Ruckelshaus Center Lauds Clallam EMD

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Emergency Management Department received special recognition in a recent report by the prestigious William D. Ruckelshaus Center. The Ruckelshaus Center helps resolve difficult public policy issues in conjunction with Washington State University Extension Service and the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

The report titled “Washington State Coast Resilience Assessment Final Report” was developed for U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer, the Washington State Department of Ecology and a number of coastal Communities in Grays Harbor. The assessment explores opportunities to address concerns about coastal erosion, flooding, landslides, rising sea levels, large earthquakes and tsunamis. Over 100 people were interviewed for the assessment in Washington coastal counties from the Columbia River to Cape Flattery.

The majority of people interviewed listed a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami as the top hazard for the coast (page 30, 1st sentence). Participants fear lack of earthquake resistant buildings, tsunami evacuation structures, community response plans and preparations “will eliminate” entire coastal communities.

What’s exciting for us at Clallam County Emergency Management is the report recognizes Clallam County as a leader in Cascadia earthquake planning and preparation (page 27, Clallam County subheading).

Clallam County Sheriff’s Emergency Management Division’s “island/area command concept” is recognized as a model for emergency preparation planning for Washington Coastal counties” (page 9). The concept requires detailed analysis of county infrastructure to identify where landslides, tsunami damage, and infrastructure destruction will isolate communities and interrupt the delivery of emergency services. Five command areas have been established within Clallam County with about 20 “islands” within those command areas. This allows planners of Emergency management to craft a response plan each community can implement to start immediate rescue and response without waiting for outside help.

Ruckelshaus Center also recognized the important contributions made by Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management volunteers who mapped the 20 micro-islands and began coordinating plans with residents (page 39, paragraph 3).

The final report recommends that others “Utilize the work of Clallam County Emergency Management as a model for emergency preparation for planning and preparedness for coastal counties and provide support for the enhancement and implementation of plans” (page 50, Item #7, 2nd leveraging action).

The Command Area Concept is still developing.

Find the full report here: