Lightning Storm Hits Bellingham and Whatcom County

A strong thunder and lightning storm passing through Bellingham and Whatcom County this evening has caused multiple power outages and fires.  First responders are actively fighting fires and dispatchers are receiving multiple calls regarding the storm.  Please only call 9-1-1 … Continue reading

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Recreational Fire Requirements within the City of Bellingham

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There have been some questions recently about burn bans in the City limits of Bellingham. Nothing has changed; recreational fires are still allowed as long as they meet the Bellingham Fire Department requirements found here: https://www.cob.org/documents/fire/safety/recreational-burning-requirements.pdf All other outdoor burning … Continue reading

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Certificate of Appreciation Presented to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office By Washington State and FEMA

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The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management was presented a Certificate of Appreciation July 31st, 2019 for the support provided to the State of Washington and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Joint Field Office Recovery Operations in … Continue reading

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ShakeAlert® System Activation For Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District

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On July 22, Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District activated a pilot-scale earthquake early warning system, known as ShakeAlert®, at one of its water reservoirs. With its activation, the District is among the first utilities in Washington State to implement … Continue reading

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“Be Prepared” – Earthquake Preparedness Resources

The small 4.6 earthquake Friday morning (July 12) in Snohomish County is a gentle reminder that we live in earthquake country – Since June 14th, we had 9 earthquakes in Sudden Valley, Friday Harbor, Sedro-Woolley, Big Lake, Warm Beach, and Langford (Canada). Those have been too small to feel, but some day in our lifetime we may have a larger earthquake, it is a geologic certainty.  We just do not know when or how big.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources have seismic scenarios in their Geologic Portal

Whatcom County is earthquake country.  And while we always hear about the “Big One – the 9.0 Cascadia Event” all the modeling shows that Whatcom County may not be as affected as other parts of our state, and in fact, in the National Guard plan for a Cascadia event, Whatcom County may well be a resupply point for communities south.

Yet, local faults such as found near Kendall or Birch Bay could generate an earthquake similar in size to the 2001 Nisqually event, only located here, making the effects much more pronounced. For example, the Boulder Creek Fault near Maple Falls and Kendall could be as large as 6.8, yet has the potential to do much more damage than a Cascadia event. The Devil’s Mountain fault just south of us in Skagit County, or the South Whidbey fault, all could cause significant damage here. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources Geological Portal (available by clicking here), shows what kind of shaking we can expect from some of our local faults.

Earthquakes can strike at any time, and everyone needs to “Be Prepared”, at home, at school, in the workplace, while shopping, in houses of worship, or just taking a walk in the park. Mother Nature does not pay any attention to the calendar, the weather or the readiness of our communities.  Being prepared is a small investment of time, money and energy that will help protect you, your family and our community.

They have occurred.  They will occur again.  We don’t know when, we don’t know where, and we don’t know how big.  However, we do know that we can do things to both mitigate and prepare for what will inevitably happen.  We can prepare our homes by Surveying, Supplying and Reaching Out. In our schools we can Research, Evaluate and Participate.  In the workplace we can Plan, Equip and Train.

Over 100 years ago, Lord Robert Baden-Powell told us to “Be Prepared”. It is now time for us to answer with:

“We Are Prepared”

General Earthquake Preparedness Information

Scholarly Articles on Earthquakes

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May is Volcano Preparedness Month!

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How can you prepare for a volcanic eruption? The active Cascade volcanoes, including our own Mount Baker, that make our state so beautiful could erupt sometime in the future. How can you prepare for a volcanic eruption? How will you react … Continue reading

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County, State Agencies Prepare for Mount Baker Eruption

How do you respond to a volcanic mudflow tens of miles long aimed right at thousands of homes in Whatcom County? That is the question local emergency responders are working to solve as they prepare for a large scale exercise that will simulate an eruption of Mount Baker in October.

Over the next six weeks, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Geological Survey, and Washington State Emergency Management Division will work to respond as if Mount Baker is building towards an eruption.

One of the largest threats from an active volcano is a lahar, a heated mudflow of melted ice and snow that can wreak havoc on communities as it moves off the mountain. While the warning time for other disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis can be measured in hours and minutes, a slowly awakening volcano can take weeks, months or years before it becomes suddenly active.

To recreate this extended period of preparation, agencies will begin receiving simulated warning messages next week from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, alerting them to activity on Mount Baker in concert with the United States Geological Survey and the Washington State Emergency Management Division. This will continue over the next six weeks culminating in a week-long full-scale at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Operations Center October 15-19th.

For more information and updates as the drill moves forward, check WhatcomReady.org or follow on facebook by clicking here.

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Living With Our Active Volcano Public Seminars

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Register Here For The Mount Baker Volcano Seminar While there has been much attention on Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano these last few weeks, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management has been working with Federal, State, Local and International agencies … Continue reading

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Joint Wide Area Search Training For Whatcom County Search & Rescue and Community Emergency Response Teams Held

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On March 9 through 11, thirty-nine volunteer responders from Whatcom County CERT and Whatcom County Search & Rescue Council completed 24 hours of training in Wide Area Search (PER-213). This training was hosted at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center … Continue reading

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“Night With The Sheriff” – Sheriff Elfo Meets With Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Volunteers

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Sheriff Bill Elfo recognized Greg Hope as volunteer of the year for his work managing the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and he met with over 80 CERT volunteers in the form of a “town hall … Continue reading

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