"Fellowship of the Ring of Fire"

Building off 19 years of partnership between the JCDR and Washington State Emergency management Office, David Johnston, Julia Becker and Lucy Kaiser travelled to Washington State to continue their survey work on the surrounding Mt Rainier communities.

A month prior, a survey study was deployed to explore a range of issues Mt Rainier poses, one month following the lahar drills held in Orting (10 May) and Puyallup (17 May). In particular, the survey focused on knowledge of hazards within the areas residents lived, their knowledge of lahar warning systems, and an assessment of the effectiveness of hazard education initiatives in regard to promoting readiness to deal with lahar hazards and the anticipated effectiveness of warning systems. The goal was to provide a framework within which future readiness and warning intervention strategies can be systematically planned and administered.

Camp Murray was the next destination for the JCDR team to discuss Washington Emergency Management’s (EM) work programme about Mt Rainier. As the geologic setting of the North Island of New Zealand has a similar hazard profile to Western Washington, the JCDR was interested to look at Washington’s current social media platform, community outreach initiatives, whilst also passing on knowledge from New Zealand’s past events to Washington EM and build on the existing database of collaborative reports.

Finally, the team went to Pierce County to understand the community outreach element around the lahar drills. Visits included schools as well as liaising with teachers to give good information to the parents and students to address anxiety around the drills. Discussions ensued around using social conscience in messaging to prevent dangerous evacuation action, and reunification drills were planned for the future.

The team looks forward to continuing the partnership into its 20th year in 2020.

Julia Mt Rainer