The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Check out this great website!

This is a great website from Home all about different aspects of home safety. They also have a really thorough emergency preparedness checklist, click here to check it out. They have lots of safety information on everything from blizzards to volcanoes.

Cool Thing of the Week!

Ahhh...Friday! The end of the week is here and the Royal Wedding is over, so we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. This week I wanted to highlight Quake Hold Putty. This putty, according to the website is:
*Ideal for securing antiques, collectibles, and other breakable items from falling
*Works on almost any surface
*Easy to apply with its pliable texture
*Non-toxic and non-damaging to your walls, surfaces, or furniture
*Easy to remove and reuse without leaving behind unsightly residue

I agree that it is all those things because I purchased some last year to secure my great-great-grandmother's lead crystal pitcher which means the world to me. The putty is basically really high quality Silly-Putty that you put under any breakables that you wouldn't want crashing down in an earthquake. Even if you hate all the breakable trinkets on your shelf and wouldn't shed a tear if they all broke, think of the time and energy you would save if you didn't have to clean up all that broken porcelain! I hate cleaning, especially when I have to exert effort like sweeping and making sure there aren't shards of glass anywhere. That's worth the $3.99 I paid for the package of Quake Hold at Home Depot.

I put the putty under the pitcher, as I previously mentioned, plus under a bunch of pictures, a vase and a terra-cotta pot I painted (poorly) while in Mexico. Plus, I still have half the package left. $3.99 well spent, my friends. Check out their website here and maybe next time you're at Lowe's or Home Depot, pick up a package. You can also get it pretty cheap at, so when you're picking up another copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (no, really, it's a book!), add some Quake Hold to your virtual shopping cart!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 6, a bit early

I know it's a couple days early, but I thought I'd throw out the Week 6 list on Monday just to keep you on your toes.

So, it was brought to my attention that I failed to mention a critical item in last week’s post. I told you to buy some canned goods, but forgot to remind you to throw in a manual can opener. How mad would you be if you had to take your kit with you in an evacuation and had food, but no way to access it? You can’t open a can with your bare hands, however if you had bear hands you might be able to. But that’s a different post entirely. Ahhh….puns. Anyway, throw in a can opener. You can get one at the Dollar Store. For a dollar.

Moving on, this week it’s time to throw in some simple first aid supplies. Next time you browse the aisles, throw in:

A first aid kit (you might think it’s cheaper to make your own, but usually you’re better off just purchasing a ready-made one, it’s easier, oftentimes cheaper and doesn’t take up much space) I recommend the Red Cross ones here and there are some nice ones at Rite Aid and Target too. If your kit doesn’t come with a first aid guide, it’s well worth it to pick one up.

Travel size deodorant and shampoo (a good thought might be to pick up some dry shampoo, dry shampoo is powdered and made to work without water. It absorbs oil from the scalp. You can find dry shampoo at a drug store or probably Target)

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Hand sanitizer (good for killing germs without water and also makes a handy fire starter!)

Baking soda Why baking soda? A resourceful CERT volunteer had it in his 72-hour kit because of its many, many uses and I thought it was a fantastic thought. Check out the various uses here. A box costs less than a dollar and can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, brushing teeth, calming an upset stomach, bug bites, bee stings, sunburns, diaper rash and so much more.

So, there you go. Go forth and conquer!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cool Thing of the Week

My cool thing of the week isn't actually a thing, it's more of a concept. This week I think renter's insurance is cool. If you rent a home or apartment, getting renter's insurance may not be anything you've considered. Sure, your landlord has insurance on your dwelling, but guess what..that doesn't help you any!

Your landlord's policy does not cover your personal property at all. You could lose your personal property in a fire, burglary or a severe storm. Without renter's insurance, your personal property wouldn't be replaced and you'd be liable for anyone who is injured inside your home.

I know, you're probably thinking "But I don't have any Picasso's or fur coats or a porcelain clown collection valuable enough to worry about." Still, make a list of everything in your house that you like, use, need and wouldn't want destroyed. You'll be surprised at what would be costly to replace: Clothing, furniture, a TV, computer, iPod, sports equipment or jewelry.

You might think that your furniture and TV are so lousy that you wouldn't care if they got destroyed, but if you had no insurance, you still have to pay out of pocket if you ever want to sit on something other than the floor and have a TV on which to watch Antiques Roadshow or Jersey Shore again.

The cost of renter's insurance is so low it just doesn't make sense not to have it, especially given the natural disasters that plague this area. When my husband and I rented a home about 8 years ago the cost of the renter's policy was about $15 a month, but our auto insurance was so thrilled that we had a renter's policy that we got a deduction on our premium which equaled to the renter's insurance not costing us a thing. Sweet!

When shopping for renter's insurance, be sure you're covered for these "named perils," as they're called in the insurance world: Fire or lightning, windstorm, smoke, vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, and accidental discharge of water, among other common loss types.

Earthquake protection costs extra, but in my opinion, is a cost worth incurring. Flood coverage may also be an additional expense, but that's a question an insurance agent would have to answer.

There are several options in what you want to cover, what liability limits you need and what you want your deductible to be. Why not give an insurance agent a call today to learn more?

It helps to take photos and keep a list of your belongings so they can be easily replaced after a disaster. Just be sure to store them someplace else!

EAS Troubles

FYI--The state's Emergency Alert System (EAS) is experiencing a few technical difficulties lately. If you have heard an AMBER Alert or the recent statewide earthquake drill over the radio and it has been garbled, you are not alone. Technicians are working on the problem and hope to have it running smoothly soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Everyone can use a little freshening up now and then! Our blog is no different. We made some nips and tucks, added some collagen and a chemical peel and got this fresh, younger looking blog page. What do you think? Are we a 10 or is it too much?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shopping List--Week 5

It’s Wednesday, time for week 5 of your disaster shopping mission. This week will be a little more expensive than previous weeks, depending on what you already have at home. So, you should have purchased some non-perishable food items to stow away in your kit. Long-term food storage doesn’t have to have gross, inedible food in it. Refer here for a poem on better food storage. Yes. A poem.

Anyway, now it’s time to find a way to cook that food. Obviously, if you have electricity just carry on as normal. However, if you are without power, here are a few food-prep options.

1. A butane stove: these can be used indoors, provided you have PLENTY of ventilation. The best thing would probably be to use this outside under the cover of a porch or awning. These can be purchased here. This one is rated for indoor use and can be purchased here or at your local Ace Hardware or camping supply store.

2. Apple box oven: these things are super cool. Click here and here to learn more. Cooking brownies or muffins when the power is out? Yes, please! You can easily make one at home or you can attend a hands-on class in June and make one with the help of a professional! Check back next week for more details on the date and class location.

3. Grill: Use this outdoors only. Here’s why. If you’re stuck at home because of a severe winter storm or flood, why not treat yourself to a nice steak? No electricity required! Plus, it’s a good way to use up all that meat in the freezer that will go bad without electricity.

4. Fondue pot/chafing dish: this would probably take quite a bit of time (but if you’re trapped at home, it’s not like your social calendar is going to be full). If you happen to have fondue makings sitting around, have a nice disaster fondue party. However, if you are like 99.9% of Americans you don’t exactly keep fondue fixin’s on hand. But, you can certainly heat up some nice soup or chili in it!

So, what do you need to buy this week? How about (per family member):

4 cans of soup

4 cans of chili

4 boxes of macaroni and cheese

2 cans or jars of spaghetti sauce

2 boxes of spaghetti noodles.

That’s a lot of meals that can all be cooked on one butane stove burner! If you do not already have a camp stove or butane burner, now is a good time to pick one up. I know it’s a load off my mind to know that I can at least cook macaroni and cheese or spaghetti without power and keep my kids fed and happy. (a lot happier than if I just popped open a can of spam, gave them a spoon and told them it was dinner).

Recycle Your E-Waste on Saturday

Take your old computers, laptops, CPU towers, cell phones, monitors and TV's to a FREE recycling event this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso. For more details about this event visit or

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Show Highlights Crumbling Infrastructure

Do you need something else to be paranoid about? I certainly don't, but nevertheless, the show Inspector America is an important reality check into America's infrastructure. Timothy Galarnyk, an infrastructure safety inspector with over 35 years of experience, hosts the show, a one-hour series that runs on Sundays at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.

Galarnyk visits various bridges, dams, tunnels and other important structures to gauge their current safety level and how they might fare in a disaster. If you think that you can get to wherever you need to go in Cowlitz County following an earthquake, you are in serious disaster-denial. These are all issues to take into consideration when working out an emergency plan with your family.

For instance, I work on the Longview side of the bridge, but my children are on the Kelso side. If there is a large earthquake and both bridges are impassable, I need a plan to either get to my kids or have someone else get to them. I am not a great swimmer, so swimming across the Cowlitz to get to the Kelso side isn't an option. I've worked out plans with my daycare, my husband and other family members to take care of the kids in the event that I couldn't immediately get to Kelso.

For more on "Infrastructure America", click here. There's only been one episode (it premiered on the 17th), but it was very eye-opening. I know in future episodes he visits locations on the west coast, so watch for that.

Clean-Up on Aisle 3

From "This Green Life"
This isn't necessarily an "emergency management" issue, but it was something I thought was important and relevant nonetheless. Most people are changing their lightbulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL's). If every household in the US replaced just one conventional lightbulb with CFL, the US would save $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more that 800,000 cars!

However, CFL's do contain trace amounts of mercury, which is a dangerous neurotoxin, especially for young children, babies and pregnant women. Therefore, you should take special care when cleaning up a broken bulb and disposing of a used one.

How to clean up a broken CFL bulb:

1. Open a window before cleaning up, and turn off any forced-air heating or air conditioning.

2. Instead of sweeping or vacuuming, which can spread the mercury around, scoop up the glass fragments and powder. Use sticky tape to pick up remaining glass fragments or powder. Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or wet wipes.

3. Dispose of the broken bulb through your local household hazardous waste program or recycling program (at Waste Control in Kelso).

4. Wash your hands well after cleaning up.

5. If vacuuming is needed afterwards, when all visible materials have been removed, vacuum the area and dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag. For the next few times you vacuum, turn off any forced-air heating or air conditioning and open a window before doing so.

Don't throw used CFL's in the garbage where it might break en-route to the landfill and release mercury. Instead, recycle it. You can take bulbs to Waste Control in Kelso or to Home Depot. You can also visit to find the drop-off place nearest to you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Drop, Cover, Hold Drill Coming Up on Wednesday

April is Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month. Citizens, schools and businesses are encouraged to conduct an earthquake drill this month. The statewide Drop, Cover and Hold Drill will be held on Wednesday, April 20th at 9:45 a.m. For more information on State Disaster Preparedness Month, check out the Washington State Emergency Management Division website here.

Why do emergency management officials ask you to practice drop, cover and hold? Because while you're practicing cowering under your desk with your head covered, we plan on stealing everyone's purse or wallet. Of course I'm kidding, we almost never do that.

But seriously, why is it important to do a Drop, Cover, Hold drill? As with anything, to react quickly, you must practice and make this reaction like second-nature. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down--or drops something on your head. For more information on what to do in an earthquake, check out

Grow Your Own Groceries!

The Healthy Homes Program, Cowlitz on the Move on the Highlands Neighborhood Association are hosting a free gardening presentation featuring Master Gardener Glen Andresen.

Attendees will learn how to grow an inexpensive, natural food garden. The presentation will be on Wednesday, May 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at St. Helens Elementary School at 431 27th Avenue in Longview. Come enjoy refreshments and gardening tips! For more information call 414-5581.

Once your garden yields a bumper crop, you should can the extras for long-term food storage. Cheap, easy, healthy food for your disaster kit--it's a win-win!

Are We Experiencing an Earthquake Cluster?

Two U.S. Geological Survey scientists contend that the Japan quake bolsters their idea that the planet is experiencing a spasm of great earthquakes, its second since 1900. Are more large-scale earthquakes coming? Check out the link to learn more about earthquake clusters. There is also more information on earthquake clusters in this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Text Alert Helps Find Kidnap Victim and Suspect

Just another example of how new technology can help disseminate emergency information! On Monday, an 8-year-old girl in Federal Way disappeared from the playground prompting her mother to call police, who in turn issued an Amber Alert.

A store clerk at a Target store in Federal Way noticed 28-year-old Benjamin Trinh shopping for clothes with the missing 8-year-old girl, acting strangely, and recognized the girl from an Amber Alert text that was sent to her smartphone earlier that day. Police arrested Trinh within 24 hours thanks to the clerk’s help. For more on the story, check out KOIN Channel 6 website here.

You don't have to have a smartphone to get our emergency texts. All you have to do is have a cellphone capable of receiving texts (most are). All you have to do is type 40404 into the "To" section (as in, that's who the message will be sent to) and type Follow CowlitzDEM in the body of the text. If you decide that you no longer want to receive emergency alerts, simply type Unfollow CowlitzDEM and send to 40404.

Don't worry that we will be cluttering up your text inbox. We only send out important information, so it may be weeks or months in between alerts. This is a good thing!

Cool Thing of the Week!

My cool thing of the week is the “Dog Gone It Emergency Pet Kit” and the “Cat-astrophe Kit.” I think they’re cool, not just because of their fantastic names, but because it’s everything you need in one bucket to help keep your pets prepared. I have purchased these from, click here for the exact link.

These buckets include food and water with a 5-year shelf life, a pet first-aid kit, collapsible food and water dishes, a leash, a harness, nylon rope, an emergency blanket, light sticks, bio-hazard bags, toys, a can opener and a pet-emergency plan template. With the exception of a crate or kennel, this is pretty much everything you need in one bucket! The costs range from $45-59, but it's well worth it for the peace of mind. These would work great both for sheltering in place and something to easily grab in the event of an evacuation. If you have a high-maintenance pet that has to eat special food, I'd throw some of that in there as well as a toy that they have played with. If it's a previously-loved toy it will have their scent on it and make them feel more at ease.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Phoning It In

While we're on the subject of phones and 9-1-1 and disasters, here are a few communications tips.

*Following a major disaster, do not call 9-1-1 unless your life or the lives of those around you are in danger.

*If there has been an earthquake, do not call 9-1-1 to tell them that there has been an earthquake. Trust me, they already know. Do not call to ask them when the shaking will stop. The fact that I mention these scenarios should give you a hint that they have happened in the past. In a major emergency, the 9-1-1 system can be brought down by too many calls. Informational numbers concerning power outages, water problems, shelters, etc will be established and posted for the community following a major disaster.

*Know your location! Dispatchers can not automatically detect your location if you are calling from a cell phone. It depends on what kind of phone you are calling from and how good the Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping is in your location. If you are calling from a landline, they can identify the origin of the call, but not the exact location. So, if you were in large building, like a school or office building, it wouldn't say exactly where you are (3rd floor, room 210 for example.)

*If you have a VOIP phone system (like Vonage, MagicJack or Skype), your 9-1-1 calls may be routed differently. Please click this FCC link to learn more about this.

*If the power goes out, cordless phones or phones tied to an electrically dependent base will not work. Have a spare, corded-type phone available to plug directly into the phone jack.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Or, in short, thanks 9-1-1 dispatchers! Each year the second week in April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. Our 9-1-1 dispatchers are responsible for handling all 9-1-1 emergency calls generated in Cowlitz County. Many people are not aware that they also handle the receipt, disposition, and the documentation of telephone and radio calls in both routine and emergency matters for Law Enforcement and Fire Services. These are busy people!

The Cowlitz County 9-1-1 Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is the responsibility of the dispatcher to accurately, and quickly, identify the nature of your call and assist in solving the problem.

In case you've ever wrestled with the question of whether or not to call 9-1-1, ask yourself these questions:

What is the level of urgency?
Is there a danger to life and property?
Is someone the victim of a crime?
Do you have a police emergency?
Does the caller or someone else have an immediate medical emergency?
Does the caller need the fire department?

If the public safety situation is urgent and has the potential of escalating by not making the call, the choice should be to contact 9-1-1. If you should call 9-1-1 by accident, DO NOT hang up. Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is all right. If you don't, the dispatcher is required to find out the situation and send a police officer to the location from which the call originated.

If you need help, but it is not an immediate emergency, you can call the non-emergency line at (360) 577-3090. When you make a 9-1-1 call, dispatchers will ask you several questions. Please don't take offense and scream at them to just get you help. When an emergency call comes in, one dispatcher will gather information, while another dispatcher dispatches the call to fire and/or paramedics. Answering questions and giving the appropriate information is not slowing down response time.

Dispatchers are trained to get as much information as possible to best determine the nature of the problem. The information that you provide can assist officers in determining what they will need in order to keep others safe and out of harms way. Also, please realize that the dispatchers are trained to perform many tasks at once. If they ask you to hold, it is because they are dispatching help to you! For more information about our local 9-1-1 Communications Center, click here.

If you do need to call 9-1-1, remember give the dispatchers "LIP", by that I mean:

LOCATION: Your exact location
IDENTITY: Your name and call back number
PROBLEM: Brief, exact description of the incident

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week 4 Shopping List!

It’s time for week 4 of our preparedness shopping trip adventures! I hope you’re ready for another scintillating shopping list. If you’ve been following these posts, you should already have containers, water, food and the like. Now it’s time to add in some helpful tools and utensils that will be necessary to help you thrive in a disaster.
* 2 packages of eating utensils, paper cups and paper plates
* 2 rolls of paper towels
* 4 rolls of toilet paper
* Liquid dish soap
* Matches (waterproof is a good idea)
* Latex or Nitrile gloves
* Unscented liquid bleach (for water purification or other cleaning)

If you take the time to shop around at dollar stores, canned food warehouses or other discount-type establishments, you could get all this for under $20. Shelling out a crisp Jackson now could make you very thankful later!

If your waterlines have been damaged and the water needs to be purified there are two ways to do this. If you have electricity or have a butane burner, you can bring the water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes. If you do not have electricity you can use household liquid bleach (not scented or colorsafe). Add 16 drops (like from a medicine dropper, not 16 pours) per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blame Somebody Else Day

Tomorrow, April 13th, is National Blame Somebody Else Day. This is true, the Internet says so and everything on the Internet is true, right? Regardless, I think this is a "holiday" that too many people observe following a disaster. It's quick and easy to blame the government for not wrapping you in bubble wrap and rainbows and not protecting you from something you probably could have protected yourself from. It's easy to blame city planners, law enforcement, fire fighters, God, Zeus, global warming, hip-hop music, Mother Nature, Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers or Neptune for the the fallout of a natural disaster.

Just like any good mother, when hearing a rationale such as this, I'm tempted to scream, "I don't care whose fault it is, now you're BOTH in trouble!" Might as well take responsibility for yourself and your family and start learning more about disaster preparedness. I'm not saying you need a fallout shelter, a 10-year supply of food and a bunker full of ammunition. Although, that's cool too. No, I'm just suggesting that you find out more about what to do in an earthquake, what to do if there's a long-term power outage, how to create a sweet 72-hour kit for yourself, what kind of hazards should you be concerned about, and so on. Luckily for you, all this info is just a click away.

Now, if I'm preaching to the choir here, you might want to take a minute to ask your friends and family about their preparedness level and maybe give them some tips. You don't have to do it in a creepy, "Sit down Aunt Bea, we need to talk," intervention-style way. Just bring up some recent events, "Hey, that stuff in Japan was crazy right? What kind of emergency supplies and plans do you have?" See, easy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Free Document Shredding

Start your spring cleaning! The Anti-Fraud Coalition of Cowlitz County is teaming up with LeMay Shredding Co. to help you dispose of sensitive documents. The Free Shredding Day will be on Friday, April 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Safeway parking lot on Ocean Beach Hwy in Longview. You can shred up to 4 medium sized boxes of documents. Canned food and donations will also be accepted for Lower Columbia CAP.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

SR4 Reopened - For Now

Washington State Department of Transportation reports that there are no traffic alerts on SR4 and it is opened to two-way traffic.

According to, work will resume next week along with lane closures. TDN reports:

"In the coming week, there will be one lane open at the slide site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday while workers continue to remove debris and stabilize the steep cliff to prevent future slides. Two lanes will be open 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and weekends."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Things that are Cool, Vol. 3

The preparedness plans found at are my cool thing of the week. This website makes family emergency planning so easy! They have templates you can print and fill out or forms you can complete online. If the thought of sitting down and figuring out what information you need to put in a plan makes you crazy, these forms will calm you right down. There’s no excuse NOT to fill them out! The website has tons of great features about putting together a kit, emergency resources, as well as a fun and interactive section just for kids. All of their information can be easily translated into 12 different languages, so if you prefer to get your preparedness info in French or Tagalog, this is the website for you. There is also a separate section for business owners to help with disaster preparedness planning. Take a minute and check it out!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ham--it's not just for Easter Dinner

Ham is delicious, but it is not terribly helpful for emergency communications. I'm talking about Ham Radio, officially known as "amateur radio." Amateur radio is the licensed and private use of designated radio bands, for purposes of communications. Ham radio is not only a terrific hobby, but also incredibly useful in emergencies when all other sources of communication are down. Following a large-scale earthquake, don't count on your home phone, cell phone or Internet to be operating smoothly.

When all of these fail, ham radio is there to save the day. To learn more about the specifics of ham radio, click here. Many of our local ham radio operators are part of a Ham Radio Emergency Service group that provides emergency communication services to Cowlitz County. Our local ham radio volunteers are absolutely integral to our success in emergency response and recovery! To find out more about our local radio club, check out their website here.

There are a few steps to take to become a ham radio operator. Fortunately, memorizing Morse code is no longer one of them! In the US, there are 3 license levels, or "license classes." These licenses are granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). To learn more about the levels, check out this website here which also has links to study materials. If you are interested in finding out more about HAM radio or would like to sign up for future training classes, please contact our office at 577-3130 or send us an email at

Another Preparedness Class Coming Up

There will be a FREE "Cooking in the Dark" disaster preparedness class on April 21st at Kalama's Todd Road Fire Station (415 Todd Road) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To register for this class, and to see a selection of other upcoming preparedness classes from Simple-Safety, click here The class is filling up really quickly so it's important to register right away. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in learning more about long-term food and water storage, living without electricity and other crucial disaster survival skills.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Disaster Shopping List, Week 3

It’s Wednesday, time for your Week 3 shopping list mission! So, if you’ve been faithfully reading and following my advice, you should now have containers, water, food and other various and sundry items. So, now comes week 3 and it’s time for some more food to keep your family nourished in case of an emergency. As you roam the aisles in search of bargains this week, throw in these extra items for your emergency kit (adjust the quantities for your family’s needs):

1 jar of Jam or jelly
1 jar Peanut butter
Box(es) of saltine crackers
Bags of beef jerky
Large can(s) of juice (and a manual can opener)
Instant coffee/tea/powdered drinks (hello TANG!)
Consider keeping a few loaves of bread in the freezer and rotating them every few months

All of these won’t cost a fortune and will keep you fed when the lights are out. The amounts of food given are for a family of 3-4. Obviously, if your family is larger, you probably want to consider more food. Unless…Donner…party of 8….?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chance of Snow at 1000 feet

I told you guys not to trust the groundhog's weather prediction. According to the doom and gloomers at the Portland National Weather Service, it appears low-level snow may come to our area with a prediction of 1,500 feet on Wednesday and 1,000-1,500 feet through Thursday. This may only lead to a light dusting of snow locally, but could affect driving conditions and have public safety impacts. Snow is also likely in the Cascade Foothills and the coastal mountains of Southwest Washington late tonight (Tuesday) through Thursday. Those flip flops and shorts are going to have to stay in the attic for a few more weeks..... Click here for the special weather statement from the National Weather Service.

Sheltering Operations and Simulation Class

There will be a free Red Cross Emergency Shelter class coming up this Saturday, April 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at LifeWorks, 906 New York in Longview. This class teaches how to work in a Red Cross emergency shelter and includes time for a shelter simulation activity. If you are interested in attending, please contact Julia Bishop at 270-9227 or Kelly Anderson at (360) 693-5821 x105.

Update on Rock Slide on SR4

We have received updated information regarding the rock slide on State Route 4, there is now no estimated time of reopening. The road is closed in both directions due to a large landslide blocking the highway near Germany Creek Road (milepost 50). Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) geotechnical engineers are enroute from Olympia to assess the hillside and determine whether crews can safely begin clearing the slide.

Rockslide on SR4

There is a large rockslide on SR-4 near milepost 50 at Germany Creek Road. DOT crews are onscene and traffic control is in place. Currently both lanes are blocked, but it is anticipated that one lane may be cleared in a few hours. We will update the blog when more information is available.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Things that are Cool, part 2

You’ll be a fool every day of the year, if you don’t invest in this $1.50’s worth of safety. (Get it, cuz it’s April Fool’s Day, yes?) Anyway, this 5-in-1 survival whistle from Emergency Essentials is a great buy for your emergency kit, camping gear or to keep in your car. It is not only a shrill whistle, but also has a compass, a signal mirror, flint firestarter and the top comes off so you can keep matches in it. Instead of matches, I’d keep some Valium in it in case I had to stay at an emergency shelter with a bunch of strangers, knowwhatimean? I’m kidding. Mostly.

A whistle is one of the BEST things you can keep with you for several reasons. You use a lot less air blowing a whistle than screaming your head off, plus it’s way louder. I keep one in my desk drawer in case I’m trapped under rubble after an earthquake. The likelihood of the entire Sheriff’s Office collapsing on my head in an earthquake is pretty much a foregone conclusion, so a whistle makes me feel a smidgen better. Well, half a smidgen anyway. I don’t know how to use a compass, but I’m sure it could come in handy in some emergency situation. Obviously, I’d be the last one picked for the hiking team.

I’m sure you could also pick up something similar locally at Bob’s, Survival Bunker or at REI. Check back next week for another cool thing.