The biggest earthquake and tsunami drill in Northwest history is under way this week — and you can be part of it Saturday.
The biggest earthquake and tsunami drill in Northwest history is under way this week — and you can be part of it.
On Saturday, a dozen of Seattle’s Community Emergency Hubs will pick up where FEMA’s four-day Cascadia Rising exercise ends. While the exercise itself focuses on government and military response to a hypothetical magnitude 9 megaquake and tsunami from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the community hubs will simulate the challenges ordinary citizens will face on the fifth day after the disaster.
From Queen Anne to West Seattle and Rainier Beach, trained volunteers will gather in designated parks, churches and community centers. They will set up ham radios and realistic field stations where residents can gather and share information on everything from where to find bottled water to which bridges and roads are passable.
“In our scenarios, aftershocks have been happening, food is spoiling, people have used up their three-day supplies of water,” said volunteer coordinator Cindi Barker.
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People who show up at the hubs can draw scripts from a fishbowl, then act out the part.
“You might be reporting that the Chevron station just blew up in one of the aftershocks and the fire is spreading,” Barker said. “Or maybe Grandma is in the basement and you need somebody to help dig her out.”
In such a widespread disaster, residents should expect to be on their own for several days without any response from overwhelmed police, firefighters and government agencies. The Community Emergency Hub program was organized by volunteers to help fill the gap.
“We’re going to have to help each other,” Barker said.
Here’s a list of locations and hours for Saturday’s drill: http://seattleemergencyhubs.org/