The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Flood Safety Tips

Floods occur regularly in this region, causing evacuations and widespread damage. Here are a few tips you can use to lessen damage and stay safe:

*Consider purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
*Stay tuned to radio or TV for updates. *Never walk through moving water more than 6 inches deep.
*Cars can easily be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water. (Remember, driving a truck doesn't make you invincible!!!)
For more flood safety information, visit our website at

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down....

The National Weather Service (NWS) - Portland has alerted us that over the next few days we can expect heavy rain and winds. Forecast is for 4 to 8+ inches of rain and winds to 40 mph on Tuesday and Wednesday in the valley . Heavy rain will start tonight and last through Thursday. Heaviest rain can be expected on Tuesday (2 to 4 inches) and Wednesday (1.5 to 4 inches).

The Cowlitz River is expected to go to 18.5 feet by Wednesday afternoon. Most SW Washington rivers are expected to crest by Wednesday night. In addition to the heavy rain there will be exceptionally high tides during the period which may impact coastal rivers. Freezing levels are expected to be above 10,000 feet during the rain period.

DEM will be monitoring the weather and distribute information as it becomes available. Because of the Veterans Day holiday you may wish to keep an eye on the weather and take appropriate actions to prepare.

More information can be obtained by going to the NWS website at:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prepare your home and family for blustery days ahead

A news release from the Washington State Emergency Management Division

Camp Murray, Wash. – Forecasts for stormy weather in the coming days mean it is time for action to prepare for winds, rain and floods.

“Fall is our stormy time of year, and a few preparedness steps now can make a big difference in protecting your home and family,” said Jim Mullen, director, Washington Emergency Management Division, Washington Military Department.

Mullen said one huge preparedness step home- and business-owners can take is to clean out gutters and street drains which could clog with leaves and create urban flooding problems. “You’d be amazed,” he said, “how this simple step will keep traffic moving through your neighborhood and free up city crews to focus on other pressure points.”

Other preparedness tips:
· Listen to your radio or television for winter storm forecasts and other information.
· Check on your disaster preparedness kit to ensure it contains food, light sticks, water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and a wind-up clock.
· Know how to safely use a generator so it will not create a dangerous indoor carbon monoxide buildup.
· Never burn charcoal or use a generator indoors or in carport.
· Stay away from downed power lines.
· Call 9-1-1 only for emergencies. Dial 2-1-1 for other information.

Preparing to drive in heavy rains:
· Equip your vehicle with all-season tires.
· Fill your gas tank before stormy weather hits.
· Dress to keep warm and dry if you become stranded and have to walk.
· Allow extra time to reach your destination.
· Take routes that avoid low-lying roads that may be underwater.
· Follow official emergency evacuation routes.
· Do not go around “Road Closed” barriers.
· Do not drive or walk through standing water.
· If you vehicle stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground.

Further preparedness information can be found at the Cowlitz County Department of Emergency Management website at

Monday, November 3, 2008

Community Voicemail

Press Release from Lower Columbia Community Action Program:

A new voice mail service provided by Lower Columbia Community Action Program (CAP) will soon help social service, government, healthcare, churches and other organizations to keep in touch with their clients in need.

CAP is the local host organization for the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Community Voice Mail (CVM), the local affiliate of the Community Voice Mail Federation, headquartered in Seattle.

“For many people, Community Voice Mail serves as their only telephone connection to critical services such as housing, food, shelters and medical facilities,” said Mike Chapman, CVM Manager at CAP. “If someone is homeless, in transition or crisis, or perhaps needs confidentiality or protection due to domestic violence, CVM enables them to keep in contact with these services.”

CAP is currently promoting the service to local organizations for their clients.
“The key to ensuring that CVM is available to everyone who needs it is to have a large number of organizations that offer the service,” said Chapman.

CVM is simple to use for both an organization and their clients. CAP provides support, training and activity reports specific to the organization. Case workers at the organizations determine who qualifies for CVM. After a brief enrollment and training process, clients are provided with a unique telephone number that connects to their very own voice-mail system. They may provide their phone number to any organization, healthcare office, on their resume for employers, and even to family and friends.

Once a client’s CVM number is activated, case managers or others who have the phone number may call to leave important messages. Callers will not be able to tell the CVM system from any other telephone voice mail service. The client can call from any phone to receive their CVM messages. They may even respond to messages initiated by the organization that provides their CVM.

When the client no longer requires the voice mailbox, the organization can erase all messages in the mailbox and reassign it to another client.

Chapman says that CVM can provide a valuable service during times of disaster, emergency situations, or extreme weather conditions. “We have the ability to send a broadcast message to all CVM users. For example, when Hurricane Ike was bearing down on Houston, the local CVM manager sent a message to over 6,000 of the city’s homeless who were using the Community Voice Mail system, directing them to appropriate emergency shelters. A majority of them weren’t even aware of the impending hurricane.”

Nearly 50 organizations nationwide serve as CVM hosts to their regions, including sites in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and New York. Collectively, they provided CVM service to over 60,000 people last year.

For more information about CVM, go to the CAP website (, or contact Mike Chapman at 360-425-3430, Ext. 247, or