The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Home Depot Safety Day

Come check out the DEM Table at Home Depot's Safety Day tomorrow from 9 am to noon. We'll be there to hand out safety information and other goodies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Psychological First Aid Class

How can you best support survivors’ well-being following a disaster? Learn tips on what to say, what not to say and how to comfort people who have experienced a major crisis. Instructor Bernadette Dominguez, who has over 30 years experience in the mental health field, will teach participants about:
Psychological resilience—
What it is
Why it's the expected response
How to foster it

An overview of psychological first aid—
How to assure people are safe, secure, comfortable
How to assess if people are functioning adequately, and how to intervene when they're not
How to help people develop a plan of action

The class will be held this Thursday, September 29th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Cowlitz County Health Dept. at 1952 9th Ave in Longview. This is a great class for emergency responders, volunteers or anyone who works with people in crisis. To register for this free learning opportunity, please call Jennifer at Cowlitz County Emergency Management at 577-3130 or by email at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fibre to Let Off Some Steam

From Longview Fibre

Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc. will be undergoing a normal cleaning operation on one of its boilers on Tuesday, Sept. 27, beginning at approximately 7:30 a.m. The process is expected to conclude by the end of the day, but may carry over to the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 28.

The process includes blowing steam at various intervals throughout the day. Each steam blow will be preceded by a mill whistle. It is likely that the steam blow and mill whistle could be seen and heard in locations near to the mill. Longview wants to assure its neighbors that these events are part of normal operations, and that the sequence of events could occur as often as every half hour over the course of the day. Each sequence is expected to last two to three minutes.

Are You Ready for a Power Outage?

Yep, look out the window. It's that time of year again! Here are a few tips to get your family ready for blustery weather:

* Create a kit that contains flashlights with extra batteries and a battery-powdered radio. It is important that you know where your kit is and can easily find it in the dark. Just for kicks, you should blindfold family members and see if they can find the kit and successfully get out the flashlight. For even more fun get out the stopwatch and make it a competition!

* Cordless phones do not work without electricity, so have a corded phone on hand also.

* Know how to open your electric garage door when the power is out.

If the power goes out:

* Unplug electronics like computers, TV, microwave and don't turn them on again until lights have returned to normal brightness.

* Turn down thermostats and turn off the 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 while running. Only use barbecues or propane heaters outside.

* Leave a porch light switched on, as well as a light inside your home. That will let PUD repair crews know when service is restored.

* Report power outages to (360) 423-2210 or (800) 631-1131.

Be sure to follow Cowlitz PUD on Twitter to get updates on power outages! Click here to follow them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

CERT classes starting now in Clark County

From CRESA's Blog
Are you leaning forward towards preparing for disasters in your neighborhood or community?

Both Clark County Fire District 6 and Vancouver Fire have Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes starting very soon. The Fire District 6 class starts Thursday night, September 22 and there are only 3 spots open for this class. Classes are Thursdays 7-9:30 pm on 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20 with two Saturdays, 10/1 and 10/22.

Vancouver Fire has classes on 10/1, 10/8, 10/15 and 10/22.

Both classes are $30. Hurry as the next opportunity may not come around until next spring. Call Cindy @ 360.992.6285 for more information.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why we use social media and why it's not going away

I thought this was a great commentary on why emergency management officials are really pushing the use of social media (mainly through blogs, Twitter and Facebook).

From (Twenty First Century Communications)

Not long ago, the only way emergency managers could alert the public about emergency events was through sirens, radio and television. The amount of time to reach the public could often delay breaking news as events occurred. Emergency managers were not assured that everyone in affected areas had been contacted. With alerts going out only in one direction, it wasn't possible for emergency managers to be able to quickly assess and gauge the public's safety and well-being during those events.

Since the advent of the Internet and rapid adoption of mobile technologies such as smartphones, the public has adopted social media at a dizzying pace. Social media is another tool in the tool box for rapid emergency notification, giving emergency managers the capability of a real-time way to send urgent notifications through powerful 2-way interactions that facilitate a way for everyone to read, respond to and share the information with anyone, all within seconds.

The ability to quickly reach such a wide and diverse audience and establish dynamic 2-way communications during events was unimaginable only a few years ago.

Some CR Residents To Be Without Water Tomorrow

The city will be installing a new water main tomorrow that will affect the following streets in Castle Rock: Cedar Street NE, Kirby Avenue NE, Roake Avenue NE, Maple Street NE, Downey Court NE, Alder Street NE, Thompson Court NE, May Avenue NE, Mallory Street NE, Fowler Lane NE and Taylor Lane NE

For more details check out the Daily News article here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot Link

A faithful blog reader wanted me to share the following link with everyone: This is a forum for people interested in being well prepared for disaster and has lots of great resources, vendors and tips to help you get started or to help you strengthen the plans and supplies you already have.

Some thoughts on 9/12

The attacks on September 11th are my generation's Kennedy Assassination. People in my parents' age group can usually tell me what they were doing when they found out Kennedy was assassinated and how it changed that feeling of security, that feeling that America was somehow untouchable, charmed maybe.

That is what September 12th means to me. The 11th was surreal, the 12th was very, very real. I was 20 years old, living on my own and learning the ropes as a card carrying adult. September 12th, 2001 was when I realized America wasn't what I thought it was. It was like the first time you realized your parents didn't have all the answers, when you realized the Wizard of Oz was just a guy behind a curtain. America wasn't untouchable, wars didn't just happen to other people on the other side of the world.

This was terrifying to me as a young adult. I wasn't a child that could trust that I would be taken care of by "the grown ups." I was the grown up now. I had to not only take care of myself should attacks become more widespread, this also meant I had to really think about my decisions as a voter and as an American.

I had no control over what happened on September 11th. Neither did you. But I do have control over how I will be ready should similar events happen in the future. So do you. September 12th is a day to take control. Make a plan, make a kit, be aware of your surroundings. Use September 11th as a day to reflect and to mourn what was lost. Use today as a day to become stronger and ready to take on whatever is next.

Friday, September 9, 2011

6.7 Earthquake reported near Vancouver Island, BC

For the USGS report, click here:
That's a pretty large quake, a little too close to home....

Another Red Flag Warning Issued

The Portland National Weather Service has upgraded the Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning that includes all of Cowlitz County. The Red Flag Warning will remain in effect until Sunday evening.

A Red Flag Warning means that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation. There is still a burn ban in effect until September 30th. Click this link for more information.

If you would like more information on how to prevent wildfire and what to do if you see one, click here. Remember, every time you throw a cigarette out the window or don't properly extinguish your campfire, Smokey the Bear weeps. Have you ever seen a grown bear weep? It's awkward. Only YOU can prevent this.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Does America Have a Culture of Unpreparedness?

I thought this was a great article:

America's culture of unpreparedness

By: James Carafano 09/06/11 8:05 PM
Examiner Columnist

What happens when the lights go out? It depends.
On Nov. 9, 1965, an electrical power failure plunged Northeast America into darkness. The entire city of New York went black. Despite the inconvenience, New Yorkers passed the night quietly. The most notable fallout from the evening was a spike in births nine months later.

Contrast that with July 13, 1977, when two lightning strikes overloaded some Con Edison substations. The cascading power failure produced a blackout that lasted only one day. Yet it unleashed a night of terror and looting unseen in New York since the Civil War riots.

The moral: How Americans respond to disaster can vary greatly.

In America's most recent brush with disaster, millions lost power because of Hurricane Irene. Most seemed to bear the difficulties with a stiff upper lip, patiently waiting for the lights to come back.

Overall, the East Coast weathered this storm rather well. That's due, in large part, to the upfront work of state and local officials, who took the threat seriously. Evacuation orders were issued in a timely fashion. Precautions were taken. Stores were emptied of flashlights, batteries, propane and other power supplies that people felt they ought to have on hand in case of emergency.

But will they react as prudently and with such discipline next time? It is hard to tell. Predicting how Americans will react to a disaster is a bit like playing Russian roulette.

A culture of preparedness includes both the societal norms for preparing before a disaster and behavior demonstrated during the course of the disaster response. That response is governed by a number of factors, including culture and history.

Each nation has a unique culture of preparedness that colors how it views the challenges of public safety and disaster preparations and response. Japanese preparedness culture, for example, differs significantly from that of the United States. Japan is a much smaller country. When large disasters strike, they tend to affect the nation as a whole. The country has frequent disasters and they are of uniform character.

This uniformity makes establishing a common preparedness culture less challenging than it is in the U.S. Here, diversity reigns -- not just in terms of the makeup of the population, but also in terms of the geography affected and the scope and nature of the disasters experienced.

Perhaps because of these wide variations, Americans are more prone to "mood swings" when it comes to preparedness. How we respond reflects how we feel at the time.

Research by emergency preparedness experts shows that in the United States, people prepare for natural or man-made (technological) disasters only if they have some experience that makes them believe such disasters might actually affect them. Thus, people in Oklahoma take the threat of tornadoes seriously, and people in Florida prepare for hurricane season. Yet as the event recedes in memory, preparedness levels decline. For example, in California, as time between major earthquakes lengthens, preparedness levels drop off commensurately.

The experience of Sept. 11 did little to change this dynamic. The vast majority of Americans still pay little attention to preparedness for a terrorist attack.

What we do is a product of how we feel about our families, our friends, our neighborhoods and our communities. In America, preparedness starts at home. A culture of preparedness can only be built from the bottom up.

Building strong families, caring communities and a culture of responsibility, resilience and self-reliance is the best way to build a stronger nation. These solutions don't start in Washington. Indeed, when Washington does more, the nation often does less.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Heat Stroke--Don't Let it Happen to You!

A savvy-reader sent us a suggestion to post what to watch for to avoid heat stroke. We love our readers, so we were happy to oblige--here ya go:

Heat stroke facts

Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically, it is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. The most important measures to prevent heat strokes are to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.

Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke.

Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, two other forms of hyperthermia that are less severe, heat stroke is a true medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated. Heat stroke is also sometimes referred to as heatstroke or sun stroke. Severe hyperthermia is defined as a body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher.

The body normally generates heat as a result of metabolism, and is usually able to dissipate the heat by radiation of heat through the skin or by evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous physical exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106 F (41.1 C) or higher. Another cause of heat stroke is dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which causes the body temperature to rise.

What are heat stroke symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of heat stroke can sometimes mimic those of heart attack or other conditions. Sometimes a person experiences symptoms of heat exhaustion before progressing to heat strokes.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness.
However, some individuals can develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly and rapidly without warning.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heatstroke. Common symptoms and signs of heat stroke include:

high body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse,
difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and/or coma.

Be safe, be cool and NEVER leave anyone in a car on a hot day!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Prepare?

Because, in the words of Mike Brady (and others) "Wherever you go, there you are." In any disaster, it is friends and neighbors who are first there to lend a hand. Check out this great article "In Praise of Ordinary People" about the common individual, often an overlooked asset in disaster response.

Who is going to be first to respond to a disaster that affects you and your family? Well, YOU are! Have you learned something valuable from this experience? Bobby? Cindy? Be sure to re-read the entire post in Mike Brady's voice. It really adds a little authority to everything!

Prepare to Be Your Own Hero Class Tomorrow!

Register today to attend Simple Safety's "Prepare to Be Your Own Hero" class coming up on Thursday, Sept 8th.

This class is the foundation for all personal and family disaster planning.

The following topics will be addressed:

1.Building an Evacuation Kit
How do I design an evacuation kit for any age and ability?

2.Personal Evacuation Procedures
How do I evacuate with all the supplies I need?

3.Individual and Family Evacuation Planning
Where can I go and how can I get there?

4.Family Reunification Planning
How do I find my family if I am separated from them?

5.Evacuation with Pets
How do I evacuate with my pet and where can I go?
What if I have to leave them behind?

If you've attended the "Cooking in the Dark" class, you'll love "Prepare to Be Your Own Hero." Residents of Cowlitz County have many reasons to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice (flooding, major chemical releases, wildfires, oh and that little volcano in our backyard!).

"Prepare to Be Your Own Hero" class will be held at the Northlake Baptist Church at 2614 Ocean Beach Hwy in Longview from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on September 8th. This class is $5 per person and each registrant will receive a $5-off coupon to purchase preparedness supplies from Simple Safety.

To register for this class, click this link here and follow the directions to pay online. If you are unable to pay online, or have questions, please contact Simple Safety at 360-326-8971 or email Or you can always call our office at 577-3130.

Heat Advisory

Along with the “Red Flag Warning” transmitted by the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office (Portland, OR) is this corresponding Heat Advisory. Further information can be obtained through the NWS at: .

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water. To reduce risk during outdoor work, schedule frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Red Flag Warning Issued

The Portland National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Cowlitz and Skamania County. Dry lightning, low humidity and wind gusts to 35 mph are possible. The warning runs from midnight tonight until midnight on Wednesday. A Red Flag Warning means that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation. There is still a burn ban in effect until September 30th.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fire Weather Watch in effect starting Saturday

From Portland National Weather Service

Fire weather watch will be in effect from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon for dry and unstable conditions in the eastern side of Cowlitz County and in the Cascade Foothills

For fire prevention tips, click here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are you Veloci-ready? I am!

Today marks the first day of a very auspicious awareness month, an awareness that, quite frankly will probably save your life. Obviously, I'm talking about Velociraptor Awareness Month. To learn all about what to do when you are faced with a giant, angry, long-extinct reptile, please click here.

Many kudos to the bloggers at the Portland Red Cross for this hilarious and yet still useful post!

Dye Release in Mill & Germany Creeks Next Week

The Department of Ecology’s Intensively Monitored Watersheds study will be conducting a fluorescent dye time-of-travel study in Germany Creek and Mill Creek in Cowlitz County during the week of September 6, 2011.

The dye, Rhodamine WT, is red-orange. It is very visible at the point of injection, but disperses as it moves downstream. This is a harmless dye at the low concentrations we use, and is commonly used for this type of study. DOE tracks the dye with fluorometers installed at the upstream end and the downstream end of the reach. The fluorometers measure the concentration of the fluorescent dye, and the difference between the upstream and downstream dye concentration tells us how long it takes for the water to travel through the reach.

Now you know! Also, please note this is a "time-of-travel" study, not a "time-travel" study, which is what I thought when I first read the press release. I just wanted to save you the disappointment that I felt.