Lakewood, WA -- When the Nisqually Earthquake hit Feb. 28, the children of the Little Church on the Prairie Learning Center in Lakewood, Washington, were protected from falling objects because the center had mitigated the facility with FEMA assistance.
During the temblor, teachers gathered children under a large table; and, according to the center's director, Pat Ivy, "Nothing fell over because of our preventive measures. It was amazing."
Last September, volunteers from the University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University and staff members of the Pierce County Emergency Management Department worked with FEMA hazard mitigation officials to make sure the daycare center was safe in the event of an earthquake.
Mitigation measures included bolting cribs to the walls and strapping water heaters, television sets and computers in place. Volunteers also mounted protective sheathing on light fixtures to keep lights from falling.
The project was funded in part with FEMA Hazard Mitigation funds, while Puget Sound Energy and Key Bank of Lakewood supplied financial support and the hot water strapping.
Ivy had not planned on mitigating her center when first approached by disaster officials, but when she was told the center was located in a seismic zone, she chose to proceed with the program.
Though the center suffered some structural damage, inside there was none. And, most importantly, there were no injuries.