KPB Office of Emergency Management

Kenai Peninsula Borough

 

People across south central are still processing the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that shook the region for several minutes last month. For folks who work in emergency management, it was yet another test of how well their local programs provide a response to such events.

It's been a busy year for the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, from floods to tsunamis to earthquakes. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, OEM manager Dan Nelson talks about the borough's response to such events and upcoming opportunities for residents to become part of the response team.

Interview highlights-

National Weather Service

 

Heavy rains this week are causing flooding around Seward and have prompted an emergency declaration from the Seward City Manager. The borough assembly will meet in a special session Wednesday to vote on whether to appropriate emergency funds.

The new alert system designed to better inform Kenai Peninsula Borough residents of vital emergency information will have its capacity tested this week, and you’re all invited to participate.

KPB Alerts, the phone, mobile, and text mass notification system, was put in place earlier this year after a large earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska exposed shortcomings in the previous system. One of the last steps is to test the voice-calling capability, which will start on Wednesday.

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake which struck near Kodiak in January generated plenty of tsunami alerts -- though little in the way of actual tsunamis -- throughout coastal communities in the Gulf of Alaska, including here on the Kenai Peninsula.

Unfortunately, many people who needed to be notified of potential doom were not able to be reached because of limitations in the equipment the borough's Office of Emergency Management uses to contact citizens in times of crisis.

Last month’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake off Kodiak Island meant different things to different people on the Kenai Peninsula, and it all depended on where they lived. In areas closer to the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska, it meant evacuation to high ground, while in the Central Peninsula, it was a midnight diversion, something to post about on Facebook for a few days.

For the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, it was the time to swing into high gear to warn residents in vulnerable areas of possible tsunami danger.

Jenny Neyman/Redoubt Reporter

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is offering another round of Community Emergency Response Training courses this month. We spoke with Borough Emergency Management Program Manager Dan Nelson to learn more about why the borough has been offering them for more than a decade.

  On Saturday when a three-year-old child wandered away from his home near Sterling, several agencies mobilized for the search. But officials also enlisted the help of area residents through its "Rapid Notify" system.