Safety

We have an active "block watch" system in effect in the neighborhood, and Block Watch Captains are a key element of the emergency preparedness plan which is posted elsewhere on this web site. Your WHCCA board of directors is working to improve awareness of this plan and to help the Block Watch Captains stay up to date.  If you have questions or suggestions about this plan, contact Wally Larson. The WHCCA website has a variety of information relating to safety and emergency resources:

1. Emergency plan
2. Block watch program
3. Emergency communications resources
4. Advice for helping to keep your phone and computer working during a power failure


NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY NEWS

WINTER STORM TIPS (distributed by the City of Bellevue Jan 9, 2007). Two documents are intended to help residents prepare and stay safe in a winter storm: Bellevue Readiness, and Utility plans.

Damage Reporting: King County is asking residents to report personal and business losses and damages as a result of the storm. Information about total damages, provided to the state, will help Washington and Bellevue qualify for federal money. Report disaster damage to the King County Disaster Hotline at 1-800-523-5044, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline will close at 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22.
 

Repairs: Residents who suffer damage to their homes and/or property should file claims with their homeowners insurance. The City of Bellevue is offering free building permits for storm-related repairs. Call the city at 425-452-4570 to schedule an inspection. If the inspector determines that a permit will be required for repairs, there will be no charge for it and the permit process will be quick.
 

General Precautions: Always have a flashlight with fresh batteries handy, as well as some food and water stocked. Have a backpack or duffel bag ready in a closet close to the door in case you need to evacuate. Be sure to pack: bottled water; first-aid kit; warm, weather-proof clothing; food; battery-operated radio and extra batteries; sleeping bag or blankets; and prescription medication. If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation, call 911.

 

COYOTE TIPS FROM THE CITY OF BELLEVUE (Spring 2006).  Wildlife officials say encounters between wildlife and people are uncommon, but are increasing in populated areas adjacent to greenbelts and other undeveloped areas that serve as wildlife habitat.  With warm weather approaching and people heading outdoors to enjoy their yards and play, reports of encounters between people and wildlife are certain to increase, the officials say. But by exercising some simple precautions – and some common sense – most people can minimize their chances of an encounter with wildlife.

Wildlife officials say coyotes are intelligent and highly adaptable animals, and live in a  diversity of habitats throughout Washington state. Several years ago, a coyote found its way into an elevator in a downtown Seattle office building. But the animals are typically timid, and will run away if challenged by a human, the officials say.

Nevertheless, if a coyote approaches closely, people should immediately pick up small children and act aggressively toward the animal by waving their arms, throwing stones and yelling. The idea is to convince the coyote that you are not  prey, but a potential danger.

Wildlife officials say that to avoid attracting coyotes, as well as black bears, mountain lions, raccoons and a variety of other wildlife to a neighborhood, homeowners should remove all possible food sources from around their residences. Garbage cans should be secure and placed in an inaccessible area, pet food should not be left outdoors, and fruit that has fallen from a tree should not be left on the ground. With the exception of birds, people should refrain from feeding wildlife. 

The same officials say small children should never be left unattended in areas where wildlife are frequently seen or heard. People also should always assume a wild animal is dangerous, and should never approach a wild animal. Young wildlife that appear to have been abandoned by their mother should never be picked up  or otherwise touched.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/index.htm) provides detailed information on how to avoid potentially dangerous encounters with wildlife.  In case of a wildlife problem or emergency, state wildlife officers can be reached through the Department’s Mill Creek regional office at (425)775-1311. During weekends and evenings, an officer can be reached by calling the nearest Washington State Patrol office.

 

BEARS SHARE NEIGHBORHOOD IN SPRING AND SUMMER (Summer 2004 update)

It seems like each summer there are reports of one or more bears sharing our neighborhood. One such case occurred on Saturday, August 14, 2004. Judy Brewer, a Collingwood resident, reported "... a black bear was in my front yard and heading toward Whispering Heights. He's a very healthy looking bear and I'm sure he or she is the same one Rob and Michelle (Cash) photographed last year or the year before. The bear meanders up the gravel drive next to our house, moving into our front yard, then across the street and on up the hill."

Kim Cooney, another WHCCA board member and the Whispers editor adds, "There was another black bear sighting at the intersection of 46th way with 158th (the Whispering Heights-to-Collingwood intersection, near the trail head) on Saturday in the late afternoon, lumbering between two homes..."

When walking on neighborhood trails and when walking at night, please make your presence known (perhaps practicing your whistling...) so you don't surprise a bear and get into a potentially dangerous situation.

UNLICENSED MOTOR VEHICLES DRIVEN BY CHILDREN IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Recently small motor powered scooters which are unregulated by traffic and driver regulations have become available and popular with young people.  Please be alert for these tiny vehicles driving on our neighborhood streets, and up and down our many hills, at speeds up to 25mpg. While the City of Bellevue is reportedly working on laws that would regulate and restrict such vehicles, in the meantime we don't want to have an accident and serious injuries which could easily occur when these often-inexperienced drivers encounter unsuspecting car drivers.

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR PHONE AND INTERNET ACCESS DURING A POWER FAILURE

Have you thought about whether your phone or internet connection will work during the next power failure emergency?  You may have a laptop computer with hours of battery capacity, but if you depend on a wireless phone, a cable modem or wireless router for internet access, your telephone and internet access will not work during a blackout. 

Fortunately, a relatively inexpensive (as little as $40) battery backup system designed for personal computers can provide hours of temporary power for your phone, or at least can give you time to plug in your trusty wired backup phone.  And since the basic cable system is still likely to be operational, a second battery backup on your cable modem and/or wireless router should let you access your email and research emergency information on the web as long as your laptop's battery holds out. 

More information will be available here soon on the results of testing two different battery backup systems with a wireless phone system, a cable modem, and a wireless router for internet access.