public safety

Not a single school district has told the state of Oregon how it plans to test for radon gas. Every district in the state is required to do so by September 1.

Planes and parachutes might be the best bet for getting supplies to cut-off areas in the event of a subduction zone earthquake. National Guard pilots and paratroopers practiced supply drops and parachute jumps Thursday.

Bill Radke shows off the emergency kits we have for everyone at KUOW (but that's not enough to last us in a major catastrophe).
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Tom Martin, founding member of the American Preppers Network, about why he has an emergency supply of food and water. Martin also talks about why people need to be prepared for any natural disaster. 

Railroad industry experts are questioning the early explanation from Union Pacific for why its oil train crashed in Mosier, Ore.

Union Pacific said the preliminary indications from its investigation are “the failure of a fastener that connects the rail to the railroad tie,” according Justin Jacobs, a railroad spokesman.

Union Pacific confirmed Tuesday it won’t be sending trains of crude oil through Mosier, Ore., until derailed cars there are cleared, the crash has been investigated and the town has adequate notice.

On Monday, a Union Pacific spokeswoman said the lack of oil trains through Mosier was simply the result of railroad scheduling, not a railroad decision to halt shipments through the town.

"We don't run very many crude oil trains through here," she said. "Again, remember crude oil is 1 percent of the shipments that we carry."

If you're at the Gorge Amphitheatre in central Washington and there's a large wildfire -- you might want to consider missing the next set of your favorite band. Just on Sunday, a 600-acre wildfire raged about three miles from the main stage where Alabama Shakes and The Cure were playing.

Traffic accident fatalities are rising at a faster rate in Northwest states than anywhere else in the country according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drug-impaired drivers and distracted drivers appear to be factors involved in the increase.

Seattle Dept. of Transportation tweeted this map of the area affected by the power outage.
Courtesy of SDOT

Power has been restored to downtown Seattle after a large outage earlier Wednesday. 

The utility says there was an equipment failure at substation at Massachusetts Street, but are still investigating the cause of the outage. 

Seattle Fire Department tweeted this picture of the scene of a gas leak in Ballard on Wednesday, May 18.
Seattle Fire Department

A natural gas leak in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood Wednesday forced a few people to leave their homes. Seattle firefighters handled the evacuation. 

Is your brick building at serious risk in an earthquake?
Flickr Photo/Helen Cook (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/poMYZ

Kim Malcolm speaks with Seattle Times reporter Sandi Doughton about why Seattle still has over a thousand unreinforced masonry buildings (full list here), despite knowledge of their danger in an earthquake and the availability of technology to make them safer.

Doughton is co-author with Daniel Gilbert of the article, "Buildings that kill: The earthquake danger lawmakers have ignored for decades."  

File Photo of an old water fountain.
Flickr Photo/Paul Domenick (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/dqusC4

Washington lawmakers want to step up efforts to keep lead out of school drinking water. But the state won't pay for school water quality tests until at least fall of 2017.


Rebecca Benson, a public health nurse in King County, holds up a box now being given to parents for their babies to sleep in. Benson, who shared a bed with her own babies, now believes that giving babies their own space to sleep is preferable.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

When infants die in King County, the medical examiner investigates.

One hundred babies were found to have died of SUID – sudden unexpected infant death – between 2009 and 2015, according to data obtained by KUOW.


"I will not rest, and I'm going to make sure that the leaders at every level of government don't rest until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink, and safe to cook with, and safe to bathe in," President Obama told an energetic audience in Flint, Mich. "Because that's part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America."

Chipping paint is a lead poisoning danger to kids.
Flickr Photo/Nancy Waldman (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/2Unkx2

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Seattle Times health reporter JoNel Aleccia about lead risks in Washington state. Children in the state have low risks of lead poisoning, but health officials say the biggest lead risks are not in the water; they exist in lead paint in old houses and other environments like some construction sites. 

Half of the workplace deaths involved people over the age of 50 – not people who died of heart attacks, but people who fell or injured themselves on the job.
KUOW photo

Worker Memorial Day, the day Washington State honors people who lost their lives on the job, is this Thursday.

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