In light of this week’s disaster in Oklahoma we are reminded to review our own disaster plans, including communication with kids in the event of an emergency. The Seattle Mama Doc column on the Children’s Hospital page has guidelines for a communication plan. It is advised that you review with your children what they should do in case of emergency.
Children should have access to parent/caregiver phone numbers and an out-of-state contact for leaving messages. It sometimes happens that phones are down in a local area but you will be able to call out-of-state to leave info with a designated person; then other family members can give and receive messages at that contact number, as well. In the event of the failure of all phone systems, Wedgwood’s Hub at Hunter Tree Farm will open and handwritten messages can be left there.
The Seattle Mama Doc article has more ideas and suggestions for preparing for emergencies, and a link to donate to the Red Cross for Oklahoma relief work.
The Message Board at the Hub, emergency communications center in Wedgwood.
On Saturday, May 11 the Emergency Communications Hub in Wedgwood had a practice session. This communications area would be activated in case of the failure of all phones during a disaster such as an earthquake. The Hub at the Hunter Tree Farm has a shelter for amateur radio operators to gather and send messages to the central city emergency office so that, in case of a real emergency, info can be sent and received.
The Hub at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE, will not have emergency supplies in case of a natural disaster, but will serve as a communications area for neighbors to give and receive help. There is a message board set up for leaving notes to offer services (such as, “I have a chain saw for removing trees in the road.”) or for asking for help (“We are out of diapers.”) Messages can be left as to your whereabouts in case of emergency, or requesting info on missing neighbors and family members. The Hub at Hunter Tree Farm is not a city-services or supply depot, but in case of an emergency, volunteers at The Hub will help community members offer and exchange aid.
Volunteer greeters Joann and Bill at a practice Emergency Preparedness Drill, the Hub at Hunter Tree Farm.
Families should make a plan and have a kit in case of emergencies, using the guidelines of Seattle’s Emergency Preparedness office. Every household needs a Family Disaster Plan of how to get in touch with one another, and where to go in case of the need to evacuate. Build a supply kit in a rolling bin or suitcase in an accessible place, such as a garage or shed in the backyard. The kit can contain water, food, first aid, tools, medications and printed prescription info, and lists of telephone contacts.
Make a plan, be prepared with your family and neighbors in case of emergency.
The Spring and Summer months are ideal times to network with neighbors for block-level preparedness. Have a barbecue and exchange contact info with neighbors so that they know how to get ahold of you, and make a list of who has skills and supplies on the block. In case of an extended power outage, plans can be set in place for a neighborhood cook site at an outdoor grill, for example. The Map Your Neighborhood program has idea lists, how-to suggestions on organizing your block and preparedness information.
Thursday, February 28, is the twelfth anniversary of the biggest earthquake, 6.8 magnitude, to hit Seattle in recent years. The earthquake was given the name Nisqually for its epicenter located about eleven miles from Olympia. In Seattle people were injured, but there were no deaths. There was considerable property damage and we are still living into the solutions to this as the earthquake damaged the Alaskan Way Viaduct, scheduled to be replaced.
Since 2001 there has been increased emphasis on Emergency Preparedness in Seattle and Wedgwood has done its part. Wedgwood is home to the Hub, to be activated only in case of failure of other communications systems. Wedgwoodians have been encouraged to get themselves prepared with kits to use in case of emergency, and network with neighbors to help one another. Making a home kit is easy, and families should also periodically review contact info with children so they will know what to do when at home, school or out at activities, should an earthquake occur.
At the end of 2012, we asked you a couple questions: What are your priorities for 2013 and what was your favorite Wedgwood event of 2012? The poll, which was open for over a month, gave us some great direction and reaffirmed much of the work that the trustees have been working towards throughout 2012 and earlier.
According to the poll, the top three priorities for Wedgwoodians are:
- Land use planning (design guidelines, 35th Ave NE zoning, streetscape),
- Pedestrian improvements (sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian overlay zone), and
- Public safety (police presence, block watch, emergency preparedness)
Land Use Planning
As you may know, the WCC has a land use committee that was formed out of the Wedgwood Vision Plan steering committee. While this committee hasn’t been meeting regularly in recent months, there are several things that will see this change in the very near future. First, the results of this poll confirm that the community values the land use planning activities that it has been working towards. Second, and perhaps more importantly logistically, is that we are fortunate to have a new trustee who is excited to chair the committee! If you’re interested in being part of the Wedgwood Land Use Committee, please email » us and let us know!
Based on the comments we received, there are many people in the community who are concerned about the proposed new school on the Thornton Creek Elementary School site. While we share the concerns of the project, especially the loss of the playfields, we have also tried to explain our position on the proposed school (see the bottom of this post). Should the BEX IV levy succeed and the Thornton Creek Elementary School site is chosen for the new school, we intend to work with the School District to make sure the community is part of the design process.
The single most surprising thing for me to learn before working on pedestrian improvements was just how expensive they are. It is very expensive for the City to design and construct many of the improvements that we hear about (e.g., more sidewalks) for a variety of issues. However, there are some simpler forms of improvements that may have a great positive impact at a low cost. In 2012, we worked towards large projects which will result several blocks of new sidewalks as well as smaller projects, such as a new crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street. The poll results again reaffirms our work on these improvements and will encourage us to continue seeking pedestrian improvements, both large and small, as we move forward. If you have specific blocks, intersections, or forms of improvement that you suggest we work on, please let us know. Better yet, get involved and help us out! The more the merrier!
In 2012, we saw a rash of armed burglaries at 3 of our banks. This level of crime is unusual for our neighborhood and it reminds us that we need to keep our ears and eyes open for any suspicious activity. We also began the process of revamping our Wedgwood Block Watch and transition from our old email system to a new Wedgwood Block Watch Google Group. 2012 also saw us partnering with Sustainable NE Seattle to secure a grant for emergency preparedness. The purpose of the grant was to help our NE Seattle residents prepare for emergencies, learn to respond as a community in such an event, and establish our Wedgwood Emergency HUB located at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place. There is an upcoming emergency preparedness training on Wednesday, January 30th at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, from 7-9 PM.
We know there are other priorities for Wedgwoodians as well as land use planning, pedestrian improvements, and public safety. We’re continuing to work on increasing public open space, including the park acquisition process (which is going slower than we hoped) and funding a trail system through the Inverness Ravine Park.
What do you think of these rankings? Share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
The WCC is an all volunteer council that advocates on behalf of the Wedgwood neighborhood. We aren’t nearly as successful without your involvement and your donations (or membership dues!). We would love to talk with anyone in Wedgwood who would like to become involved and serve as a WCC trustee? Please email » Per Johnson or email » to discuss further.
The Wedgwood Block Watch has been a volunteer-run group of neighbors helping neighbors to coordinate and share important information on how to stay safe and vigilant of crime, suspicious activity, and in the event of an emergency. In 2011, the WCC updated our website to better serve the neighborhood. Last year, we transitioned from a paper-only Wedgwood Echo newsletter for WCC members to an list of periodic online listserves/newsletters that anyone can sign up for. At the beginning of 2012, you told us that public safety was your #1 priority. So, we’ve finally made updates to the Wedgwood Block Watch page and migrated our old email list to a Wedgwood Block Watch Google Group. Every Wedgwoodian far and wide is welcome to join the Wedgwood Block Watch Google Group if they’d like to receive periodic emails on how to keep our neighborhood safe.
Note: A HUGE “Thank You!” is in order for Ellen Blackstone, our fearless volunteer leader who has been extraordinary throughout the years as Block Watch Coordinator. She’s been vital in updating the website and creating the Google Group. Many, many, many thanks Ellen!
The National Weather Service forecast for the week of December 23 to 29 is for rain, rain, rain — and maybe some snow. It is possible that Wedgwood will wake up to a white world on Tuesday, Christmas morning — but it may not last! The rain will be back. In the meantime, consider your travel plans and be prepared in case of cold temperatures. Preparations can include having sand to spread on sidewalks, checking pipes for protection from cold temperatures, and having extra supplies of food and water available if needed.
At the holiday season many people receive more mail than usual, including packages sent either by postal or private delivery services. Reports are coming in from around Wedgwood of mail theft: thieves are looking for checks in envelopes and they are stealing packages which have been delivered and left on porches. Mail theft should be reported to the US Postal Inspection Service Office at 442-6300.
If you have ordered an item and can track the delivery, arrange for it to go to your workplace or ask a neighbor to pick up the package so that it won’t sit out on your porch. Use timers on lights to give your house the appearance that someone is home. The holidays can be an excellent time to get to know neighbors and network with one another for watching houses and for planning for emergencies. Have a holiday open house and serve cocoa while you talk with neighbors. Exchange work phone numbers and have back-up plans in case of severe weather conditions. This might also be a good time to talk with neighbors about going in together for a locked mailbox, grouped together in one place.
The National Weather Service is warning about the possibility of high winds beginning on Monday. There is a possibility of snow in Seattle by Tuesday, especially at higher elevations. Have your emergency preparedness plan at the ready, especially if you have children in school or if you must travel around on any of Seattle’s higher hills. Plan alternate travel routes in case of road closures. Take a look at the “Get Prepared, Stay Prepared” info on the right-hand column of this page (just below the calendar) for links to Seattle’s weather forecast and emergency info. Wedgwood’s Emergency Hub (at Hunter Tree Farm) will only be activated in case of a major event such as failure of all other communication systems, earthquake, etc. The phone number to call Seattle City Light about a power outage is 684-7400. There is a different number to report nonworking streetlights, 684-7056.