Community center works to expand a network of emergency earthquake hubs

by: Siemny Kim Updated:

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SEATTLE - There were more small tremors overnight near Bremerton, part of the swarm that has been shaking up the Kitsap Peninsula for the past week.

It's still unclear if it signals a larger quake, but it's serving as a wake-up call for people on Seattle's Beacon Hill, where folks are mobilizing to expand a network of emergency hubs.

“A hub is a place where the community would come after a disaster, where all communication is down to start to help each other,” Cindi Barker said.

Barker is a volunteer with Seattle Emergency Communications Hub. She’s training people on Beacon Hill on how to operate a hub.

About 2 dozen people gathered at the Jefferson Community Center to practice scenarios on how to respond in the event of a major disaster like the Nisqually quake of 2001.

“The city is going to focus efforts on where the critical is first and  then work its way outwards,” Barker explained.

One of the organizers of the session, Susan Sanders, lives on Beacon Hill.

According to the city's map, Beacon Hill does not have many organized meeting spots.

“It has been bothering me for quite some time,” Sanders said.

Sanders said emergency preparedness has always been on the back of her mind.

“I was in the women's march and cell phone service went down and that really was a wake-up call to me because what if we don’t have cell phone service and that could happen  at any time,” Sanders added.

Also serving as a wake-up call is a recent swarm of tremors near Bremerton running along the western edge of the Seattle fault.

“Our worst fear is an earthquake  on the Seattle fault,” Pacific Northwest Seismic Network seismologist John Vidale said.

Because the Seattle fault runs along the south end of the city, near the stadiums, and buildings, it could mean big trouble.

Though Vidale is watching the swarm, he’s not overly concerned. But community members say it's further evidence of the need to prepare.

“It’s whether people want to take a gamble whether this will happen in their lifetime or not and I'm not one to take a gamble,” Barker said.

For more information on becoming a volunteer or to find out if your neighborhood has a hub, go to www.Seattleemergencyhubs.org.