Emergency Management

Pierce County residential damage estimates reach nearly $30 million
Posted By Sheri Badger on Nov 14th, 2006 at 10:57 AM

Tacoma, WA – November 14, 2006 – The Pierce County Emergency Operations Center has been collecting damage reports from flood-impacted homeowners and business owners since last week. To date we have received 175 residential calls and 9 business calls. The estimated total loss to residential structures in Pierce County is approximately $30 million with another $7.5 million in contents. Businesses have reported an estimated loss of $892,000 to structures and nearly $3.2 million in inventory/contents. These are estimates for uninsured losses. “There is a tremendous amount of damage in Pierce County. These are staggering numbers, but they don’t truly capture the scope of this disaster. It’s something one has to see first hand,” said Steve Bailey, director of Pierce County Emergency Management. “Many of the hardest hit areas house our most vulnerable citizens and they have immediate needs for temporary shelter, food and clothing. While these needs are being met in the short term, we hope the federal government will act quickly in declaring a disaster so these people can get the long term help they desperately need.” Teams from the Washington State Emergency Management Division (WEMD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will arrive tomorrow to verify the damage assessments that were collected, see the damaged areas first-hand and talk to residents impacted by the floods. The findings from this assessment will be used by the Governor to request a disaster declaration and federal disaster assistance from the President. Federal disaster assistance, if and when it becomes available, only covers uninsured losses. Contact: Pierce County Emergency Operations Center, 253-798-7470


Pierce County increases cleanup assistance
Posted By Sheri Badger on Nov 14th, 2006 at 8:40 AM

Tacoma, WA – November 14, 2006 – Effective tomorrow, Nov. 15, the Pierce County Solid Waste Division will begin to issue Flood Debris Disposal Vouchers to residents and businesses directly impacted by the recent floods. With a disposal voucher, residents and businesses will be able to dispose the following items free of charge: water- damaged household goods, furniture, and clothing; spoiled food; and water- damaged carpets, wallboard, and lumber. Users will be responsible for transporting waste to specific transfer stations under contract with Pierce County. Residents must have the voucher in hand when arriving at the following transfer stations:

  Hidden Valley – 176th and Meridian St. E., South Hill near Puyallup

  Prairie Ridge – 11710 Prairie Ridge Dr. E. at South Prairie Road near Bonney Lake Pierce County launched this effort after assessing the spread of damage and debris caused by the early November flood. After organizing targeted recovery operations at River Park Estates south of Sumner, it became evident that other properties, homes, and businesses have suffered similar damage, but spread in a less concentrated way, over a larger geographic area. The county will consider placing waste collection containers in neighborhoods where damage is concentrated and offer disposal vouchers to other impacted residents and businesses. The first step in obtaining a voucher is to report your damage to the Pierce County Emergency Operations Center at 1-866-798-6363 (toll free). After submitting your report, a member of the Solid Waste Division staff, or another authorized representative, will contact individuals to arrange the paperwork necessary to process the voucher. If residents have already reported damage, they do not need to call again. Please note the voucher program is designed to help address the need to dispose of goods damaged by floodwaters. Vouchers will not be issued to cover the costs of disposing entire buildings, mud, dirt, trees, stumps or other organic waste. For more information on other recycling programs and disposal opportunities, please contact the Pierce County Solid Waste Division at: www.piercecountywa.org/recycle, email pcsolidwaste@co.pierce.wa.us, or call 253-798-2179. Residents and business owners are reminded to take photos and document damages before repairs and clean-up begins. It is very important that all homeowners and business owners in Pierce County and the City of Tacoma with flood damage call the Emergency Operations Center at 1-866-798-6363. Contact: Steve Wamback, Pierce County Solid Waste Division, 253-798- 4656; or Pierce County Emergency Operations Center, 253-798-7470.


Emergency Operations Center watching next storm
Posted By Sheri Badger on Nov 14th, 2006 at 4:57 AM

Tacoma, WA – November 14, 2006 – Pierce County Emergency Operations Center remains open in anticipation of the next storm front moving into the area on Wednesday. Fortunately the weather service is predicting a much smaller storm than the one that hit the area last week. However, last week’s storm caused damage to various levies, rivers altered their flow in different locations, and the soils are now saturated. Emergency officials want to be prepared in case something happens where we need to act quickly to protect the citizens. Pierce County Emergency Management is asking residents living or traveling in flood-prone areas to continue to monitor weather conditions. Be on the look out for road closures, water over the roadway, and downed trees and power lines. Motorists are reminded never to drive through standing water or around barricades; this is how most lives are lost during flooding. This is a good time for those who live in flood-prone areas to prepare their homes and have emergency supplies on hand. Remember to have a good supply of extra batteries for flashlights and radios. Sandbags are available at fire stations throughout Pierce County. Contact: Pierce County Emergency Operations Center, 253-798-7470 ###


American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter Opens Red Cross Service Centers
Posted By Sheri Badger on Nov 14th, 2006 at 3:34 AM

Tacoma, WA – November 14, 2006 – For Immediate Release November 14, 2006 Contact: Karen Kim, Public Relations (253) 416-0271 PAGER / Best Method for Contact kkim@rainier-redcross.org (253) 441-7646 / Pierce County (253) 528-7646 / Thurston-Mason Counties (360) 748-4607 Ext. 7646 / Lewis County (253) 473-4843 FAX RED CROSS ASSISTANCE HELPS FAMILIES BEGIN THEIR RECOVERY The American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter has opened two Red Cross Service Centers for residents with homes damaged by recent floodwaters. Red Cross caseworkers will work with clients to determine their disaster-caused needs and provide emergency assistance which can include shelter, groceries, medication replacement, other basic necessities, and emotional support as they begin their recovery process. Red Cross disaster volunteers will provide information and referrals to other available community resources. Pierce County – American Red Cross Service Center St Andrew Chapel and Parish Offices 602 Kincaid Ave, Sumner, WA 98390 Hours 9:00 to 5:00 PM Lewis County – American Red Cross Service Center Packwood Elementary School 12990 US Highway 12, Packwood, WA 98631 Hours 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM The Red Cross has a toll-free hotline 1-866-GET-INFO for residents with emergency needs or questions about Red Cross services. Hearing impaired callers may call TDD 1-800-526-1417. Red Cross volunteers are assisting callers daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. HOW YOU CAN HELP! Since Sunday, heavy rain has caused rivers to rise to historic levels throughout Western Washington. Roads washed away, homes crumbled and families were forced to flee with only a moment’s notice. Responding immediately, Red Cross volunteers opened 15 emergency shelters to provide a safe haven for families displaced from their homes due to rising floodwaters. More than 19,925 snacks and meals have been served to date, and Red Cross disaster teams have distributed over 1,011 clean-up kits and 400 comfort kits to residents with flood damage. Over 450 Red Cross disaster relief volunteers are working on the disaster relief operation – 348 are local Red Cross volunteers from Washington State. As rivers begin to recede and return to normal levels and families return home to clean up and dry out, your help is greatly needed. Please support the American Red Cross and the people we serve. Your support for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund will help victims of this and thousands of disasters across the country each year. All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of Washington Floods and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make secure online credit card donations by visiting www.redcross.org American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter, ATTN: Disaster Relief Fund www.rainier-redcross.org American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter ATTN: Disaster Relief Fund 1235 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409 (253) 474-0400 American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter ATTN: Disaster Relief Fund 2618 12th Court SW, Olympia, WA 98502 (360) 352-8575 American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter ATTN: Disaster Relief Fund 734 South Market Blvd. Chehalis, WA 98532 (360) 748-4607


Corps adjusts Mud Mountain Dam releases for debris removal; rivers will continue to run high
Posted By Sheri Badger on Nov 12th, 2006 at 12:39 PM

Tacoma, WA – November 12, 2006 – Nov. 12, 2006 Contact: Nola Leyde 206-764-6896 SEATTLE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is decreasing releases from Mud Mountain Dam from 10,000 cubic feet a second (cfs) to 3,500 cfs today to remove debris from the flood storage project. Large trees in reservoir from the flood event have a potential to block releases from the dam and need to be removed. Those living along the White River can expect to see the river levels significantly decrease this afternoon, but they will slowly rise this evening back to the higher levels. The debris removal operation is expected to last until 3 p.m. today. Even river levels have decreased, the flows will slowly rise again to the moderately high levels. At 9 p.m. the releases from Mud Mountain Dam are expected be back up to 9,500 cfs. It can take hours for residents to see those impacts along the river. Predictions of precipitation throughout the next several days have resulted in an aggressive release of water at Mud Mountain and Howard Hanson dams, flood damage reduction projects. The Corps expects to continue the moderately high releases through Wednesday to create space for flood damage reduction operations with the forecast of more wet weather coming into soggy Western Washington river basins. Fluctuations due to rainfall or debris in the river can also cause a rise in river levels. Residents and those monitoring the rivers should report any flooding to local emergency management officials. Rivers in the area are expected to continue to run high. The Corps’ Seattle District Reservoir Control Center and Emergency Operations Center will continue to operate throughout the weekend. For up-to-date river forecasts, go to http://www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/nws/hh/index-j.html. The National Weather Service issues flood watches and warnings and should be consulted for that information.