Emergency Preparedness Pays Off


By Steve Whitaker

Those of us who have lived in the Pacific Northwest for any extended period of time know that we can experience some intense wind and rain storms in the fall and winter. This past Veterans Day was no exception. Accompanying the intense wind was an unwanted power outage, and the Wesley Homes Lea Hill campus was one of the storm’s targets.

“Everything went dim at 9:15 that evening,” said Will Gering, Wesley Homes resident and Head of Logistics for Disaster Preparedness.

“But because of all the quality regular training and meetings, the residents and staff knew their roles.”

Will and many of his fellow residents are CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members for the campus. They were recognized by King County Executive Dow Constantine with the Executive’s Award for Community Preparedness in appreciation for their outstanding efforts to prepare for and respond to emergencies and to promote safer communities. The 44 designated Floor Captains had walkie-talkies on within an hour and were making their rounds, starting fireplaces and making sure all the residents were safe.

Bill Freitag, Head of the Medic Team, had his eight crew members equipped with medic bags so they could check on the residents. Village Home resident and Head of Safety and Security, Ray Petit, also played a key role with residents. And of course, staff played a major role in the wellbeing of the residents.

“Staff members like Russ Mairs, Maintenance/Security; Diane Krogsveen, Wellness Nurse and the culinary team made a positive impact!” said Karen Satterberg, Community Relations Director.

“These individuals are an example of how well the campus came together to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort.”

Will and Karen recalled that when Wesley Homes President/CEO Kevin Anderson and VP of Marketing & Development Christine Tremain arrived the next morning to check on the campus, they were impressed with how well the teams handled the crisis. While Christine was on site, she and Karen took multiple trips to the local Fred Meyer to bring back cups of coffee for the bustling staff and volunteers.

As an example of ongoing preparedness training, CERT community leader Millard Battles, Emergency Commander Scott Hulet and Deputy Commander Denis Taft, make a weekly check of the campus’ emergency walkie-talkie system.

“When you’re in all those meetings, you wonder if it’s really worth the time,” said Karen.

“Yes, it turns out all those emergency preparedness, safety and staff meetings really paid off. There was great team work amongst staff and residents and great support from the whole Wesley Homes team.”

Reminding us of the CERT team’s motto, Millard encourages everyone to be ready if a crisis arises: “Prepare…because you care.”

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