Borrowing the name from the old folk story about sharing resources, Stone Soup Initiative is the name the Kirkland Office of Emergency Management is using for effort to establish Generated Facilities in neighborhoods around Kirkland. The first site is centered on Inglewood Presbyterian Church on 141st, and is being used as a model for the rest of the City.
This all began in mid-2014 when the City of Kirkland asked Inglewood Church if it would be willing to house its new trailer-mounted generator. This including a commitment to work with the City to plan how its building could be used in disaster response. Planning meetings began in early 2015, and now includes the following organizations:
· IPC, which provides the building and an on-call volunteer team to start up the generator.
· CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Finn Hill, about 30-strong.
· ARES, an amateur radio group that supports first responders.
· FHNA (Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance), which in turn is part of KAN (Kirkland Association of Neighborhoods).
· Kirkland Senior Council, the Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) initiative…and more to come.
What Does This All Mean?
IPC is providing a covered gathering area for CERT, a volunteer-based group with about 30 members. CERT was established by FEMA to assist the neighborhoods prior to and along with first responders. In an emergency, IPC will also provide:
· community gathering space, and a ‘point of distribution’ for emergency response.
· its library for ARES to set up their radios to assist the first responders and the CERT team.
· a room along the east side of the building for cell phone and equipment charging. Initially, six tables would allow up to 36 people to charge their cell phones at any given time. This same room is also equipped with a large screen TV, two doors (to provide orderly flow for those coming in to charge their personal devices and for those leaving) and two restrooms (allowing CERT and first responders to use of IPC’s bigger restrooms up front as space to treat those severely injured in a private and secure location prior to transport).
· other space as needed, including kitchen, sanctuary, etc.
This all leads to the following:
A meeting of KAN (Kirkland Association of Neighborhoods) on February 28th featured the Stone Soup Initiative and IPC. And planning has begun for a June 20th functional exercise with King County EOC and 81st Brigade (WA National Guard). The City deserves credit for staffing and funding emergency preparedness, as do the host of other volunteers in CERT, ARES, and other organizations, and Inglewood Church for being tangibly generous with and for our neighborhood.