02-19-2017  10:51 am      •     
bricks damaged from earthquake

The move comes months after Constantine launched the Resilient King County Initiative, a two-year plan to improve community safety that is considered to be one of the first of its kind in the nation.

"We are better able to respond to disasters when we have a coordinated approach, follow the same protocols, and are able to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy," he said. "This approach clears the path for emergency responders to share resources across boundaries."

Much of the effort was launched last September, starting with a Disaster Recovery Leadership Summit held at the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

That gathering identified a handful of key “themes” – including a sense of urgency in drawing up better disaster plans, a “need for synchronization,” and the ability to “come back better.”

Attendees at that event dug into specific needs regarding community infrastructure, the healthcare sector, the economy and housing. A majority at the leadership meeting identified utilities and transportation as the most important areas where emergency planning – including built-in cooperation and interdependency – should be prioritized.

The new Regional Coordination Framework for Disasters and Planned Events “clears the legal pathway to allow cooperation among governments and tribal nations, as well as private and non-profit organizations,” Constantine said in a statement.

Elected leaders and city managers were on hand for the announcement in Bellevue, joined by federal, tribal, state and local emergency management professionals.

Originally adopted in 2002 as the Regional Disaster Plan, the current agreement has 145 signatories including cities, special purpose districts, private organizations, and non-profit agencies in KingCounty.

As with the current plan, the new framework is voluntary, meaning its use during an emergency is up to each organization.

The Regional Coordination Framework for Disasters and Planned Events focuses on five key areas:

-- Direction and Coordination

-- Information Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination

-- Public Information

-- Communications

-- Resource Management

The plan was drawn up by the King County Regional Disaster Planning Work Group, made up of emergency professionals and stakeholders drawn from throughout the region.

"The new framework is a streamlined format that promotes cooperation and effective response on the ground," said Planning Work Group chair Luke Meyers. "It's flexible and can be used by organizations of almost any size."

The framework's success relies upon widespread endorsement of cities, organizations, and businesses throughout KingCounty. Interested organizations can join at any time.

"I urge every jurisdiction and organization with a role to play during an emergency in KingCounty to adopt this new framework," Constantine said.

For more information on the Regional Coordination Framework for Disasters and Planned Events, visit www.kingcounty.gov/prepare.

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All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. 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