Three U.S. Cities & Organizations Launch Efforts to Better Prepare for Disaster

As U.S. cities cope with floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes, some local governments and organizations are taking action. The City of Seattle, Washington; and Arlington Heights, Illinois-based hospital; and the City of Oak Ridge, Utah, are striving to be better prepared the next time disaster comes knocking.

Seattle Starts “Let’s Prepare” Program

The Seattle City Council has launched a three-month discussion on how to better protect citizens from major earthquakes. Through a recently endorsed city council program, called Let’s Prepare, officials will seek to shore up the city’s earthquake plan.

“Create detours and use boat assets and temporary bridging structures in order to help with the earliest of disaster relief and recovery efforts in our area,” said Barb Graff of Seattle Emergency Management, as quoted by www.komonews.com.

The city is also considering moving to cloud-computing so that the city, including police and fire officials, don’t have to rely on physical servers.

Arlington Heights-Based Hospital Holds Drill

Officials at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois, recently held a large-scale disaster drill. As part of their response, the hospital partnered with an Army Reserve Unit and a mobile mortuary affairs unit.

“We’ve had other disaster drills at the hospital before, but this is the first time we’re partnering with the Army Reserves,” said Mary Casey-Lockyer, the emergency preparedness and response coordinator for the hospital, as quoted by www.dailyherald.com.

The scenario played out during the drill included a catastrophic event similar to a deadly tornado. Drill components included setting up triage centers, sorting victims according to injuries and decontamination drills.

Elk Ridge Holds Disaster Drill

The City of Elk Ridge, Utah, held a recent disaster drill to assess the strength of its communications. The focus of the drill is the City’s communication network, residents’ awareness of disaster procedures, and personal emergency preparedness.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the emergency plan or how they can help or volunteer,” said Edward Whitlock, the drill coordinator, as quoted by www.heraldextra.com.

The exercise includes families gathering at their predetermined emergency meeting place, familiarization with utility shutoffs, and “block captains” gathering information for the City’s Emergency Operations Center.

For more information about the City of Seattle’s Let’s Prepare program, visit: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/123667404.html?skipthumb=Y\

For more information about the Arlington Heights-based hospital drill, visit: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110611/news/706119888/

For more information about the Elk Ridge disaster drill, visit: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/south/elk-ridge/article_11e2c2c0-c90d-55c4-8bb1-4044b62087a6.html