public safety

The state of Oregon has updated its master plan for what to do in case of a major earthquake and tsunami.

Congressional Democrats from up and down the West Coast are asking the House Appropriations Committee to allocate more money for a new earthquake early warning system.

The warning system uses sensors to detect the initial, less destructive waves of an earthquake.

So it doesn't give much advance notice. Somewhere between a few seconds and a minute.

The site of the deadly Oso, Washington mudslide on March 22, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Washington State DNR (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to David Montgomery, University of Washington geology professor, about his geological recommendations for the state after last year's Oso landslide and how much progress has been made since the slide.

This week’s fiery oil train derailment in West Virginia has lawmakers thinking about oil-by-rail safety through the Northwest. There has been a dramatic increase in oil trains traveling through the region to reach West coast refineries.

traffic, transporation Variable speed signs on northbound Interstate 5 into Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Wendi Dunlap (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Mark Hallenbeck about the implications of reducing speed limits in Seattle. Hallenbeck directs the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington.

Up and down the West Coast there are beach towns where it would be challenging to escape a tsunami.

Jessica Cote picks up her daughter, Anna Cote, at the Spartan Recreation Center in Shoreline after students were moved to that location for reunification Wednesday morning, Jan.7.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Updated at 4:11 p.m., 1/7/2015:

Reports of an armed male on school grounds sent Shoreline schools into lockdown on Wednesday morning, said Sergeant DB Gates of the King County Sheriff's Office.

Lockdown was lifted at 10:15 a.m., and students were sent home. Police stayed at schools until all students were safely released.

An armed male was reportedly seen at Meridian Park Elementary at Meridian Avenue North and North 175th. Police released a limited description of the man on Twitter: "Only suspect is a male, camo pants, dark hoodie. Unknown race, unknown age. Had a firearm."

A food service employee spotted the man; staff at the elementary school called 911 at 7:50 a.m. Children had been at the school as early as 6:30 a.m. for child care.

The state government and the marijuana industry in Colorado are working to educate people about how to use pot safely. But in the high Rockies, one community is taking matters into its own hands.

The local sheriff in Aspen is leading an education effort that targets skiers and snowboarders flocking to the winter resort. And the sheriff isn't waiting until visitors hit the slopes — their education starts at the airport with pamphlets on marijuana.

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend includes $5 million for earthquake early warning along the West Coast. With this funding, an alert system should begin to roll out regionally next year.

Within hours of Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast two years ago, Americans opened their wallets to help — donating millions to the first charity that came to mind: the American Red Cross.

President Obama, like most elected officials and celebrities, vouched for the organization, encouraging people to give.

Flickr Photo/U.S. Pacific Fleet (CC-BY-NC-ND)

  The U.S. Forest Service and the Navy is addressing public concerns about a controversial training exercise.

The Navy wants to place electromagnetic radiation emitters at more than a dozen sites on federal and state land in Washington. The real time training would allow pilots to practice finding those signals. 

Following word of the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as major news organizations have weighed in. While the development is a concern, the basic message seems to be this: Don't panic.

People along the Oregon Coast ran for their lives on Sunday to escape an imaginary tsunami.

Judy and Harry Gaylor live in the mountains of Evergreen, west of Denver. The 70-acre stretch of land is covered with aspen and lodgepole pines and has been in Harry's family for close to a century. But, last year, a wildfire came dangerously close to burning his family house to the ground.

Harry credits volunteer firefighters from Evergreen Fire Rescue for containing the wildfire as it raged toward their neighbor's house.

KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Marcie Sillman speaks with Ray Lane, spokesperson for Puget Sound Energy, about why the utility company is about to send one million pieces of rotten-egg-scented mail to their customers (for their own good).