Gideon Neighborhood Shows Island How Emergency Prep Is Done

Gideon neighbors

During the recent Cascadia Rising emergency prep simulation, the Gideon Map Your Neighborhood group made the simulation real. Cascadia Rising is an annual Pacific Northwest exercise to help agencies practice their response to a 9.0 subduction zone earthquake followed by a 100-foot tsunami. This year’s exercise happened June 13–16.

Gideon Neighborhood prepared in advance for the exercise and then, on one of the four days, practiced their established emergency procedures.

Their preparation this year consisted in part of filling refillable water bottles. One neighbor, Carol Appenzeller, took orders from her neighbors for water bottle filling every time she drove to Home Depot. That way many of the neighbors amassed multi-week emergency water supplies. The neighbors also printed out copies of their neighborhood group documents, put them in easy-to-spot yellow binders, and distributed them to everyone in the group. The docs include information like propane valve shutoff locations and numbers and types of pets who might need help in the event of a disaster.

On the day of the simulation, people checked their own residences for indoor hazards, checked their fire extinguishers, reviewed how to seal off water heaters and propane valves, and texted out-of-state contacts with a status update. Everyone then assembled at the pre-established neighborhood meeting point. In an actual emergency, the neighbors would then check on those who didn’t show up at the meeting point and commence with any necessary rescues, first aid, or transportation of the seriously injured to the nearest disaster hub.

The Gideon neighbors celebrated their accomplishments with a potluck several weeks later. One neighbor said that the MYN experience over the years has not only increased their preparedness, but “forged us into a real neighborhood.”

Find out if yours is one of the 35 percent of Bainbridge Island neighborhoods that have gone through the Map Your Neighborhood training by consulting the map here. If your neighborhood remains unmapped, contact Bainbridge Island Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Anne LeSage at alesage@bainbridgewa.gov. She will help you get the process started.

Featured photo shows Gideon neighbors with part of their water supply and emergency binders.