Sammamish disaster planning “not enough,” says City Manager

June 23, 2016: Sammamish participation in the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill this month was labeled a success, but City Manager Lyman Howard acknowledged the level and scope of participation wasn’t enough.

Lyman made his remarks in an interview last week with Sammamish Comment.

Sammamish wasn’t going to participate at all until The Comment began making inquiries last fall about failure to sign up for the multi-state, multi-jurisdictional, international drill. The drill, assuming an earthquake from then Cascadia fault line off the West Coast, encompassed British Columbia to Northern California.

The drill’s parameters assumed Sammamish telephone and cell phone communications were disrupted and damage on major arterials leading in and out of the City occurred.

Howard told The Comment that Sammamish focused on its inter-agency and emergency communications with local citizen groups, such as the Info Hubs operated by the Sammamish Citizen Corp and CERTs; and Sammamish Plateau Water. City Hall was evacuated. But links to the County and State weren’t tested, nor were there actual drills in the City.

“It’s not enough [what the City did], I’ll be honest,” Howard said. “We’re talking with CERT about annual drills.”

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Blustery weather adds realism to Info Hub exercise

Saturday was a blustery, rainy and generally miserable day.

It wasn’t conducive to getting a lot of citizens to outdoor events but it many ways it was perfect for the Sammamish Citizens Corp. to hold its Info Hub exercise. There were reports of power outages. Trees limbs and debris came down throughout the City. On 212th Ave. SE between SE 29th and SE 33rd streets, a limb came down on power lines, severing one and landing on two or three, causing shorts and a small fire at the out-of-reach power lines where the limb crossed the lines. The Eastside Fire & Rescue and the Sammamish Police blocked off the southbound lane of 212th through the area.

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Disaster exercise Saturday, Oct. 31: Info Hubs

InfoHub Locations

Info Hub locations in Sammamish. Click on image to enlarge.

There will be a disaster drill exercise Saturday, Oct. 31, in Sammamish for residents of the City call Info Hub. Hours are from 9am to 1pm. Since it is Halloween, children showing up with parents will receive a prize.

This is a “drop-in” event, not something for which residents have to plan a four hour commitment.

The Sammamish Citizens Corp. (SCC), a volunteer group that is affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security, is the organizer. The City of Sammamish will also participate.

“In the event of Catastrophic Disaster, the Citizens of Sammamish need to be able to be on their own for 3-10 days,” says the SCC.  “Part of recovery is to reunite family members and to share resources within the community.  By creating a meeting place accessible to a larger population and sharing that information, neighbors will have a place to go to give and get information and resources.  Each Info Hub will need communicators.   By using the Elementary School boundaries, we can divide the plateau into 11 zones and locate the Info Hubs at a public/private Park within that zone.  There can be multiple Info Hubs within the boundary of an elementary school.”

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City sponsors, skips Sammamish Disaster Preparedness Fair in City Hall

  • October 15’s Great Washington ShakeOut drill reveals City’s Emergency Operations Center radio system was boxed up and inoperable since the remodeling more than a year ago.
  • City claimed regular drills with activated EOC.
  • State law requires annual emergency plan drills.
  • City skipped signing up last year to participate in four-day Cascadia Rising drill next year, joining after Sammamish Comment revealed the inaction.
  • Ten days later inoperative radio system discovered in EOC.
  • 12 days later City skips its own Preparedness Fair.
  • State law requires plan update every two years; last plan dated 2012, being updated now.

The City of Sammamish was a sponsor of the Sammamish Disaster Preparedness Fair held Saturday in City Hall, but it skipped the event. There was no City table or personnel to provide information to citizens of what to do or how to prepare for a major disaster, or to explain just what the City’s role would be in such an event.

Eastside Fire and Rescue and Sammamish Police had tables. So did the Sammamish Citizens Corp, Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, the Red Cross and several private enterprises displaying (and selling) survival kits. There was even a hot dog stand selling refreshments.

But no table from City Hall.

Sammamish’s own five year old Emergency Management Plan says “City and County governments will take the lead in managing public health, safety and welfare services.”

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