To ensure the government's readiness for a disaster, the City of Bellevue is participating today in a regional Sound Shake '08 catastrophic earthquake exercise.
Staff was called upon to respond as if a major earthquake struck shortly before 8 a.m., destroying both bridges across Lake Washington and making parts of interstates 90 and 405 impassable. Sound Shake ‘08 involved governments and businesses in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, including the City of Seattle, Puget Sound Energy and Overlake Hospital.
The exercise was designed to test the communication and response capabilities of both government and private organizations when regular travel and connections, from telephones to the Internet, are unavailable. Throughout the day, scripted events forced participants to come up responses based on existing disaster plans and backup facilities.
While government strives to make sure it is ready for a disaster, residents should also take steps to be prepared, including stocking supplies, developing response plans for their families and practicing drills.
The Fire Department offers preparedness training, as well as detailed instructions on how to prepare and respond to an emergency on the preparedness section of the site. That includes a video packed with details that make preparing for an emergency easy, available in seven languages, with Education Materials.
Residents can sign up for e-mail emergency alerts, which can also come in the form of text messages to cell phones, on the city's emergency information page.
When a real earthquake hits, residents should:
- "Drop, cover and hold," getting under sturdy tables or desks, covering the back of their heads and holding onto the table somehow, in case it moves.
- Stay at home, and be cautious with makeshift heating and lighting devices, including candles.
- Generators and barbecue grills should stay outside because they produce deadly carbon monoxide.
- Boil water for three to five minutes to purify it.
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