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public safety

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).

City of Seattle Photo

Ross Reynolds talks to Scott Kubly, director of Seattle's Department of Transportation about his plans to improve Seattle's transportation system.

KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

Crime is up in Southeast Seattle, according to Seattle Police say.

At a crime prevention meeting Wednesday night, South Precinct Captain David Proudfoot said their highest priority  is to tackle the rise in street crime.

Emergency managers in Oregon have a new tool to educate the public about earthquake preparedness. It's a comic book. And it's co-produced by one of the nation's top comic book publishers.

A section of U.S. Highway 12 in Washington state has reopened after a large mudslide hit Wednesday. But state workers are concerned about more possible slides there.

KUOW Photo/Derek Wang

They may be beautiful to look at in the wild, but with their sharp horns, mountain goats have been a cause of concern in the Olympic National Park, especially since a goat fatally gored a 63-year-old hiker in 2010.

As part of their mountain goat action plan, the National Parks Service is considering a change of scenery for the animals. The goats may be moved to another mountain range in Washington that has seen a decline in the goat population, according to Parks spokeswoman Barb Maynes.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Obama Administration is putting an end to the common practice of "free climbing" by electrical lineworkers. Seattle City Light and other electric utilities let their lineworkers climb transmission towers without using safety harnesses.

Updates On The Carlton Complex Fire

Jul 22, 2014
Flickr Photo/The National Guard (SFC Jason Kriess) (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Paul Gibbs, media information officer on location at the Carlton Complex Fire camp, where emergency and firefighting efforts are based. In addition, Brewster resident Jessica Mae Periman talks about losing her house to the fire.

Courtesy of Terry Craven

UPDATE 7/22/2014, 9:44 a.m.

KUOW's Lisa Brooks checked back in with Bruce Craven Tuesday morning to get an update on how his town was faring after the Carlton Complex fire ripped through Thursday evening.

He said the fire he witnessed in Pateros burned up the vegetation all around his church, but the structure itself is intact, albeit with char marks on the outside and broken windows.

Residents including Craven were able to attend services there on Sunday. Craven said many congregants had lost everything in the fire.

So far, more than 150 homes in Washington state have been destroyed in what veteran firefighters are calling the worst fire season in decades. 

In north-central Washington, fire crews aided by cooler temperatures and calmer winds are going on the offensive against several sprawling wildfires. Incident commanders of the region’s biggest and most destructive wildfire briefed residents in Omak and Brewster Sunday night.

Flickr Photo/The National Guard (SFC Jason Kriess) (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with Brenda Riggan of Brewster, Washington, about coming back to her home after the Carlton Complex wildfire tore through the area and her frustration over never having received an evacuation notice in the first place. Then, Ross Reynolds talks with Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers about why people like Riggan didn't receive the same notices that other residents did.

Why Hot Cars Are So Deadly

Jul 21, 2014

It’s an annual summer tragedy. So far this year, 17 children in the U.S. have died of heat stroke inside a parked car. Some of those cases have been getting extra attention this summer, but that number is not unusual. Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Adam Ragusea looked into the science that explains how a parked car can get so hot, so fast.

It’s a sunny, summer day in Macon, Georgia. I’m standing with Matt Marone outside his truck, and the A.C. is on full blast.

As wildfires continue to blaze around the Northwest, both Oregon and Washington have issued emergency declarations for fire-ravaged portions of their state. Affected are 20 of Washington's eastern counties and central Oregon, where most of the state's 13 active fires are burning.

Flickr Photo/US Department of Agriculture (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Janet Pearce about recent wildfires in the state. Pearce does community outreach and environmental education for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources about the wildfires in Eastern Washington.

Then, Reynolds interviews Michael Fishbaugher, who was evacuated from his home last week as a wildfire swept within half a mile of his house.

Flickr Photo/Vicki (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Tacoma News Tribune reporter Melissa Santos about her investigation into escalator safety in Washington state.

Marcie Sillman talks with Jeffrey Swanson about which public policies are effective in reducing gun violence. Swanson is a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.

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