Public interest in disaster preparedness has dramatically increased since the Dec. 14 windstorm that left thousands without power for days. Responding to numerous calls for help, the City of Bellevue will present its Strengthening Preparedness Among Neighbors (SPAN) program at City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
“Calls to my desk have doubled since the storm," noted Vernon Owens, interim manager of the Fire Department's Emergency Preparedness division. “In a normal month I could expect only 10 or 15 calls. Now, preparedness seems to be the only thing that people want to talk about.”
Recognizing that an organized neighborhood response to an emergency can save lives and reduce the severity of injuries and loss, the city has presented SPAN at various neighborhoods in the past. On Wednesday, residents from around Bellevue can take advantage of the program. The class will be 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE.
Following a moderate to major emergency, whether it is a windstorm or an earthquake, emergency services and government agencies are typically overwhelmed. Through SPAN, neighbors learn how to get personally prepared for these emergencies. The program also teaches how to organize into safe and effective response teams to meet a neighborhood’s immediate needs. Neighborhood teams can have specific responsibilities that range from damage assessment to first aid.
Participants will receive printed materials along with the lecture.
“We hope this will turn people from inactive bystanders to first-response problem solvers,” said Owens. “There is usually less chaos when people are properly prepared for the event as well as know what to do after it occurs."
Free parking is available in the visitors parking garage. Parking space is limited, so carpooling is encouraged.
Those interested in attending are encouraged to contact the Emergency Preparedness division. E-mail is preferred, but you can call 425-452-6807 if need be.
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