Emergency Management

First responders secure scene of Feb. 26 train derailment near Chambers Bay
Posted By on Feb 27th, 2011 at 10:33 AM

At approximately 8 p.m. on Feb. 26, firefighters from West Pierce Fire & Rescue responded to reports of a train derailment. Firefighters arrived to find that two trains running in opposite directions on separate tracks sideswiped each other. 

 The trains were both carrying freight. Firefighters isolated the area and called in additional resources. The resources called were: the Pierce County Hazardous Incident Team comprising Hazardous Materials Experts from throughout Pierce County, The United States Coast Guard, the Washington State Department of Ecology, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the Anderson Island Fire Boat, the Guardian One Helicopter from the King County Sheriff’s Office, Pierce County Emergency Management, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities, and the National Response Center, Environmental Services.

 Utilizing these resources it was discovered that a total of 13 cars were derailed – 12 cars from the northbound track and one from the south. Three tankers were found to be on their sides on the beach, and a fourth was on the tracks. Representatives from BNSF confirmed that one of the tankers was leaking sodium hydroxide. The spill was thought to be approximately 50 gallons. The Department of Ecology and the Coast Guard stated that this is an environmental concern as the material can harm the aquatic organisms that come in contact with it.  One of the overturned tankers was underneath several box cars and did not appear to be leaking.  

 The Coast Guard issued a safety zone near the derailment due to the volatility of sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide can create toxic gases when mixed with water and can cause burns to the respiratory tract, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract, according to the Emergency Response Guide and Marine Safety Data Sheet.

 A broadcast notice to mariners was relayed to warn local boaters to keep clear of the area for their safety and the safety of the responders. Coast Guard personnel were on scene and working with the multiple agencies to evaluate the situation and determine next course of action.

 There were no reports of injuries. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.


 Hallie McCurdy, Assistant Fire Marshal, Lakewood Fire District 2

(253) 377-3163           


 Ron Holcomb, State Department of Ecology Hazardous Materials Specialist

(360) 951-1669


 Lt. JG Tasha Gentile, U.S. Coast Guard

(321) 704-3903

 Hunter George, Pierce County Communications




Pierce County offices delayed 2 hours
Posted By on Feb 24th, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Executive Pat McCarthy is delaying the opening of Pierce County offices by two hours today, Feb. 24, due to winter driving conditions.


Sign up now for Pierce County ALERT
Posted By on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 2:39 PM

With forcasts predicting more snow on the way, what better time than now to sign yourself up to recieve important notifications from Pierce County Emergency Management via a system called Pierce County ALERT.

Pierce County ALERT – sends emergency notifications to residents and businesses and alerts can be sent to up to 10 different devices (cell phone, work phone, e-mail, test messages, faxes). The system uses mapping/GIS technology to notify you about an emergency in a specific location so by entering up to five different locations, such as your home, your work, your child’s school, or your parent’s home you will be notified if there is an emergency in the vicinity. The location-based Alert reduces the number of emergency notifications that should be brought to your attention. The Pierce County ALERT system will also allow you to sign up for non-emergency notifications such as special weather notifications and road closures.

You can sign up by going to the Pierce County home page and click on the Pierce County ALERT button on the bottom left corner. Please contact Emergency Management at 253-798-6595 if you have questions or problems registering.


Report flood damages by calling 866-798-6363
Posted By Sheri Badger on Jan 17th, 2011 at 12:01 PM

The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management is collecting damage information from homeowners and business owners affected by this weekend’s flooding. Residents and business owners in Pierce County that suffered damage should call 866-798- 6363 (toll free) beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Callers should have the following information available:

  • Name and address of affected property
  • Type of insurance (homeowners)
  • A description of damage, even if uninsured
  • A personal estimate of uninsured losses
  • Estimates of the fair market value of the damaged home or busines. It is not necessary at this point for property owners to have a contractor’s estimate.
  • The findings from this assessment will be used by the Governor to request a possible disaster declaration and federal disaster assistance from the President. This process could take up to couple of weeks or more. Federal disaster assistance, if and when it becomes available, only covers uninsured losses.

    Among the immediate steps that individuals and families impacted by the floods should take, include:

  • Call your insurance agent to check on your coverage.
  • Keep detailed records of all clean-up and repair costs, including photographs.
  • When the time comes to make repairs, be aware of local permit requirements and do a thorough check of potential contractors.
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    Pierce County EOC closing at midnight.
    Posted By on Jan 16th, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    The Pierce County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is closing at midnight. The Duty Officer will continue to monitor river conditions and will assist jurisdictions and agencies in support of flooding if needed. Contact the Pierce County Duty Officer at (253)798-7470 for assistance.