Saturday, Sept. 30, will be just another day for most, but it also marks an important milestone in the Snoqualmie Valley as representatives from cities, school districts, and community groups partner with first responders to test response capabilities in a simulated earthquake drill.
Don’t be surprised to see “Drill in Progress” signs, emergency vehicles, personnel and even a helicopter as the various stages of response are tested.
The drill will simulate conditions possible following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the South Whidbey fault line. The South Whidbey fault runs right through the Snoqualmie Valley from Everett to I-90 and is considered a more destructive threat for the Valley than a rupture along the Cascadia subduction zone.
Though the importance of this drill is highlighted by the recent disasters in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean; the planning and coordination has been underway for nearly a year with big commitments from the partnering groups.
The city of Duvall’s Boyd Benson, who serves as the Director of Emergency Management, explained that the staff and volunteers will be monitoring the drill and adjusting to various conditions throughout the event.
“Our staff will be working with volunteer groups and first responders, adjusting to changing conditions in the field and scenarios injected during the drill. It really provides an opportunity for all of us to prepare for That Day; the time when things have gone really wrong and our community is in need. It’s our duty to be ready for that.”
While each city and organization will be testing to their own level and need, one common theme of the drill will be the ability to communicate with one another. With the help of amateur radio groups throughout the Valley, the cities have an option through HAM radio and their skilled operators.
It is expected that some 80 people, representing more than a dozen agencies and organizations, will participate in this drill. From response and assessment, communications to sheltering and mass care.
For more information, visit www.duvallwa.gov.
For earthquake preparation resources visit, www.ready.gov/earthquakes.