Early next month, when you go to buy your groceries, you may encounter a new, temporary feature at your favorite shopping center – an emergency “Info Hub.”
Organized and set up by the Sammamish Citizen Corps Council (SCCC), the Info Hubs will be vital sources of communication if a big earthquake, or some other disaster, strikes the region.
On June 7, as part of “Cascadia Rising,” a four-day regional emergency exercise, SCCC volunteers and personnel from the city, Eastside Fire & Rescue and Sammamish Plateau Water will test their readiness.
The Info Hubs will feature ham radios and message boards, allowing residents to report problems to the Sammamish Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and provide the city and other agencies with an emergency link to the community.
“The Info Hubs will serve as two-way communication channels when everybody’s phones, computers and television sets stop working,” City Manager Lyman Howard said. “We’re looking forward to activating the city’s Emergency Operations Center and seeing how well we link up with the info hub volunteers.”
The SCCC will set up its hubs at three locations:
- Next to Trader Joe’s in the Sammamish Highlands shopping center.
- Next to the QFC in the Pine Lake shopping center.
- Next to the QFC in the Klahanie shopping center.
Volunteers at those sites will help residents identify the Info Hubs closest to their homes, share information about the exercise and provide pamphlets on emergency preparedness. One of the pamphlets will feature “Map Your Neighborhood,” a community program that empowers residents to handle emergencies, and identify neighbors with special skills and equipment. It also identifies residents who may have special needs and vulnerabilities.
Volunteers are needed for the June 7 event. If you’d like to help out, go to sammamishcitizencorps.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full, four-day Cascadia Rising exercise is intended to test the region’s ability to respond to a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. Local, state, tribal and federal entities are involved, along with some private-sector and non-governmental organizations.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) plate interface is a giant fault that runs from northern California to British Columbia. Scientists have concluded that an 8.0 to. 9.0 earthquake occurs along this 700 mile-long fault line every 200 to 500 years. The last major earthquake associated with this fault occured over 300 years ago.
Should another come this way, it’s believed the region would see major damage to roads, bridges, dams, levees, railways, water and sewer systems, schools, hospitals and communications systems.