The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 Info Line

An H1N1 information line has been established. For more information on the H1N1 virus and vaccine information you can call the H1N1 Info Line at 1-877-510-2772.

How Will You Cook When the Lights Go Out?

Rough winter weather is on its way and with it, comes the threat of a long-term power outage. The Department of Emergency Management is excited to offer an exciting new class called Cooking in the Dark. This class offers a hands-on chance to learn how to plan for, and prepare, two-weeks worth of meals with NO electricity.

You will learn:
· How to prepare food without power for up to two weeks
· How long food can last in a fridge or freezer following power outage
· Proper long-term water storage
· What non-food items are necessary for survival

The class will be held on November 19th at 6:00 p.m. at the Cowlitz County Training Center, 1942 1st Avenue, Longview (building just south of the Hall of Justice). Marcie Maynes of Simple-Safety will teach you the basics of power outage survival and will be assisting you in preparing actual recipes, so come hungry and leave full of ideas! Prepare to be your own hero! If you are interested in attending this FREE class, please click here to send an email to register.

How Prepared Are YOU?

From Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA)
Let’s test your personal preparedness level for H1N1 (Swine Flu). Answer the following questions with a "yes" or "no":

  • Have you received your seasonal flu vaccine?

  • Will you receive your H1N1 vaccine as it becomes available to your priority group?

  • When you cough, do you cover your nose and mouth with your elbow, shoulder or use a tissue that is immediately thrown in the garbage?

  • Do you regularly avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth?

  • Do you wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze? Or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly?

  • When you wash your hands, do you sing your ABC’s or "happy birthday" twice?

  • Do you try to avoid contact with people who are exhibiting signs of being sick?

  • Do you stay home from work or community events when you are sick (even if you have important things to do for our community)?

  • If you or your family member has a fever, do you stay home for at least 24 hours AFTER the fever has gone away?

  • Is your home stocked with enough food, hand sanitizer, over-the-counter medications, tissues and other related items so that you can stay home for several days and minimize contact with others?

If you can answer "yes" to 8-10 of these questions, you are very prepared for this flu season. If you only answered "yes" to a few of these questions, consider becoming more prepared because as you prepare, you help your whole community.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Information on H1N1

The Health Departments in Region IV (Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties) are working together under Incident Command to manage the H1N1 virus. Instead of posting information on various blogs and websites for each county, the Command Post has now established a central website for consistency. Please visit for the latest information.

Cowlitz County DEM will continue to provide emergency information as necessary, but updates specific to H1N1 will be posted by Region IV Incident Command at the above website.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Winter Weather Awareness Week

Next week begins "Winter Weather Awareness Week," an annual campaign from the National Weather Service. It's time once again to break out the emergency lighting, heavy boots and umbrellas. Power outages are also common this time of year. If your water supply could be affected by a power outage (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water. Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet. Click here to visit the National Weather Service website and learn more about Winter Weather.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine Begins to Arrive in SW Washington

From CRESA blog
The first shipment of H1N1 vaccine arrived today in Southwest Washington. The 2,890 doses arrived at Clark County Public Health in intra-nasal form and were shared with health jurisdictions in Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties.Vaccine will first be made available to two priority groups, including healthcare workers and emergency responders who provide direct patient care, and to children in childcare or other group settings. Intra-nasal vaccine is suitable for healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49. It cannot be given to pregnant women.Hospitals in the four-county region will receive vaccine directly from the vaccine distributor, and will use the vaccine for staff who provide direct care.More intra-nasal H1N1 vaccine is expected to arrive in the region next week. Injectable vaccine is expected to arrive later in the month. Public health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated against seasonal flu now and H1N1 (swine flu) as supplies allow. Because supplies may be limited initially, the vaccine will first be offered to those at highest risk of complications from H1N1. These include:
  • Pregnant women (injectable vaccine only)
  • Persons who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months (e.g., parents, siblings, and daycare providers)
  • Health-care and emergency medical services personnel
  • Persons ages 6 months--24 years
  • Persons ages 25--64 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications

More information about the response to H1N1 (swine flu) in Southwest Washington is available at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's National Fire Prevention Week

October 4-10th is National Fire Prevention Week. In recognition of National Fire Prevention week, we encourage you to follow these simple steps to protect yourselves and your loved ones from fire and burn injuries.

• Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.

• Have a 3-foot "kid-free" zone around the stove.

• Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.

• Be careful when using things that get hot such as curling irons, oven, irons, lamps, heaters.

• Install tamper-resistant receptacles to prevent a child from sticking an object in the outlet.

• Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle, portable heater, lit fireplace or stove, or where a hot appliance might be in use.

• Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.

• Set your hot water temperature no higher than 120 degrees.

• Install anti-scald valves on shower heads and faucets.

Be sure to come check out the DEM table at the Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue Open House this Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. See you there!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is Your Emergency Kit Complete?

Well, it looks like the last segment of Emergency Preparedness Shopping Tips is upon us. I’m sure that these past 12 Tuesdays have been nothing short of awe-inspiring, mind-expanding and full of untold glory. I know they have been for me. Perhaps, that’s a slight stretch, but if nothing else, I hope I have at least brought about some awareness of the importance of keeping a well-stocked disaster supply kit on hand. Even if you are just a little better prepared than you were before, I feel like I’ve done my job. So, what do you need this week to round out your emergency kit? How about some games or books to pass the time and keep the kiddies entertained? What better time to finish that classic tome that you started in college and swore you’d finish? You can trust that the only time I’d ever delve into some Thoreau or Faulkner again would be in a desperate emergency. Just think, if you had to shelter in place in your house for a week, you could finish all those classics and begin conversations with “Well, Tolstoy always said…” or “Don’t you find Hemingway’s stories rife with psychological manipulation and hedonism in post World War I America?” Then you can laugh pompously and adjust your monocle. But I digress; also make sure you have local road maps in case you have to come up with a secondary exit from your current location. Lastly….the crème de la crème of emergency supplies….the item so versatile that it can be used for makeshift first aid supplies, repairs, restraints, the list goes on and on….you know what I’m talking about…DUCT TAPE! It is useful in so many capacities that there are entire websites devoted to counting its virtues. I like this one. And never forget, in the words of some guy named Carl, “Duct tape is like the force. It has a dark side and light side and it holds the universe together.” True that, Carl, true that.

HAM Radio testing coming up!

American Radio Relay League (ARRL) review and testing for Technician, General and Extra amateur radio licenses will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 17th at the Lower Columbia Amateur Radio Association (LCARA) Clubhouse on Lone Oak Road in Longview. PRE-REGISTRATION is required. The exam fee this year is $15, cash. Free refreshments will be provided.
The exams are for first-time licenses or upgrades. Attendees are asked to bring their original radio license and a copy; pending Certificates of Successful Completion of Exam (CSCEs); a picture ID; and a calculator.
Pre-exam study online is encouraged at the Web site:
For details, contact Judi-K7HRW by e-mail: or phone: 274-3480 (or) contact JR-NW7S by email:
HAM Radio is an essential part of emergency operations. If you want to be part of an important team and have FUN in the process, HAM radio is for you!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Are You Ready If the Lights Go Out?

As any Granny worth her salt would say, "The frost is on the pumpkin." And, by that, I mean fall is here. Time for potato soup, candles and cozy sweaters! Also, it's time to be thinking about some some back-up plans in case the power goes out. Here are some basic power outage preparation tips courtesy of our Cowlitz PUD.

  • Create a kit that contains flashlights with extra batteries and a battery powered radio. Know where to find it in a dark house!

  • Cordless phones do NOT work without electricity, so make sure you have an old-school corded phone.

  • Know how to open your electric garage door if the power is out.

If the power goes out:

  • Unplug electronics--computer, TV, microwave--and don't turn them on again until the lights have returned to normal brightness.

  • Turn down thermostats and turn off water heater circuit breaker to help reduce initial electric demand when power is restored.

  • Do not open refrigerators or freezers.

  • If you use a generator, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Place it outside for proper ventilation. NEVER use barbeques or propane heaters indoors.

  • Leave a porch light switched on to let PUD repair crews know when service is restored.

  • To report a power outage, call the PUD at 423-2210 or (800) 631-1131.

Short power outages are a part of life in this area, but imagine what it would be like to have to deal with it for a week or more, like some of our neighbors to the north did last year. On a related note, later this fall, the Department of Emergency Management will be hosting a "Cooking in the Dark" seminar to teach people how to survive and thrive during an extended power outage. Keep checking the blog for more information!