Fireworks Information For Whatcom County

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As we approach the 4th of July and fireworks displays, it is important to remember fire ordinances and regulations for your area of residence.  Below is a collection of fireworks related information for our area: Whatcom County Fire Marshall’s Office … Continue reading

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Cascadia Rising – Large Scale Earthquake and Tsunami Exercise Recap – June 2016

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For a brief recap of the events of the Cascadia Rising Exercise on June 7 and 8, City of Bellingham Emergency Manager Paul Gazdik talks lessons learned with a video put together by BTV.

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Mt. Baker – Our Active Volcano In Whatcom County

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Last month, we were reminded about the active volcano in our backyard by the May 25 debris flow that occurred on the Mt. Baker Boulder Glacier. Though fascinating scientifically, the debris flow doesn’t pose a threat to any of our … Continue reading

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Point Roberts Fire District #5 Receives Simulated Medical Supplies From Washington National Guard

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As part of the four-day Cascadia Rising earthquake drill, Whatcom County Fire District #5 located at Point Roberts, received simulated medical supplies that were flown to the remote and isolated peninsula by a Washington National Guard helicopter on Thursday afternoon, … Continue reading

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Cascadia Rising Exercise Tests Whatcom County Resilience

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Cascadia Rising was the largest, most complex disaster simulation ever undertaken in Whatcom County. For more than 32 hours, 600 people from 92 organizations dealt with the effects of a simulated 9.0 earthquake and its resulting tsunami. Groups like Community … Continue reading

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Are You Prepared for An Earthquake?

Are you prepared for a major earthquake? A resulting tsunami? Days of aftershocks, some as large as the original earthquake? Living along an active faultline requires each of us to be prepared to take care of ourselves and our families … Continue reading

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Cascadia Rising Earthquake Drill Begins

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The Cascadia Rising earthquake/tsunami drill began shortly after 8 a.m. with a simulated 9.0 earthquake striking western Washington. Exercise participants have arrived at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center, which has been activated to begin working the simulated emergency.

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Volunteer Mobilization Center Prepares for Real Disaster

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If you visited the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC) during the Cascadia Rising exercise on June 8 and 9, you saw over forty organizations training in the event “The Big One” hits Whatcom County. On the other side of … Continue reading

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Story Opportunities: Cascadia Rising Earthquake/Tsunami Exercise

June 2, 2016

Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center

Email: pio@whatcomready.org

Phone: 360-676-6681

For Immediate Release

Story Opportunities: Cascadia Rising Earthquake/Tsunami Exercise

On June 7 and 8, more than 40 organizations in Whatcom County will take part in the largest earthquake drill ever held in western Washington. The Cascadia Rising exercise will test the abilities of fire, police, emergency management, and support volunteers to respond to a 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone as well as its resulting tsunami.

Successful life-saving and life-sustaining operations in the aftermath of such a large-scale disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, and tribal nations, as well as non-government organizations and the private sector. In addition to Whatcom County government, the Port of Bellingham and the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack and Sumas are all participating in Cascadia Rising.

As the simulated damage will be widespread and not limited to city boundaries, many of the unincorporated areas of the County are also participating, including Sudden Valley, Birch Bay, the Foothills, Maple Falls, Lummi Island, and Point Roberts.

Activities in all these locations may include first responders, amateur radio operators, and civilian volunteers. Below are just some of the unique story opportunities available before, during and after the 34-hour exercise.

Bellingham

June 7: Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers, in partnership with Bellingham Fire, Police, and Public Works, will simulate assessing damage to critical infrastructure surrounding Fire Station 1 and report their findings to Area Commanders. Contact: Paul Gazdik, prgazdik@cob.org, 360.815.1031, whatcomready.org/cert

June 7 & 8: Numerous Bellingham City staff will be participating in support efforts at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC). Contact: Paul Gazdik, prgazdik@cob.org, 360.815.1031, www.cob.org/services/safety/emergencies

Blaine

June 7: Amateur radio operators with the Blaine Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) will activate and staff the Emergency Operations Center radio room at the Blaine Police Station from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Volunteers will gather situation reports from amateur radio operators in the Blaine area, including Point Roberts, and forward all relevant information to the WUECC Communications Room. The Blaine ACS will also deploy their Mobile Communications Post (MCP) to one or more locations in and around the city. The MCP is a converted ambulance containing a fully functional, self-contained mobile radio room. Contact: Chris Doutre, info@blaineacs.org, 360.296.8193, blaineacs.org

Ferndale

June 7: City Staff will activate the Emergency Operations Center in the Ferndale Police Department as soon as the exercise begins that morning. Amateur radio volunteers with the Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service will staff the EOC communications room from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., coordinating exercise communications between Ferndale participants and the WUECC amateur radio team. Contact: Riley Sweeney, rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org, 360.685.2353, cityofferndale.org

Sudden Valley:

June 7 & 8: Sudden Valley Emergency Preparedness Committee, South Whatcom Fire Authority, and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District will establish a Unified Command at the South Whatcom Fire Authority Station #22 on June 7 and June 8. Sudden Valley CERT  teams and Sudden Valley Auxiliary Communications Service will also staff the Communications Room using the ACS and CERT portable “Go Kits” 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., coordinating exercise communications between Sudden Valley Unified Command, CERT and the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center. Field teams in Sudden Valley will radio in damage reports to the local command post to be collated and transmitted to the WUECC while local incident management teams will direct responses.  Contact: Owen Bamford, owen.bamford@gmail.com

Western Washington University

June 7: Multiple departments, both academic and administrative, will be taking part in the exercise. Activities include: set up of triage tents on the lawn of the Communications Facility, damage surveys conducted by Facilities Management personnel, and activation of Western’s Emergency Operations Center. Contact: Sue Sullivan, Sue.Sullivan@wwu.edu, 360.650.6512, wwu.edu

Whatcom County

Co-Located Federal Agencies

June 7 & 8: Federal agencies located in Whatcom County will also be participating in the exercise, including the National Park Service, Customs and Border Protection Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection Air & Marine Unit, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Washington Air National Guard will be providing helicopter flights as well as an advanced mobile communications system. Contact: Cathy Watson, pio@whatcomready.org, 425.941.4735, whatcomready.org

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary Communications Service

June 7 & 8: Communications with and between Federal, State, Local, and private organizations will be coordinated by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary Communications Service (WCSO ACS). The WCSO ACS will serve as the communications hub for the entire exercise, staffing the WUECC communications room, and providing remote satellite communications and situation updates throughout Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham via their communications van. Contact: Brian Lawler, bhlawler@gmail.com, whatcomready.org

Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC)

June 3, 6, & 8: Pre-exercise tours of the WUECC are available by appointment on June 3 and June 6. On the afternoon of June 8, the Whatcom Cascadia Rising Incident Management Team (IMT) will brief media on the initial lessons learned during the exercise (time/location TBD). NOTE: Media will not be allowed in the IMT portion of the WUECC during simulated operations on June 7 and 8, but will be kept informed as the exercise progresses by volunteers in the Joint Information Center. Contact: Cathy Watson, pio@whatcomready.org, 425.941.4735, whatcomready.org

June 7 & 8: The Volunteer Mobilization Center (VMC) will set up in the WUECC the morning of June 7. On June 8, the VMC will simulate processing the hundreds of spontaneous volunteers who would show up to help after a large-scale disaster. They will practice screening, assessing special skills, handling background checks, reviewing safety procedures, and assigning volunteers to areas of the County as determined by the Sheriff’s Department. Contact: Jane Ringe, ringemejane@gmail.com, WhatcomVolunteer.org/Disaster

Whatcom Emergency Communications Group (WECG)

June 7 & 8: WECG amateur radio volunteers will staff the Search and Rescue radio room on Smith Road, acting as Net Control on several local amateur radio frequencies throughout most of the exercise. WECG volunteers will also provide communications support to Peace Health/St. Joseph Hospital and the American Red Cross. Contact: Jim McCabe, djmcinwa@yahoo.com, wecg.org

The Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center is a partnership between the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management, the City of Bellingham Office of Emergency Management, and several local jurisdictions, organizations, and agencies.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.whatcomready.org/

facebook.com/pages/Whatcom-Unified-Emergency-Management

Twitter @WUEmergencyMgmt

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Volunteer Mobilization Center Disaster Preparedness Meet-Up

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Volunteer Mobilization Center Disaster Preparedness Meet-Up

Contact: Heidi Kissinger, Email: kissinger123@hotmail.com

Bellingham, WA   May 12, 2016

The Volunteer Mobilization Center (VMC) will be having its last Table Top drill exercise in preparing for the Cascadia Rising event being held on the West Coast, from Northern California, Oregon, and Washington to the Canadian Border. The Table Top drill exercise will be held on May 23, 2016 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Center for Spiritual Living located at 2224 Yew Street Road, Bellingham. The VMC is a program of the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County.

The VMC will process the hundreds of Whatcom County spontaneous volunteers that show up to help in the recovery efforts after a disaster. The VMC screens, assesses and sends these spontaneous volunteers to areas in the county where they are needed.  If you want to be part of the team that screens, assesses, and processes these spontaneous volunteers, come to the May 23rd meeting.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) and the resulting tsunami is the most complex disaster scenario that emergency management and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest could face. Cascadia Rising is an exercise to address that disaster.

Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations – as well as non-government organizations and the private sector.  One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team.

The VMC is just one organization participating in Cascadia Rising. Cascadia Rising in Whatcom County is being coordinated and led by the Whatcom Unified Emergency Management, a partnership between the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office-Division of Emergency Management and the City of Bellingham’s Office of Emergency Management.

If you cannot make the May 23rd meeting at the Center for Spiritual Living, the VMC meets on the 4th Monday of every month at the same place and at the same time. For more information, visit:  www.WhatcomVolunteer.org/Disaster

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