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Seattle neighborhoods develop 'hubs' as earthquake preparation

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SEATTLE - Across Seattle, volunteers have created "hubs" in designated locations to act as communication centers if an earthquake or other disaster hits.

People across Western Washington could feel a 4.8 magnitude earthquake that began near Victoria. Experts say it was the strongest earthquake along the Puget Sound in a decade. This just months after a New Yorker article warned of a looming disaster that could hit the Northwest in the coming years.

"We are facing all kinds of dangerous earthquakes," Pacific Northwest Seismic Network Director John Vidale said. "The chances year to year are small, but we have to be ready."

The seismic center has been developing a software that triggers an alarm seconds before an earthquake will cause shaking in Seattle. They hope to provide the software for people's phones in the next year or two.

Meanwhile, around the city volunteers and city officials have worked together to organize 'hubs.'

"We set up a site where neighbors can help neighbors after a disaster," Volunteer Coordinator Cindi Barker said. Barker led the charge in West Seattle, where organizers turned the Whale's Tail Park in Alki into a hub.

Barker, with funding from the city, installed a large steel bin that holds the tools to put together a communications center. The 'hub' is intended to provide the information necessary to keep people alive for days after the grid goes down.

"People still need their own tools," Barker said.

That includes suitcases that act as survival kits. Those should be filled with necessities, like water, food, blankets and flashlights. Every member of the family needs one, including pets, who will need their own nourishment if a disaster knocks out electricity for a week or more.

"I think we're more prepared than most cities," Barker said.

"I hope people get the message and take a few minutes to think about their plan."

For more on how to prepare, click the links below.

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