Disaster Preparedness
 
Why this letter: We live in an earthquake prone area and are occasionally isolated by winter storms. It’s easy to forget, but we do live on an Island, and in the event of a major event, particularly an earthquake, our community could be completely on it’s own for days or even weeks. This letter is the first step in forming a very basic community emergency action plan to prepare us for these serious possibilities – it’s our intention to allay fears by being ready; there are simple, inexpensive, and extremely effective ways to lessen risk and give us peace of mind.
Some Things to Consider: An earthquake caused by a "Cascadia Subduction Zone" event (fancy name for the "Big One") could affect communities from Canada to Northern California. They occur about every 300-500 years. The last one - which devastated the region - was circa 1700.
Northern Whidbey lies on a "Crustal Fault," an unpredictable major earthquake source.
In a severe winter storm our local emergency services could be overwhelmed leaving many of us on our own.
 
Three Things We Can Do:
1. Organize a response effort.
Identify those community members with limited mobility and/or preexisting medical conditions that might need assistance after a serious event, and those Dugualla volunteers willing to help them. Promote "neighbors checking neighbors," a commitment to physically check on each of our neighbors (after ensuring the safety of your own family) to facilitate a quick response to problems that might otherwise go unnoticed for days. We can solicit volunteers with valuable skills, like medical and first aid training, those people willing to share the use of their generators (or a temporary sleeping arrangement in their house), and people who have specialized tools or equipment at their homes (advanced first aid supplies, equipment that could assist in rubble removal). We understand that volunteers would only be available after ensuring the safety of their family and immediate neighbors.
 
2. Maintain a personal emergency preparedness kit.
Greater individual preparation increases our overall available resources and flexibility in dealing with the unknown. This can be as simple as extra food and water. See www.Redcross.org for basic ideas.
 
3. Educate ourselves.
Do you how to turn off all of your utilities (electric, gas, water)? Have you considered earthquake insurance (earthquakes, like floods, are not ordinarily covered by a homeowner’s policy – but it’s not for everyone)? Do you know how to “earthquake proof” your home? There are simple measures that can be taken to mitigate the physical and economic hazards of an earthquake, and many are relatively inexpensive.
 
What we are asking:
Please let us know your name and address if you think that you might require assistance in the event of a severe earthquake or winter storm. Are you interested in receiving information on preparedness, or in volunteering in the event of a community disaster? There is no need for a personal time commitment right now (other than your own preparation, which we highly encourage) - we will be happy to do the organizational legwork. However, if you do want to get involved, by all means please let us know.
 
We are trying to keep this plan simple, effective, and user friendly; all suggestions are welcome.
 
Sincerely,
Peter Hunt,