The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's That Sound?

The Weyerhaeuser site sirens will be tested at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 22nd. These sirens are very loud and can be heard throughout the community. These sirens are tested annually and are normally tested on a Saturday. The sirens have not been tested on a weekday for several years and have never been needed in an actual event. The test on Friday is to ensure that all of the sirens work and to familiarize employees with the sound of the sirens. No action is necessary by site personnel or the community.

Monday, May 11, 2009

May is Volcano Awareness Month

Ahhh....spring. When a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of....volcano awareness. The catastrophic eruptions of Mt. St. Helens in May 1980 are a reminder that Cascade volcaoes hold potential to disrupt our communities. Eruptions and lahars at Mt. St. Helens took the lives of 57 people and caused billions of dollars in property damage. Here's a breakdown of our five active volcano neighbors.
  • Mt. Baker, located in Whatcom County erupted last in the mid-1880s. River valleys are prone to landslides and lahars. Small stream plumes near the summit are observed frequently.
  • Glacier Peak, is located in Snohomish County. This volcano last erupted in the 18th or 19th century. Large explosive eruptions in the past spewed ash to the east into Montana. Lahars threaten river valleys to the west.
  • Mt. Rainier, located in Pierce County, produced small eruptions in the 19th century. Numerous large landslides flowed down the volcano's flanks into river valleys over the past 6,000 years. More than 150,000 people live on lahar deposits in river valleys around the volcano.
  • Mt. St. Helens, is located in Skamania County. It is one of the most explosive and active volcanoes in the Cascades. The eruption on May 18th, 1980, was the most destructive volcanic eruption in U.S. history.
  • Mt. Adams, located in Yakima County, is referred to as the "quiet giant." Mt. Adams produces lava flows, and is also prone to large landslides and lahars in the river valleys to the south, west, and north.

How can you prepare?

  • Get a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Develop an emergency plan with your family. For tips on how to create a plan, visit the DEM website.
  • Prepare for ashfall with goggles and dust masks for all family members.
  • Follow authorities' instructions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quick...where's your fire extinguisher?

If your answer is a deer-in-the-headlights look, perhaps it's time to either a.) keep your fire extinguisher where it can easily and quickly be found in an emergency or b.) buy one! Here are some frequently asked questions about fire extinguishers:

Where should I keep my fire extinguisher?

You want a fire extinguisher in a place where you can get out easily if you see the fire is too dangerous, so install it near an exit, above children's reach. If the thought of hanging it on a wall irks you, keep it in a cupboard or on a low shelf. Stashing an extinguisher in the garage buried under camping gear is not going to be much use when the kitchen is on fire.

What type of fire extinguisher should I have?

Choose a multi-purpose fire extinguisher that is designed for solids like wood and trash, liquids like gas, and fires related to electricity. These extinguishers are labeled ABC. Most home fire extinguishers are very easy to use and cost less than $30.

When should I use a fire extinguisher?
Call 9-1-1 before attempting to use an extinguisher. If you try to use an extinguisher on a fire and the fire does not immediately die down, drop the extinguisher and get out. Most portable extinguishers empty in as little as 10 seconds. A fire extinguisher is only useful if the fire is small and contained to a single area such as the stove or a wastebasket. Do not attempt to use an extinguisher on a large fire that is spreading. Do not use if retrieving or using the extinguisher means putting the fire between you and the exit.
How do I use my extinguisher?
Use the PASS system. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
Pull the pin out to unlock the operating lever
Aim low; point the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire
Squeeze the level below the handle to release the chemical
Sweep from side to side, moving carefully toward the fire. Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.
It's a good idea to periodically flip the extinguisher upside down to keep the powder from settling. For more information about fire extinguisher maintenance click here.
Information courtesy of King County Emergency Management, 3 Days 3 Ways publication.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Severe Weather Awareness Week

From CRESA blog
After a brief, yet exciting, thunderstorm this past Saturday, it is timely that May 4-9th is Severe Weather Awareness Week as celebrated by the National Weather Service. For each day this week, there is a specific focus on a particular type of severe weather that we experience here in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, May 4th ~ Floods and Flash Floods
Tuesday, May 5th ~ Tornadoes and Waterspouts
Wednesday, May 6th ~ Strong Winds, Hail and Lightning
Thursday, May 7th ~ Wildland Fires
Friday, May 8th ~ Watches and Warnings
Saturday, May 9th ~ All-Hazard, Weather Radio

Take a few minutes this week and evaluate how prepared you are for dealing with severe weather and the havoc it can cause.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Child Care Providers as First Responders Class

Are you a teacher, daycare worker, babysitter or parent? If so, this FREE class is for YOU!

In an emergency situation, fire, police, or medical personnel may not get to your facility/home for several hours or even days. Childcare providers will be the first to respond to the needs of themselves and their children. Prior planning and organization is the key to ensuring a calm and safe environment for both staff and child.

JUNE 16TH, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Service Employees International Union Hall, 536 Oregon Way, Longview. To register, please email Jennifer at or call 577-3130.

Childcare Providers as First Responders is instructed by Marcie Maynes, teacher and preparedness expert. This 2 hour class will cover the following topics:

  • Potential Disasters in the Pacific Northwest

  • Evacuation Procedures: Communicating with parents, Evacuating with small children, Evacuation supplies needed

  • Shelter-in-Place Procedures: Sealing off facility in case of chemical or biological pollutants, Electricity goes out, Shelter-in-Place supplies needed

  • Creating a basic emergency plan for your facility

  • Collaborative time with other child providers to discuss effective emergency response porcedures

There will be drawings for emergency kits and other emergency supplies for your facitility/home.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu Fact Sheet

from Krames Patient Education Healthsheet
Swine influenza, also called swine flu, is an illness that mainly affects the lungs. This illness is caused by a virus (germ) that usually infects pigs (swine). The virus has now spread to humans and is easily passed from one person to another. This sheet answers some questions you may have about swine flu.

How Does Swine Flu Spread?

The swine flu virus can spread from infected pigs to humans that come in contact with them. The virus can then be passed among people the same way the regular flu spreads--through the air in droplets when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes, laughs or talks. You can also become infected when you touch a surface on which the droplets have landed and then transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. Touching used tissues, or sharing utensils, drinking glasses, or a toothbrush with an infected person can expose you to the swine flu virus, too. You cannot become infected with swine flu from eating pork or pork products that have been properly handled and cooked.

What Are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?

Swine flu symptoms are about the same as regular flu symptoms.
These include:
  • Fever, usually higher than 101 degrees and chills
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Body and muscle aches
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

Call your healthcare provider for advice if any of the above symptoms become severe. If swine flu has been detected in your area, your healthcare provider may have you tested.

How is Swine Flu Treated?

If swine flu is in your area and your symptoms are severe, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications call antivirals. These must be taken within 2 days of when your symptoms started. Antivirals work by stopping the swine flue virus from reproducing in your body. This gives your body's immune system a chance to fight the virus. After taking the medication, your symptoms may be milder and you may recover quicker than without the medication. The medication may also prevent serious complications such as pneumonia. Antivirals come in the form of pills, liquid or inhaler. If your symptoms are mild, your healthcare provider will likely tell you to follow the self-care measures listed below.

Easing Flu Symptoms

  • Drink lots of fluids such as water, juice, and warm soup to prevent dehydration. A good rule is to drink enough so that you urinate your normal amount.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about acetaminophen or other medications for fever and pain. Take any medication only as directed. Do not give aspirin to children under age 18. It can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye Syndrome.
  • Call your doctor if your fever rises above 101 degrees or you become dizzy, lightheaded, or short of breath.

Taking Steps to Protect Others

  • Wash your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. Or, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand gel containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue. Then throw the tissue away and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • Stay at home at least 5 days after you first feel sick or until your fever and cough are gone.
  • Don't share food, utensils, drinking glasses or toothbrushes with others.
  • Ask your doctor whether others in your household should receive antiviral medication to help them avoid infection.

How Can Swine Flu Be Prevented?

At this time there is no vaccine to prevent swine flu. But there are things you can do to avoid becoming infected with swine flu.

  • Wash your hands often. Frequent handwashing is a proven way to prevent infection.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand gel containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Use it when you don't have access to soap and water. Alcohol gels kill most germs and are safe for children.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • At home and work, clean phones, computer keyboards, and toys often with disinfectant wipes.
  • If possible, avoid close contact with others, especially if swine flu cases have been identified in the area where you live.
  • Wearing a surgical facemask can help protect against getting swine flu. The mask prevents the spread of infected droplets when infected people cough, sneeze, laugh or talk.

Handwashing Tips

Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of swine flu and other common infections. Follow these steps:

  • Use warm water and plenty of soap. Work up a good lather.
  • Clean the whole hand, under your nails, between your fingers and up to the wrists.
  • Wash for at least 15 seconds. Don't just wipe, scrub well.
  • Rinse, letting the water run down your fingers, not up your wrists.
  • Dry your hands well. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.

Using Alcohol-Based Hand Gels

Alcohol-based hand gels are also a good choice for cleaning your hands. Use them when you don't have access to soap and water, or your hands aren't visibly dirty. Follow these steps:

  • Squeeze about a tablespoon of gel into the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together briskly, cleaning the backs of your hands, the palms, between your fingers, and up the wrists.
  • Rub until the gel is gone and your hands are completely dry.