The city opened its Emergency Operations Center Wednesday morning as part of a drill simulating an earthquake, followed by a seprate drill on Thursday.
The event was the first part of two days of events. Thursday the city participated in the Great Washington ShakeOut drill, a 60-second drill to remind everyone what to do in the event of an earthquake.
On Wednesday morning, the city staffed up the city’s Emergency Operations Center at the Police Station, pulling in city and volunteer crews that would mobilize in case of an actual emergency.
Included in the Wednesday drill were Mayor Gere and two City Council members as a policy team aimed at helping decide priorities. Mayor Gere explained to reporters, “Our priorities are protection of human life and maintaining resources.” Decisions could include whether to release non-violent prisoners in order to be able to house higher-priority prisoners.
Fire Chief Richard Curtis told reporters that volunteers included ham radio operators stationed inside the EOC, in Skyline and on top of a ridge in between as a relay station. The drill even included a simulated news conference by city Administrative Services Director Emily Schuh acting as a Public Information Officer.
Schuh met with two reporters in the hallway of the Police Station and read a news release outlining the parameters of the simulated event, a 5.7 earthquake on the Devils Mountain Fault. She said the EOC was handling reports of collapsed building.
The event was designed to practice just what would happen in the event of a disaster.
Meanwhile, the city participated in a 60-second drill on Thursday morning at 10:16am to practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in case of an earthquake. Curtis said, “Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl; you should Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!”