King County Executive Dow Constantine recognized Wesley Homes Lea Hill in Auburn for its commitment to emergency preparedness and response during the second annual Executive’s Award for Community Preparedness. The award is given each September during National Preparedness Month in recognition of outstanding efforts made by volunteer organizations to prepare for and respond to emergencies and to promote safer communities, strengthening King County as a whole. “I was deeply impressed by the level of commitment shown by the residents and staff at Wesley Homes Lea Hill to strengthen the resiliency of their community. I am especially proud to honor the spirit of self-reliance shown by the hardworking volunteers and to hold them up as a model for others to follow,” said Executive Constantine. The 230-resident campus has formed a close partnership with local emergency responders, including the Valley Regional Fire Authority and City of Auburn’s Emergency Preparedness Office, which helped create and train a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at the community. Staff and volunteers have conducted earthquake/search-and-rescue drills, learned techniques on how to transport residents down stairs during an evacuation, formed a local HAM radio group and completed incident command training. They are also working on developing preparedness kits for each resident and for each “neighborhood” within the senior community. “Through the planning and training efforts spearheaded by this group of engaged citizens, everyone is now better prepared to take action when crisis strikes,” said Executive Constantine. “The dedicated volunteers in the Wesley Homes Lea Hill community are huge assets to their communities, and each richly deserves this honor,” added Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, who represents Auburn and other south King County communities that were hard hit during last January’s federally declared disaster. “They provide an excellent model of ongoing community coordination that will make the next emergency easier to deal with.” “We have 21 residents who graduated from Auburn’s Community Emergency Response Team training, including a 92-year-old,” said Wesley Homes Lea Hill Campus Administrator Scott Hulet. “Our CERT team members received outstanding training, and I am confident that when a disaster happens, our residents can count on our staff and each other to respond quickly and effectively.” “As we head into another winter storm season it is more important than ever for communities to be prepared,” said Executive Constantine. “We encourage everyone to follow the examples that we honor today, and to prepare themselves, their families and their neighborhoods for the next emergency.” The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe was also recognized for its quick action after last winter’s devastating storm. More than 150 elders and other vulnerable citizens were taken to shelters, provided hot meals and a place to sleep until heat and power were restored several days later. See more photos on Flickr. For tips and information on emergency preparedness, visit www.kingcounty.gov/prepare.