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Most King County offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23-24, 2017, for the Thanksgiving holiday.  
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Are you ready for an emergency situation? Most of us are not as ready as we’d like to be. Where do we begin? Where do we go from there? What questions do we ask ourselves and others? Some of the most frequently asked questions are answered here.

Emergency Information for Employees: FAQs

The first paragraph of the County’s Emergency Information for Employees web site provides a great list of sources:

The HR Bulletin is available online, and the following is an overview:

  • Administrative offices and King County operations will remain open during emergency situations and inclement weather that do not pose an immediate life, health, or safety risk to its occupants unless directed otherwise by the King County Executive or the respective department director.
  • Because of potential staffing shortages, employees may be deployed to provide support for varied county operations in alternative worksites and should expect to come to work. 
  • Departments should make every reasonable effort to allow employees who have reported to work to check on the status of their families, providing that doing so does not compromise emergency response functions.
  • In the case of closure of specific offices, employees will be sent home as a last resort because it is preferred that the employees be deployed to other agencies which remain open.  Should employees be sent home, payment of wages to employees will be made in accordance with the established emergency processes as detailed in the HR Bulletin.

Information will be provided on the Superior Court website, or by calling the following hotlines for recorded updates on the status of work locations.

  • Seattle courthouse/NJB employees: 206-205-6767
  • MRJC courthouse employees: 206-205-6746
  • Youth Services Center employees: 206-205-6747
Call the employee Information emergency telephone line at 206-296-6820 for recorded information, or check the District Court website for updates on operational status.

All operations that are staffed on a 24-hour basis, or staffed by commissioned detectives or deputies, are considered essential, and employees scheduled to report to work in these operations are required to report to work despite emergency conditions or closure of other county operations. Refer to the King County Sheriff’s Office Inclement Weather Policy.

In a significant event, we will use all available communication channels to reach you with important information for keeping you, your families, and your customers safe and informed. To ensure you don't miss critical, time-sensitive messages, we are asking all employees to verify and/or enter their contact information in PeopleSoft. To do this, log in to PeopleSoft and go to: 

  • My Personal Information > Phone Numbers (to verify or update work, home, and/or cell phone numbers)
  • My Personal Information > Email Addresses (to verify or update work or personal email addresses)
Each department has an HR Service Delivery Manager who will help you find this type of information.
Please talk to your supervisor to ensure you understand your role during an emergency.
Discuss telecommuting with your supervisor if this is an option for your job, and submit a Telecommuting Agreement if appropriate.

Use these resources for commute information”

Have a plan, a list of emergency contacts, copies of important documents and records, a kit of food and supplies, necessary medications, and a kit for pets and vehicles.

A few great places to begin are the Make it Through site, this federal site, and the Red Cross site. For example, makeitthrough.org provides guidance on the following:

  • Emergency Preparedness Checklists
  • Earthquake Preparedness 
  • Emergency Contact Cards
  • Office and Personal Kit Supplies
  • Basic Kit Supplies
  • Car Kit Supplies
  • Pet Kit Supplies
  • Important Documents and Records
According to makeitthrough.org, preparing for three days will help you make it through many of the disasters you’ll face in the Puget Sound region – including major storms and even small earthquakes. However, to make it through a major catastrophe, you’ll need to be prepared at least seven to ten days.

There are a number of online sites that provide good advice for kit contents. For example, MakeItThrough.org provides the following recommendations for a basic kit:

  • water for 7-10 days (1 gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation)
  • food for 7-10 days (non-perishable food per person)
  • cash (ATMs won’t work without electricity)
  • battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • whistle (to signal for help)
  • filter masks or cotton t-shirts to help filter air
  • moist towelettes for sanitation
  • a wrench or pliers to turn utilities off if necessary
  • a manual can opener
  • shelter items like tents, tarps and rope
  • unique family needs

You may also need specialty items. For example, if you have medical equipment or a sump pump that requires electricity, you will need a generator and fuel.

Each district in the County provides particular information for their district. As an example, the Seattle Public School district site has detailed information and provides a list of cooperative radio stations and television channels. When schools are closed and King County operations remain open, employees are expected to report to work as usual, or follow applicable personnel policies.
King County Metro provides a great planning sheet on their web site. You can make a commute plan and get signed up for alerts from the County’s various transportation services.

For this and other employee information, connect with us, or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.