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emergency

Texas National Guard soldiers conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas 27 August, 2017. (Photo by 1Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD)
Flickr Photo/The National Guard/(CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/XVUayD

Bill Radke speaks with Scott Heinze, deputy director of the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, about the latest efforts and challenges faced by a team of first responders from Washington who went to help with the recover in Houston from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Disasters like the flooding that has followed Hurricane Harvey, displacing thousands of people, always create a tremendous need for help — and a tremendous desire to provide that help.

But those who have dealt with disasters before say people need to be careful about how they contribute to disaster relief, and when. Cash donations are almost always preferred over items — such as blankets, clothing and stuffed animals — often sent into overwhelmed disaster areas by well-meaning donors.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

The Department of Energy has declared an emergency at a nuclear-contaminated site in Washington state, after soil caved in over a portion of a tunnel containing rail cars contaminated with nuclear waste.

"All personnel in the immediate area have been accounted for — they are safe — and there is no evidence of a radiological release," Destry Henderson, spokesperson for the Hanford site's emergency operations center, said in a brief statement on Facebook.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued an emergency alert Tuesday morning at the Hanford site north of Richland, Washington, after a tunnel at a radioactive cleanup site caved in. Workers at a former chemical processing plant were evacuated and thousands more across Hanford were directed to take shelter indoors.

State and federal officials said all workers were accounted for, there were no injuries and no indication of “release” of radioactivity into the environment. By early afternoon, the employees taking shelter were given permission to go home except those needed for emergency response.

Kji Kelly of Historic Seattle, at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. The city of Seattle says the building is unreinforced masonry and is expected to be dangerous in a quake. These brick walls could collapse, hurting people inside and outside.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

After a big earthquake it could take 10 days for help to arrive, so neighborhoods will be on their own.

The City of Seattle says communication hubs would allow neighbors to meet up. Many neighborhoods already have a natural meeting place, but a major earthquake brings complications.

Flickr Photo/Four12

The State Utilities and Transportation Commission has opened an investigation into last Thursday’s 911 emergency line outage.

How To Survive An Earthquake

Aug 20, 2013
Flickr Photo/Dave Schumaker

An estimated 1,000 earthquakes occur in Washington state each year. Fortunately, most are of them are small, and only about 15 to 20 are felt by residents. If you're not sure what to do when an earthquake strikes, the Regional Public Information Network has some valuable guidelines:

AP Photo/Francisco Rodriguez

Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, a thermophysiologist from the University of Manitoba, has studied over 100 car submersions. He says  you have 30-60 seconds to get out of a sinking car, and you don't want to wait until the car is completely underwater.

If Calling 911 Is So Easy, Why Are People Doing It Wrong?

Apr 17, 2013
Flickr Photo/nadbasher

A new public service announcement by the state’s Emergency Management Division urges you to always “know your location” just in case you have to call 911. Emergency dispatchers say they often get calls from people who can’t describe where they are or even how to get there. With 70 percent of 911 calls coming from cell phones, it’s much harder for operators to pinpoint a specific location.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Chances are, you've heard the public service announcements that say "It's up to you to be ready. Get a kit. Make a plan..."

For years, emergency managers have urged people to stockpile enough food, water and supplies to last 72 hours after a disaster. In the Northwest, basic assumptions like that are now under scrutiny, especially when it comes to the risk from a big earthquake. Two committees in Oregon and Washington have been working for more than a year to come up with wide-ranging recommendations to improve the region's disaster resilience.

PORTLAND - If you watched some of last month's coverage of Superstorm Sandy, you probably saw rescues of people who refused to evacuate. Many stayed behind despite the danger to be with their pets.

Emergency shelters for people usually don't let you bring your house pets or livestock along. The same issue cropped up here during wildfire season last summer. And it could loom over the next flood or earthquake.

Oregon Humane Society trainer Jo Becker starts a recent workshop in Portland with a slide montage of Hurricane Sandy scenes.

As millions of people in the northeast remain living without power, we are reminded of the importance of disaster preparedness. Ross Reynolds talks with emergency preparedness training specialist, Debbie Goetz, about what to have in your disaster preparedness kit