Do you know what you and your family would do if an emergency happened in your neighborhood? The Rainier Beach Emergency Communications Hub is an annual community training where neighbors learn & practice what they should do in response to a major natural disaster. 

This year, there were two different drills over consecutive weekends, one in the north end, and one in the southend at Jefferson Park. There, members from the various neighborhood hubs– in our case, the Rainier Beach Emergency Hub– gathered to rehearse the activities that would happen to exchange information on needs and resources that arise in the event a major earthquake knocks out all power, water, and communication systems. The significance of this independence is huge, seeing as the city has said there may not be any response from city services for up to two weeks after an emergency.

This year, at the invitation of Ron Angeles, the head of the Rainier Beach Emergency Hub, RBAC youth particularly focused on the role of shortwave HAM radios and walkie-talkies as the possible only communication lines between neighborhoods and with the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) downtown.

“We talked with the short-wave operator, who wants to train local youth in short wave radio operations, and the coordinator of the city’s Auxiliary Communications Services (Seattle ACS), that recruits, trains and supports amateur radio operators,” said participating RBAC staff member, Ken Gillgren. “We were particularly impressed to see an entire set up of radios on the opposite side of the venue operating off a simple, affordable solar panel array, without any other energy source.”