News

Public urged to think about, prepare for unthinkable

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

It could happen, and officials want everyone to be ready if it does.

Regional and local officials will host a town hall-style meeting of the Metropolitan King County Council next Monday at Emerald Downs for a public discussion of how government, emergency agencies and citizens should handle natural or man-made disasters.

The discussion will provide “the roadmap of how local jurisdictions, in coordination with county and federal agencies, will respond to crisis situations,” said Councilman Pete von Reichbauer.

Scheduled participants in the meeting include county Sheriff Sue Rahr and Federal Way Fire chief Allen Church, who is vice chairman of the Region 6 Homeland Security and King County Emergency Management Advisory Council. Representatives of the Seattle Police and the Seattle-King County Public Health Department also are on the docket.

The Nisqually earthquake and the 9-11 terrorist attacks about four years ago are “vivid reminders that when it comes to public safety and homeland security, we must remain vigilant,” said Councilman Larry Phillips.

The focus on emergency preparedness comes roughly one month after a countywide drill tested medical responses to potential disasters.

Health Department personnel from Federal Way and elsewhere participated in the April 30 exercise along with volunteers and other agencies who simulated the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

In an actual event, as many as 12,500 people could receive medical attention in 30 hours at any of the four county-operated medication center, officials said.But they warned that in the cases of disease outbreaks, terrorism, hazardous materials emergencies or other major events, local supplies of antibiotics and other medical equipment could be quickly depleted.

The metropolitan Seattle area is one of 21 urban areas in the U.S. that would receive emergency medical supplies from the national Centers for Disease Control.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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