Opinion

Island Forum | Islanders should be prepared for serious emergencies

Patricia Darling, RN
Island Forum

The city of Mercer Island is quite serious about being prepared for emergencies. You and I should be too. Gone is the neighborhood “block” system, with a designated “block captain.” Instead, everyone is responsible for their own safety and provisions, as well as checking to see that neighbors are safe. Whether the event produces a power outage, loss of communication or compromised roadways, Mercer Island Preparedness Officer Jennifer Franklin and the Emergency Management Team are addressing residents’ needs. In the event of a disaster on the Island, the Primary Shelter will be at the Community Center at Mercer View, where first aid and limited medical care will be provided. Schools will be open to children only during regular school hours, the faith-based community will assist with “warming/cooling” in places of meeting and worship, and MIRO (Mercer Island Ham Radio Operators) will be situated at strategic points around the Island.

BE PREPARED: with the basics: water, medicines (labeled in small bags), blankets, a flashlight (with extra batteries), cans of food (with can opener) and pet food. Keep these items in a bag in the house and a duplicate in the car for 7-10 days of survival. At home, make sure that your house number is clearly visible. Also get a “File of Life” from the Fire Department. This is a simple document, naming your emergency contacts and medicines that you need. When you fill out the card, do not write your Social Security number on it, but do put it in an obvious place for emergency responders to find, such as on your refrigerator. Of course, you should call 911 for an emergency; however, for non-emergent situations, call the Mercer Island hotline: 311. To learn more about the city’s preparedness, go to www.mercergov.org.

VOLUNTEER to help: with the medical committee of the Emergency Management Team. If you have medical experience, please volunteer to be on our “Call List.” All levels of expertise are welcome. If you are retired but still able to help, there are tasks for you. Your commitment is minor (a meeting or telephone contact annually), yet the worth is major. Remember: licensed health professionals are protected by emergency provider laws and emergency worker insurance. Sign up today with Officer Jennifer Franklin by e-mail: jennifer.franklin@mercergov.org, or phone: 275-7905. Even if you have volunteered in the past, we need to make sure that you are still available and update our records. If you have other skills and want to volunteer, please contact Officer Franklin.

A note of appreciation to Dr. Lee Glass, Mercer Island’s Medical Emergency Leader for many years, and contributor to this article.

Patti Darling and Lee Glass are Medical Team Leaders of the Emergency Management Action Committee of Mercer Island (EMAC).

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