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City and Renton School District Working Together to Help Residents Stay Informed During an Emergency

September 21, 2011

For more information contact:
Deborah Needham,
Emergency Management Director, 425-430-7027
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-430-6569

Emergency Information Centers Make Debut

RENTON – On September 19, 2011, Renton Mayor Denis Law and Renton School District Superintendent Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel teamed up at Cascade Elementary School to officially introduce the emergency information centers. These locking display/bulletin boards were placed near the front entrance of 17 Renton public schools located within the city limits and can be used when all other traditional means of communication are disrupted.

Volunteer amateur radio operators from Renton Emergency Communication Services arrived on location in their response vehicle and provided a brief demonstration. The demonstration gave those in attendance the opportunity to see firsthand how an important message can be quickly posted and what a valuable resource these boards can be when typical communication methods aren’t available. During a disaster a network of trained volunteers can post critical information such as where emergency shelters can be found, evacuation routes and where to find food/water.

To be sure everyone has access to this important information, messages will be made available in multiple languages. The city is also working with representatives of diverse communities to increase awareness within their groups/organizations about this important resource.

“While we live and work in a high-tech world with many people looking to electronic devices and social media outlets for their information,” said Mayor Denis Law, “it is important to remember that in a disaster these methods may not be working.”

“We are proud of this partnership with the City of Renton, and it is important for our community to know they can depend on their schools for help in a crisis” said Superintendent Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel. “We appreciate the unique opportunity this project has provided us to be a part of the community’s preparedness efforts.”

During a disaster Renton residents can look to their schools to be a possible source of important and critical information. During non-emergency times the schools are using the boards to post announcements and share information with students, parents and caregivers.

“In a disaster the one thing we know that is critical to survival and recovery is the ability to communicate,” said Deborah Needham, Emergency Management Director. “This year our Ready in Renton campaign is emphasizing communication and striving to ensure that citizens are aware of the many options the city has available for them to receive important information.”

In addition to the neighborhood information centers, the city has developed additional resources such as CodeRed, e-alerts and the critical information page on the city’s website. Efforts this year were expanded to include social media (Facebook and Twitter) so the public will have another way to share urgent information they observe during a disaster.

More detailed information on how to access critical resources and ensure that everyone is prepared to receive important information can be found at rentonwa.gov or by contacting the Emergency Management Division at 425-430-7000.