When disaster strikes, communities mobilize. Emergency management staff, first responders and other professionals form the backbone of disaster response, but the coordinated actions of trained residents can save many more lives and reduce suffering. This is particularly true in places that face the prospect of large-scale disasters, whether earthquakes, eruptions, landslides, wild fires or floods. One such place is Snohomish County.
To showcase some ways residents can get involved, Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) will be holding an open house on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at 720 80th St. SW, Bldg. A in Everett.
“When a major earthquake strikes in Snohomish County, it is very likely that the need for first responders will far exceed available resources. When that happens, we will rely on neighbors helping neighbors. This is why we encourage people to get trained and be involved,” said Jason Biermann, Director of Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM).
The open house will highlight four ways residents can get involved in the community’s response to a disaster. These include the Snohomish County Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS), Snohomish County Emergency Response Volunteers (SERV), the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, and Map Your Neighborhood.
Snohomish County ACS is a group of HAM radio operators who, along with the Snohomish County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, provide emergency communications across the county. To learn more about joining ACS or becoming a licensed HAM radio operator contact Scott Honaker at 425-388-5069. Snohomish County SERV members fill important administrative roles at the County’s Emergency Coordination Center. To learn more about SERV contact Jarrod Dibble at 425-388- 5073.
The CERT program trains volunteers in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, team organization, and light search and rescue. Meanwhile, Map Your Neighborhood helps neighbors become familiar with their communities. It will help you figure out who has useful skills, who lives where, or who can or can’t be reached because of their work schedule. Contact Michelle Boll at 425-388-5064 for more information about CERT or Map Your Neighborhood.
The open house is part of Snohomish County’s “Individually prepared, Together resilient” campaign, which urges residents to make a plan, build a kit, stay informed and get involved.
“That last part is our focus for this event,” said Michelle Boll, Program Coordinator at Snohomish County DEM. “Getting involved means learning skills and volunteering with organizations that can be helpful in a disaster.”