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Evacuation drill follows Saturday's Thunderbirds game

In a partnership to better protect those attending events at the ShoWare Center, SMG, ShoWare Center's management company, several companies, and public safety agencies have planned an evacuation drill following the Seattle Thunderbirds game on Saturday.

SMG, the Thunderbirds, Kent Police Department, and the Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority will use the opportunity to review the readiness of employees and existing procedures and to see what steps can be taken to improve the safety of the public when attending events at the 6,000 seat arena. SMG personnel will be stationed throughout the arena to assist the public in exiting the building once the alarm system is activated.

More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the Thunderbirds game against the Victoria Royals.

For the Kent police and fire departments, observing the evacuation process will help them plan on how to deal with a large number of people exiting the building during an emergency. Public safety, foot and vehicle traffic issues, and the ability of fire engines and other emergency responders to arrive at the scene will all be evaluated.

According to Tim Higgins, general manager for SMG, "This is a great opportunity for us to test an emergency evacuation of the building and to work with local emergency responders. The safety of the public is the highest priority for SMG, the City of Kent, and the Seattle Thunderbirds."

The Kent Fire Department encourages the public to take what they learn during the evacuation drill and apply it to their own home evacuation plan. That plan should include:

1. A map showing two ways out of every room (usually one door and a window)

2. A meeting spot for family members to go to once they have exited the home

3. Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to give families the extra timed needed to get out safely

4. Regular practice of the evacuation plan

In addition to the plan, make sure that upstairs bedroom windows open easily, that escape ladders are in place if needed, and to remember to never reenter a burning home once you have gotten out safely.

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