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Renton volunteers honored with executive's award for community preparedness

King County Executive Dow Constantine, Renton Mayor Denis Law, Renton Fire Chief Mark Peterson, and members of the Renton Emergency Communication Service (RECS) at the presentation of the 2013 Executive
King County Executive Dow Constantine, Renton Mayor Denis Law, Renton Fire Chief Mark Peterson, and members of the Renton Emergency Communication Service (RECS) at the presentation of the 2013 Executive's Award for Community Preparedness at Renton City Hall, Oct. 3, 2013.
— image credit: Courtesy image

An all-volunteer organization from Renton was recognized today by King County Executive Dow Constantine for its commitment to emergency preparedness and response.

"Whenever the ground shakes or the weather turns foul, the volunteers of Renton Emergency Communication Service are the community'seyes and ears – gathering critical safety information and getting it out to the public," Constantine said in a press release. "Every one of their members is trained to staff the city's emergency operations center as the need arises. I'm pleased to present them with the 2013 Executive's Award for Community Preparedness."

This is the third annual Executive's Award for Community Preparedness, given each fall in recognition of outstanding efforts made by communities to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The award is also intended to promote safer communities, strengthening King County as a whole. The ceremony, held at Renton City Hall, was hosted by Renton Mayor Denis Law.

Renton Emergency Communication Service (RECS) was chosen for a record of service that stretches back long before their formal incorporation in 2008 by two groups of amateur radio operators. Over time, RECS volunteers have evolved to become a key asset to Renton's Fire and Emergency Services Department, especially during disasters.

Each RECS member is trained to staff the Renton Emergency Operations Center and carry out communication responsibilities.

"Our emergency radio communication volunteers are a vital part of our emergency preparedness program in Renton," said Law. "These volunteers have already shown their value to this city through the assistance they provided during past storm events that crippled this area. We are very fortunate to have this dedicated group of people in our community."

During the snow and ice storm of January 2012, RECS performed critical functions, including call-taking, managing radio and social media, and providing real-time weather and road information gathered from around the City of Renton. When power was lost to hundreds of homes, RECS members were deployed to Renton's network of Neighborhood Information Centers, where they posted information on shelter and food distribution locations.

"The dedication and commitment shown by the RECS volunteers is making a real difference in our ability to better serve our community," said Renton Fire Chief Mark Peterson. "They provide timely and critical communications and information before it is needed."

The volunteer group also developed a Mobile Communications Response Unit, which stands ready as a mobile incident command post or alternative Emergency Operation Center, as needed.

For tips and information on emergency preparedness, visit www.kingcounty.gov/prepare.

-from a press release

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