The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today is the last day to register with FEMA for disaster assistance for damages caused by the January 2009 flood. The Disaster Recovery Center in Longview is now closed, but you can still register online at or by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One Week Left to Register for Disaster Assistance

OLYMPIA— Time has almost run out for Washington residents affected by the January severe winterstorm, landslides, mudslid es and flooding to register for federal assistance. Residents who suffered losseshave until Tuesday, March 31, 2009, to apply for federal and state disaster assistance. To register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), call the toll-free number, 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) (TTY 1-800-462-7585). Phone lines are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. Registration is also available online any time at Tuesday, March 31, 2009, is also the deadline for homeowners, renters and businesses to return completed disaster loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Being denied anSBA loan is a prerequisite for homeowners and renters to receive certain types of federal and state grants. Residents with disaster damage are urged to submit an application for an SBA loan, even if they do not want the loan. “Too many people deny themselves extra assistance by failing to turn in an SBA loan application,” saidState Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin. “Even if a homeowner or renter does not want a loan, they should return the application. It is not necessary to take out a loan if accepted, and further assistance is impossible if they do not.” Residents in the following designated counties are eligible to apply for disaster assistance: Benton, Cowlitz, Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom. Once registered, applicants can track the status of their cases by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA or at the website, "Maybe some have not registered because they have insurance and assume they are not eligible for FEMA assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. "It costs nothing to register, and it is the only way to find out if assistance is available." Nunn said there is no need to wait for an insurance settlement before registering. FEMA will not make a final determination of eligibility until all insurance claims have been settled. "That may not happen until after the registration deadline," Nunn said.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Deadline to Apply for Diaster Aid is Approaching


OLYMPIA— The deadline to apply for disaster assistance and to complete the SBA loan packet is fast approaching. It is Tuesday, March 31, 2009. Washington residents affected by the January 6-16, 2009, winter storm, landslides, mudslides, and flooding are urged to register for assistance and to complete the loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), if one is sent to them. Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD), and the SBA stress that the SBA loan application must be completed for consideration for various other types of assistance programs.

To apply for disaster assistance, residents can call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week or by registering online at

Once homeowners and renters have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance, they may receive SBA loan applications. Those who receive a loan application should complete the application and return it to the SBA as soon as possible. While filing the loan application does not obligate people to accept the loan, applicants must still complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for certain other grants and programs.

SBA disaster loans are not just for businesses. In fact, the majority of SBA disaster loans are made to homeowners and renters. Homeowners may qualify for low-interest loans to help rebuild or repair their homes and replace personal property. Renters may qualify for loans to repair or replace personal property.

For more information about how to complete the loan application, or for more information on SBA assistance, call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339), or email SBA on People may also visit the SBA web site at and “Click here for information on SBA’s Disaster Recovery Centers.”

Residents are urged to fill out the disaster loan application online using SBA’s Electronic Loan Applications, Paper applications can be mailed to SBA at 14925 Kingsport Rd., Ft. Worth, Texas 76155-2243.

Additionally, there are two SBA Disaster Loan Recovery Centers (DLOCs) open to assist people:

Puyallup DLOC (Open until further notice)
Community Resource Center
107 N. Meridian (corner of E. Main and N. Meridian)
Puyallup, WA 98371
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Longview DLOC (Closing 3/26/09)
Cowlitz Co. Training Center (The Boat House)
1942 First Avenue
Longview, WA 98632
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Residents of the following designated counties are eligible to apply: Benton, Cowlitz, Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Five Steps to Get Ready for Disaster (Not Stuck in it)

From Popular Mechanics, August 2007, Glenn Derene
Evacuation If it becomes necessary to leave your home, there may be little advance notice. Determine ahead of time what to bring, where to go and how to get there. Create a backup plan in case your primary route or destination becomes unworkable. Then, practice: Make sure everyone in the family knows the location of rendezvous sites. Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your car­, and keep weather-resistant clothing and sturdy shoes handy.
Health When assembling a disaster kit (see foldout checklist), include both general medical items (bandages, antiseptic, etc.) and up-to-date supplies of prescription medications. Also, keep baby formula available and personal hygiene items such as sanitary napkins and toilet paper in waterproof containers.
Documents Keep copies of important paperwork in three places: your grab-and-go bag, a safe-deposit box and with a friend or family member in a different location. Include identification cards, insurance documents, marriage certificates, property deeds, prescriptions and pictures of family members to show to first responders in case anyone gets lost.
Communication Keep a card with an updated list of family contact info in your wallet at all times. (Don’t rely exclusively on a cellphone’s contact list; you may not be able to recharge the phone.) Make sure every family member carries the number of a point person at least 50 miles away in case local telecommunications fail. This creates a hub-and-spoke system: If family members can’t talk to each other, they can coordinate through the third party.
Technology If you have tax records or other personal information stored on your computer, keep regular backups in an out-of-town location or archive to an Internet service such as Consider maintaining a landline and corded phone to supplement cordless, cellular or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephones, which all rely on the electrical grid. (Telephone landlines carry their own current.) Keep a battery- or crank-powered NOAA radio on hand for weather information and news updates — these can become lifesavers if you lose access to television and Internet sources of information during a disaster.
Risk Assessment-Are you in a Danger Zone? Natural threats vary by region, but no area is immune from all disasters. Hazard maps available on FEMA's Web site break down the frequency of several types of disasters on a state and local level. Take such information into account in your planning. If you live in a flood or earthquake zone, insure your property accordingly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Skywarn Weather Spotter Class

There will be a National Weather Service Skywarn Weatherspotter class on April 7th at 7:00pm. This training will be held at the Woodland Community Center at 782 Park Street in Woodland. The class will run from 7:00pm-8:30pm. The National Weather Service welcomes volunteers with an interest in severe weather spotting. The Skywarn™ program is a voluntary noble civic service. Reports made by spotters provide visual confirmation of potentially severe weather and aid forecasters in issuing warnings. For more information, contact our office at 577-3130.

HAM radio technician class coming up!

Delvin Bunton, N7QMT, and Phil Peterson, AC7NB, will conduct an amateur radio technician class in Woodland, WA in May 2009. The class will meet at the Woodland LDS meetinghouse located at 281 Insel Rd in Woodland. Class sessions will meet on the dates and times listed below. The class is open to any interested persons.

Ham radio provides a vital link in many communities when normal communications does not work. Recent flood relief efforts in western Washington used ham radio operators extensively.

Class sessions will meet as follows:
· May 9 (Sat) from 9 AM – 1 PM
· May 15 (Fri) from 7 – 9 PM
· May 22 (Fri) from 7 – 9 PM
· May 23 (Sat) from 9 AM – 12:30 PM

The Clark County Volunteer Examiner team will conduct the license test on May 23 beginning at 11 AM. Test fee is $15 payable on test day. You will walk out of the test knowing whether or not you passed. Others who wish to upgrade can request a seat for testing by contacting Delvin at the address below.

The instructors will help you learn the material needed to successfully pass the license test. There is no age limit, although the instruction methods employed by the instructors do not work well for those under about age 15 without parental help.

We attempt to make the learning fun and informative. We encourage questions and discussions. Students will learn faster with a license manual, but buying one is your option. Delvin has copies of the ARRL ham radio license manual that he sells for $22 (MSRP $24.95). We hope to arrange for local contacts in the Woodland and Longview-Kelso areas who will handle manual sales before the class.

To enroll, please send an email to and state your desire to enroll.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flood Facts

Here are some flood facts from
  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.

  • Flash floods can bring walls of water 10-20 feet high.

  • A car can easily be carried away by just 2 feet of floodwater.

  • Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire damage.

  • Last year, one-third of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program were for policies in low-risk communities.

  • Two inches of flood water can cost a homeowner $7,800 in damage.

  • To find your flood risk, fill out the Flood Risk Profile at the website above.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Nisqually Earthquake Anniversary

Saturday was the 8th anniversary of the Nisqually Earthquake, a 6.8 magnitude quake that occured at 10:54 am. It had been 36 years since an earthquake of that magnitude hit the northwest. While the damage here in Cowlitz County was minimal, the Seattle area fared far worse. In the aftermath of the Nisqually Earthquake, we were reminded that once an earthquake hits, it's too late to protect one's family, home and belongings. But there are ways to limit future earthquake damage. Sometimes only a little time and a few dollars are all you need. When a catastrophic earthquake might happen cannot be determined. That it will happen is predicted by geologic experts throughout the region. Washington truly is earthquake country. For more information on earthquake safety, check out our website at What were you doing at 10:54am on February 28th, 2001? This blogger was sitting in a Shakespeare Appreciation class reading selected sections of Othello. As soon as the ground started shaking, students ran to the windows to watch the ground sway. (Anything wrong with this picture?) Do you have a story to share? Leave a comment and let us know your experiences.