Seward Park is organizing for a major disaster.

Residents met with a city of Seattle emergency management expert to start an action plan and collaborate with their neighbors.

If a massive earthquake hits Seattle, experts say you need to be prepared to be on your own for two weeks before help arrives.

The South Seattle neighborhood has five modern orthodox synagogues within a mile of each other. Since most members walk to each other’s houses to socialize on Saturdays, there’s a much greater familiarity with each other than most neighbors.

That’s a huge advantage, but they still need to organize.

“The bottom line of any planning effort is, if you get it to paper, pencil, people, you’ve got it made,” said Debbie Goetz, Seattle’s community coordinator for emergency preparedness.

Rivy Kletenik, a Seward Park resident, was proud of the turnout and the will to put it into motion.

“We had a number of people step up and volunteer to lead this effort,” Kletenik said. “And I think another meeting with Debbie with just the people who are going to be in charge is going to be essential to helping us all feel ready.”

Goetz stressed the importance of just getting to know your neighbors.

“You need to find doctors, first-aid people, people who can cook, people who can lift, who can read, people who can take care of pets,” she said. “Just knowing is the first step.”

Goetz says she’ll go to any Seattle-area neighborhood that asks. Contact Goetz at

Join KING 5’s Disaster Preparedness Facebook group and learn how you and your community can get ready for when disaster strikes.