consider all aspects of recovery in the aftermath of what may come. Everything from re-establishing lines of supply if the I-5 corridor is crippled to offsetting the risks of vandalism and looting, or just making sure you know how to turn off your own main breaker or water main, could be topics of discussion.
It’s taking place June 14th from 9:30-11:00 am, in the Anderson Room of the Everett Performing Arts Center on 27th and Wetmore. You may RSVP with Sarah LeVelle at 425-257-7965 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please attend to learn and support yourself and your neighbors, or your neighboring businesses.