Laurelhurst Emergency Action Plan

LEAP is an all-volunteer organization working to educate Laurelhurst residents about steps to take before, during, and after an earthquake. LEAP offers assorted training and preparation classes to the neighborhood and surrounding community. LEAP is a project sponsored by the Laurelhurst Community Club Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A major earthquake, or other natural disaster, could isolate Laurelhurst from the rest of the city by interrupting power, communication, food, gas, and other supply chains. An earthquake could make roads and bridges impassible and overwhelm first responders such as fire, police, and hospitals. Survival and recovery will require advance preparation and neighborhood cooperation. To facilitate cooperation among neighbors, LEAP has divided Laurelhurst into approximately 100 clusters, each led by a volunteer cluster captain. Cluster neighbors share information about special needs, available tools, and particular skills and training. 

LEAP has also built and equipped a Laurelhurst Communications HUB. The HUB will be activated on the lawn of St. Stephen’s Church (4805 NE 45th St.) to serve as Laurelhurst’s “Communication Central.” The HUB will be a place for neighbors to post needs and resources and to exchange important information. HAM radios at the HUB will enable Laurelhurst to communicate with other Seattle neighborhoods and to city departments.


Consequences of a serious earthquake may include utility outages for prolonged periods; significantly delayed fire and police response; grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks not functioning; trapped or seriously injured family members and neighbors. Authorities recommend that we prepare to live with only our own resources (food, water, clothing) for at least two weeks. You can take steps now to be more prepared and comfortable if disaster strikes. 

Water availability is a crucial problem after an earthquake. Prepare ahead: store water and know where to access and purify additional usable water in your home. Contrary to the popular Laurelhurst myth, Lake Washington is not a source of usable water!

The American Red Cross and Seattle’s Emergency Management are both excellent resources. We’ve also pulled together some of our other favorite links below.


Make a Family Plan

The City of Seattle’s Emergency Management website lists the recommended steps to prepare a family plan.

Build an Emergency Kit

The City’s Emergency Management has a great kit list. You can also refer to FEMA’s excellent checklist of items to include in your earthquake kit. 

The Red Cross also has several videos on emergency preparedness. 

Many retailers (Amazon, REI, Costco, City Peoples, and others) sell pre-assembled emergency kits for home and car. Some also sell food supplies for emergency kits. Remember, water is life.

Include Your Pets in Your Plan

Talk to your cluster neighbors now about caring for each other’s pets if necessary. Exchange information for emergency contacts outside your immediate area. Keep copies of your pet’s vaccination record in your emergency kit. Microchip your pet; keep your address and phone number updated. Keep contact information for the Animal Control Office and local animal shelters in case you become separated. Make sure family members know to post information about lost pets at the Laurelhurst Hub. Include pet items in your family emergency kit: 14 days’ supply of food and water for each pet. (Consider 1/3 to 1/2 gallon of water per day per pet.) Store food in airtight container. Pack a water bowl. Medical records and 14 days of any medicine your pet needs. First aid necessities. Sanitation needs. Pet litter and box; bags for disposal of pet waste. A photo of you and your pet to help identify pet and demonstrate ownership.Toys, treats or bedding to comfort your pet.

Learn Basic First Aid

We can expect personal injuries because of a major earthquake. The most common injuries are likely to be Burns, Breaks, and Bleeds. Until City First Responder services are operable again, neighbors will have to serve as each other’s first responders. If you are interested in becoming CPR and First Aid certified, here is a list of some online first aid classes in the Seattle area. 

Learn How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher. Using a fire extinguisher.

Join Your Cluster Neighbors

Share information such as number of residents (including pets) in the house as well as any special needs. Share your addresses, phone numbers, out-of-area contacts as well as any tools, supplies, and skills you could share. Why? After a major earthquake, broken bridges and rubble in the streets could isolate Laurelhurst from the rest of the City for days or weeks. Communication methods could be inoperable. Stores would likely be closed. First responders from the City, State, and FEMA could take days or even weeks to get to us. We need to set up our own triage areas, inspect houses for livability, communicate shelter locations, help evacuate areas determined dangerous, dispatch rescue teams, and so much more. Neighbors will need to be each other’s first responders.                        

Learn About the Laurelhurst Communications HUB   

In an earthquake or other catastrophe when Laurelhurst is isolated from communication services, the HUB will be activated on the grounds of St. Stephen’s Church (45th St. NE, east of Laurelhurst Park) “communication central.” The HUB is where information can be shared. Examples include the status of nearby bridges and the airport; which local grocery stores are open; missing persons or pets; help needed; and resources to share. Using HAM radios, trained HUB volunteers will connect Laurelhurst with other neighborhoods and with City departments.

Download the free MyShake App 
Washington residents who download and activate the app can have up to three seconds advance warning of an impending earthquake.

Prepare for Sanitation

Sanitation after a big earthquake is crucial to prevent infectious disease. Sewage pipes likely will break; sanitation services likely will be disrupted until repair crews are able to return to work and are able to make necessary City-wide repairs. 

You will need a toilet plan.             

More tips to make a simple emergency toilet.


Know how to stay safe using “drop, cover and hold on” during the shaking. 


Know how to turn off utilities and water supply after a serious earthquake.  

Preparedness Tips from Your LEAP Team on Planning Ahead
Food, Water, Emergency Kit, What to Do in an Earthquake, Utilities


Cluster Captains

Are you interested in organizing your cluster (see link to map above), collecting contact details, and distributing neighbor information? Cluster captains (and co-captains) are trained and supported by experienced volunteers. Contact LEAPlaurelhurst@outlook.com if you want to know whether your neighborhood has a captain or if you would like to help prepare your cluster.

Communications HUB Responders

If normal communications channels fail after a major earthquake, a core team of trained HUB responders will set up the HUB and greet neighbors, assess their needs, and direct them to help. Shifts for staffing the HUB will be short to permit responders to give priority to their families’ needs. It is anticipated that additional neighbors will volunteer at the HUB once their homes and cluster are stabilized. 

Handheld Radio Operators

GMRS and HAM radio operators at the Laurelhurst Communications HUB will communicate with other neighborhoods and City services during an emergency where regular means of communication are not available.

Join the LEAP Steering Committee

LEAP Steering Committee volunteers meet once a month to prioritize and coordinate LEAP’s efforts. The Steering Committee welcomes all volunteers to join in making Laurelhurst a prepared and resilient community.


LEAP is funded by donations from local residents and businesses. Donations help to maintain the HUB and provide classes. All donations are tax-deductible.
Please send a check, payable to “LCC Foundation,” and specify that the check is for LEAP. 
Mail your check to: LCC Foundation/LEAP, PMB #373, 4616 25th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105.

Prepare Your Home and Family

The more homes in our neighborhood and city that are ready for an earthquake, the more resilient we will be. 

For more information on these volunteer opportunities, contact  LEAPlaurelhurst@outlook.com