We live within the "Ring of Fire" - a place beautiful and prone to major geologic events such as the Cascadia Earthquake. When the next one comes, the likelihood is that major population centers will be consumed with responding. Currently there is little or no reserve in our region's hospitals. A major event would likely render medical centers bereft of staffing and possibly structurally unsafe to use. Transportation systems (bridges, ferries, airports) will be incapacitated.
Health care providers (physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, pharmacists, and others) living on the islands of the Salish Sea will be placed in survival mode - left to help their families, their neighbors, and their communities. Islands such as Vashon currently have no urgent care services or emergency rooms. The ability to survive, to care for the injured and sick, may well depend on how well we help our island communities prepare.
This conference intends to continue the dialogue among health care providers we must have about preparing for disasters - earthquakes to be sure, but also increasing storm and forest fire risks in a time of climate change, epidemics, and behavioral health challenges.
Our speakers will include Vashon Island historian Bruce Haulman, ER physician Arthur French MD who served in New Orleans after Katrina, and ER physician Stephen Morris MD who focuses on regional disaster preparedness such as Cascadia Rising Exercise. This conference intends to expand the dialogue and learn from what others are doing to help their island communities throughout the Salish Sea prepare for disaster.