Mayday Mayday, Seattle Neighborhoods, amateur radio volunteers and you train for earthquake preparedness this Saturday

photo by Dennis Galvin. Peggy Sturdivant, Laura Cooper and Jeff Cohen participate in “Ballard Prepares” emergency training in January.

9 AM – 12 PM
Loyal Heights
Community Center
2101 NW 77th St

Cheryl Dyer/206-684-4052
Linda Frank/206-778-3340

Ballard Prepares, the very dedicated volunteer group of Ballardites who brought us free emergency first aid training back in January, will be staging a simulated catastrophic earthquake event this Saturday, May 11 from 9am-noon, to test our neighborhood’s emergency preparedness skills.  Linda Frank, our East Ballard rep for Ballard Prepares and emergency preparedness guru, will be participating and is encouraging strong participation from the East Ballard contingent. If you’re interested in joining Linda or learning more about this event, give her a call at 206-778-3350 or just show up and get prepared!

More Details
Neighborhood emergency preparedness groups across Seattle assisted by two amateur radio emergency communications teams will test their skills Saturday in an exercise based on a simulated catastrophic earthquake. This exercise titled Mayday, Mayday is the spring version of this semiannual event. The goal of this exercise is to practice preparedness and response actions that will contribute to community resiliency in surviving a significant disaster.

An estimated 125 people from disaster preparedness groups and volunteer response teams including the Public Health Reserve Corps and  ham radio emergency communications teams will participate in the event. The amateur radio teams are sponsored and trained by the Seattle Office of Emergency Management. Their purpose is to provide emergency communications when cell and landline phones become overloaded or damaged due to catastrophic events.

The scenario for the event is based on the impact of the 6.3 magnitude, 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand applied to the Seattle area.  That disaster took the lives of 185 people and severely damaged the central city buildings and infrastructure as well as causing massive destruction to its suburbs.

Responding to Saturday’s simulated disaster event are community volunteers forming neighborhood “Hubs”.  Participants have practiced solving neighborhood problems that could occur during a disaster, responding to needs affecting life and property, sharing community resources, and reporting simulated emergency messages to the Seattle Office of Emergency Management using ham radio.

“In a real event, information communicated by ham radio from the Hubs could be used by City response planners to help assess conditions throughout the city and develop response plans”, said Cindi Barker, a member of the design team for the exercise. Exercise designers have built in some twists and turns involving communications networks and several challenging issues at Hub sites which will develop during the three hour training event.

These exercises provide an opportunity for preparedness new-comers to work alongside their more experienced neighbors to gain experience and learn skills.  “It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors” said Carl Leon, one of the drill organizers.  “We set up neighborhood Hubs where people can come to get information and share resources or skills to help those that have been affected”.

Seattle Auxiliary Communication Services (ACS) amateur radio teams will set up portable, battery powered radio networks at neighborhood Hub sites providing communication links with the City and to other Hubs.  Messages will be transmitted on ham radio systems using both voice and digital formats.  Computers are connected to send and receive e-mail like documents.

The second participating ham Radio group is the Western Washington Medical Service Team (MST).  Its purposes are to provide emergency communications to and from area hospitals and medical facilities in the Seattle area, as well as coordination with the City EOC regarding hospital readiness during this drill.

The Public Health Reserve Corps of Seattle and King County will be participating for the first time, offering both ham operators and medical professionals at the Hubs. “Our goal is not to set up medical care, but to learn how the community connections are made and where we can fit in during a disaster. Our priority is to help stabilize people and move them into the established medical system”, said program manager Dave Nichols of Public Health.

Participating Hub locations include Ballard, Beacon Hill, Broadview, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Lake City, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Maple Leaf, Queen Anne, Shilshole, Wedgwood and West Seattle. All Hub locations welcome visitors and people who would like to learn and participate in emergency neighborhood preparedness during this drill.

For more information about preparedness – please visit:

Seattle Emergency Management:
Community Emergency Hubs:

For more information about amateur radio – please visit:
Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service:
Western Washington Medical Service Team:
ARRL the national association for Amateur Radio:

For information about the neighborhood Hubs: