Seattle's volunteer-based Emergency Communication Hubs empowers neighbor-to-neighbor connections after a disaster, and the Executive praised their emergency information system for readiness and response.
Seattle's Emergency Communication Hubs, a volunteer, city-wide organization which has grown to over 50 hubs including co-location with 16 P-Patches, was recognized by King County Executive Dow Constantine for its commitment to emergency preparedness and response.
The community-based network received the 2014 Executive's Award for Community Preparedness at Fauntleroy United Church of Christ, a longtime supporter of the Hub system.
The volunteers who build and maintain these Emergency Communication Hubs are the embodiment of a truly resilient King County,” said Executive Constantine. "Every member is trained to perform a vital function when the need arises. It just doesn’t get more grassroots than setting up a hub at a P-Patch.”
Emergency Communication Hubs were born in the aftermath of the 2006 Hanukkah Eve windstorm when thousands were left without power and several people died. A coalition of neighborhoods across the city looked for better ways to collect and disseminate life-safety information, and to act as a neighbor-to-neighbor connection after a disaster.
In a disaster, Hub members set up their locations to match needs with available resources. In preparation, Hub members conduct surveys of their neighborhoods to determine what resources (shelter, sandbags, tools, expertise) can be brought to the response effort to help residents recover quickly. Volunteers practice their skills through regular drills and training sessions.
At some locations, Hub members are trained in radio operations, linking them with volunteers, other hubs, and the Seattle Office of Emergency Management.
This is the fourth annual Executive's Award for Community Preparedness, given each fall in recognition of outstanding efforts made by communities to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The award promotes safer communities, strengthening King County as a whole. Accepting the award on behalf of the entire Hub system was Cindi Barker, the organization’s co-chair and Hub Captain (aka “Hub Cap”).
- Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs website
- Emergency Communication Hubs honored by King County (West Seattle Blog)
- King County Preparedness home page
- RPIN - Sign up for regional emergency notifications
- King County severe weather information
The volunteers who build and maintain these Emergency Communication Hubs are the embodiment of a truly resilient King County. Every member is trained to perform a vital function when the need arises. It just doesn’t get more grassroots than setting up a hub at a P-Patch.
One of the greatest things about the Hubs is that they create community across Seattle. Like-minded folks from all neighborhoods meet to drill, talk about what preparedness is, share successes, and support each other. The people involved in the Hubs prove that neighbors-helping-neighbors is such an empowering model.
As we have seen in disasters around the country and around the world, it is literally the people around you who become your first first responders. What the Hubs have done has truly raised the bar for neighborhood preparedness and self-sufficiency. We are very fortunate to have this system of dedicated people here in Seattle.