PORT ORCHARD — A command center staffed by a unified group of law enforcement and emergency response organizations, brought together to deal with the aftermath of a tornado that struck Port Orchard Dec. 18, is now in “stand down” mode, said Jeff Faucett, South Kitsap Fire and Rescue assistant fire chief, on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Faucett said the command center has ended operations and coordination activity is now under the responsibility of Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management.
“With the stand down of Incident Command, all emergencies, whether involving property damage issues, criminal activity or medical response, will be handled through Kitsap 911,” Faucett stated in a news release.
The county department noted that Puget Sound Energy crews will continue to work to restore electrical power to the affected area as soon as possible. Staff from the county’s Department of Community Development “will return to the affected area Thursday morning to finish surveying damaged homes, property and other buildings.”
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported it will assign additional patrol deputies to the impacted areas in Port Orchard at night. Residents in the area have been asked to call 911 if they observe suspicious activity taking place nearby.
“This was a total joint civil agency and community response to a natural disaster event that occurred in the blink of an eye and lasted only seconds yet caused so much damage and disrupted the lives of many,” Faucett said.
“Our very great fortune as a community is that any injuries sustained were minor. There were no serious injury or deaths caused by this storm.”
Faucett said he wanted to offer “our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to our colleagues who assisted SKFR in providing emergency response assistance and support. It truly was a community effort.”
Fire and law enforcement agencies from Kitsap, Pierce and King counties responded to the call for assistance after the tornado, particularly in combing the affected properties for survivors and assessing the extent of the damage. Government, service and volunteer agencies from Kitsap and Pierce counties, including the Red Cross, the City of Port Orchard and Kitsap United Way, also assisted in the effort, Faucett said.