The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Zombie Preparedness Tips

It's Halloween! What better way to say Happy Halloween than to unveil our Zombie Preparedness Tips. Please, won't you share these with your loved ones so they, too, will be prepared when the zombies invade? Although, if you don't share these tips, that ups your chances of survival doesn't it? Hmm...a Halloween moral quandary...

So, how can you best prepare yourself and your family to survive the inevitable zombie invasion? Here are recommended items to include in a basic zombie prep kit:

WATER: Did you know that zombies HATE water? Well, they do. It’s best to store at least one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days.
FOOD: It’s not safe to roam the streets in search of Big Macs or Mocha-chip Frappacinos during a zombie invasion. Make sure you have enough food on hand (that can be prepared without electricity) to feed your family for at least three days.
LIGHT: Zombies are creatures of the night, hence, they have a great disdain for light. Have plenty of battery-powered flashlights and extra batteries on hand. It’s also a great idea to have an LED headlamp to keep your hands free to protect your brains, if needed.
FIRST AID KIT: Have a comprehensive first aid kit and guide to basic first aid procedures. Be sure to treat any zombie bites with antibacterial gel immediately….before it’s too late.
WHISTLE: This is a great way to signal for help. Also, zombie ears cannot handle the pitch of a whistle and will stay far away.
DUST MASK: Zombies smell positively putrid, this should help with the stench as well as being useful against airborne contagions, chemicals or volcanic ash.
HYGIENE SUPPLIES: towelettes or baby wipes, garbage bags, hand sanitizer and feminine hygiene supplies. Zombies hate cleanliness and sanitary conditions.
TOOLS: Leatherman tool, wrench, foldable shovel, ax….you know why.
LOCAL MAPS: If you have to exit your zombie-occupied neighborhood in a hurry, it might be nice to know alternate ways around known infestation areas. Also, learn how to read a map. Consider purchasing a compass. Also, consider learning how to use a compass, if you don’t already know.

Prescription medications, glasses, diapers, pet food, cash...anything specific to you and your family that you might need if you had to evacuate quickly or be stuck in your home for an untold amount of time.

Our recommendation is to have two kits. One “STUCK AT HOME” Kit and one “GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE” Kit. The “stuck at home kit” should have plenty of items to keep your family comfortable and safe to stay in your home for a minimum of three days, perhaps without electricity.

The “gotta go” kit should be in a backpack, easily portable and have supplies that you would need to be comfortable and safe away from home. A “gotta go” kit is perfect for keeping in the car. Most people are never far from their vehicle and, in the case of sudden zombie occupation, you can get up and go with your gear already packed. Refuse to be a tasty zombie-snack—get yourself ready TODAY!

But how will I know if the zombies have come?

There are several ways to get emergency information.
* Listen to local radio stations for emergency updates.
* Watch Portland news stations.
* Read The Daily News or check it out free online at
* Subscribe to our blog at
* Follow us on Twitter: @CowlitzDEM and @CowlitzDEMChat
* Be our fan on Facebook to get updates on your page:
* Sign up for emergency text alerts by texting Follow CowlitzDEM to the number 40404.
* Register your cell phone to receive emergency messages from our ECNS system by visiting our website at

But seriously, Cowlitz County Emergency Management encourages citizens to be prepared for any emergency event--whether it is zombies or the more likely severe winter storm, flood, chemical spill, technological interruption or earthquake. It’s a good idea for everyone to be ready for whatever disaster or emergency comes our way!

There’s one foolproof weapon that will always defeat zombies. Be sure to keep it sharp!! What is it? Your brain of course!

Further Info on EAS Test (ASL & Spanish also)

More from FEMA's Blog
Administrator Fugate and FEMA’s Neil McDevitt explain the test in American Sign language:

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Here's a video in Spanish to share:

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FEMA has been actively engaged with our partners at the Federal Communications Commission, our state, tribal, territorial and local partners, the broadcast community, and other key stakeholders in getting ready for this test. We hope that you will help us spread the word about the Emergency Alert System test by sharing these videos on your websites – or with your communities.

Copy the above code or embed the video from our YouTube channel.

You can read our blog post when we first announced the EAS Test and visit the FCC website for more information about the test, including additional answers to some frequently asked questions.

Emergency Alert System

Help Us Spread the Word – On November 9, “This is Just a Test”
Published by: Public Affairs

Over the past few months, we have written on this blog about the upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, which is now less than two weeks away. The test will take place on Wednesday, November 9th at 2:00 pm eastern standard time (11:00 Pacific Time), and will be the first time this system, which is often tested and used by officials at the local level, will be tested across the entire country.

The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system can be activated by the President, if needed, to provide information to the American public during emergencies. NOAA’s National Weather Service, governors, and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts. The test is an important exercise in ensuring that the system is effective in communicating critical information to the public in the event of a real national emergency. It is a critical communications tool that can provide alerts, warning and information rapidly across multiple television and radio platforms.

Our top priority is to make sure that all members of the public know that this test is coming up – and that it is just a test. For most of us, this test will look and sound very similar to the local tests of the Emergency Alert System that we often see on TV or hear on the radio.

But as we always say here at FEMA, we’re just part of the team – and we’re counting on all of you to help us spread the word in your communities, with your co-coworkers, neighbors, friends and loved ones.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Are Zombies and Emergency Management the Perfect Match?

Um, duh...what have I been trying to tell you all for the past 5 years?!

Check out this great article from Emergency Management Magazine about the beautiful marriage between zombies and emergency managers. Metaphorical marriage, of course, a literal zombie marriage still being illegal in most states.

Click here for the gory, brains filled details.

Text Alerts for AT&T Customers

If you have signed up to receive DEM text alerts and did NOT receive a text regarding a missing 18-month old on Tuesday or about traffic lights being out on Wednesday, you may need to opt out of the program and opt in again. We've had some AT&T customers not receive messages lately and some sort of update seems to be the issue.

So, to opt out: Text Unfollow CowlitzDEM to the number 40404. (I realize "unfollow" is not a grammatically correct word and trust me, it hurts me more than it hurts you).

Then, wait a minute and text Follow CowlitzDEM to the number 40404. You should receive a welcome text that says something about Twitter. Just delete that. You may also receive the last text that we sent out.

This seems to just be an issue for AT&T customers. If you have questions, please feel free to give us a call at 577-3130 or send an email to

Now, if you haven't signed up to receive emergency texts.... I am looking at you with a disapproving look. To stop said disapproving look, simply text Follow CowlitzDEM to the number 40404. Voila! As Ryan Seacrest constantly says on American Idol, "Standard text messaging rates, please contact your carrier for more information." And by that, Ryan means if you do not have free incoming texts with your plan, texts may cost a small fee.

Small Earthquake Reported under Mt. St. Helens

A small earthquake occurred under Mt. St. Helens early this morning. For more, click here.

Flood Fight Class

From our friends at CRESA:
On Tuesday, November 1, there will be two unique opportunities to learn or refresh your skills on being prepared to actively fight floods in Clark County. Les Miller, from the Army Corps of Engineers, will be providing classroom and hands-on instruction on how to fill, haul and properly place sandbags. Classes will be held from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at the Clark County Public Works facility at 4700 NE 78th ST, Vancouver, WA 98665.

This class is good for any community member, volunteer or first responder. If you plan to attend this class, we encourage you to dress in appropriate clothing for the weather, including work gloves and good footwear as you will be outside for portions of this class. It is also helpful to bring your own shovel. This event will be held RAIN or SHINE and there is no need to pre-register. Just show up and learn how to help yourself or help someone else.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Psychological First Aid II Class

The second installment of the Psychological First Aid class will be held Thursday, November 3rd from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the General Meeting Room (3rd Floor) of the Cowlitz County Administration Bldg (207 N. 4th Avenue in Kelso).

You need to have taken either Psychological First Aid Part I or CERT Disaster Psychology as a prerequisite for this class.

If you are interested, please call us at 577-3130 or email to sign up.

Cowlitz Dive Rescue looking for volunteers

The Cowlitz County Dive Rescue Team is taking applications between November 1st and December 20th for Rescue Divers and Line Tenders/Surface Support. Applicants must be available 24/7 and have no felonies.

If you would like to be a part of a dynamic volunteer organization, please call the Department of Emergency Management at (360) 577-3130 during business hours.

Great weather outlook....

....if you're a duck. If you're not a duck or a soggy-weather enthusiast, then you might be less than excited over the National Weather Service winter weather outlook. For all the gory details, click here.

In a nutshell:
--Wetter than average precipitation expected
--Cooler than average temperatures
--Above normal snow in the Cascades

So, to prepare for the long, soggy winter ahead, I propose making sure you have the following:

1. Well stocked disaster supply kit for staying at home in case roads are washed out. Make sure you have plenty of emergency lighting and heat options.

2. Well stocked evacuation kit if you live in a low-lying area. Make sure it's stocked with warm clothes, extra medications and anything you might need if you had to be away from home for a few days.

3. Copious amounts of hot chocolate mix and marshmallows.

4. Plane tickets to a tropical destination, preferably for February or March when YOU JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

5. If you can't afford the previous, pop some Vitamin D and have someone shine an LED flashlight in your face while warming you with a hair dryer and simultaneously spraying "Hawaiian Aloha" scented Febreze. It's almost like a warm, tropical breeze. Almost.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Skywarn Weather Spotter Training

There are two upcoming Skywarn Weather Spotter Training Classes in November. The National Weather Services teaches this class periodically to people with an interest in severe weather spotting. The Skywarn program is voluntary, you will be trained on weather events similar to those listed in the Severe Weather Spotter Guide, and you may have the opportunity to call in several times a month depending on the weather pattern in your area.

The National Weather Service may also call you for "ground truth" as to what is actually happening near your house. Most likely their call would be to confirm an element of potentially severe thunderstorms, like large hail, or damaging wind. Other calls may be to verify heavy snowfall or peak wind speed associated with large winter storms.

There will be a class held in Battle Ground on Wednesday, November 2nd from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Clark County Fire and Rescue Dollars Corner Station #26, 21609 NE 72nd Ave, Battle Ground.

There will also be a class held in Kelso on Tuesday, November 15th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Cowlitz County Search & Rescue Rizad Building at 1800 Western Lane.

To register for the Cowlitz County class, please call 577-3130 or email

Both classes are FREE and are great learning opportunities. Even if you choose not to be a Weather Spotter volunteer, you still get great information about weather and meteorology and you can annoy your friends and family with scientific weather facts. Yay!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Frosty times ahead....

From the PDX National Weather Service






More Great Ideas

Well, it looks like my previous post brought out all the readers with great ideas! Here are tips from our lovely readers:

Purchase head lamps. You can get them at Home Depot - 3 to a pack. They are inexpensive and worth it. They strap on your head like a head band. Elastic. If you have to go anywhere in the dark, it frees your hands up to carry things or keep balance, and every where you look, you get light! The Home Depot head lamps also have a flashing light option on them. You can turn that on, if you need someone to locate you in the dark! I thought these were my greatest find!

For the house, I swear by Lamp Oil lamps. I have 6! One for every room and plenty of lamp oil for them. They burn nicely and bright as needed.

Here's another: These solar powered side walk lights that people get at WalMart, etc., to place along their sidewalks or driveways for a little light at night make great flash lights in an emergency.

Great and practical ideas! If you have a great idea that you've used in your emergency preparations--feel free to send us an email at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Ideas

Every once in awhile, a loyal reader will send in some good tips or ideas that they use in their emergency planning. Here's some great tips I thought I'd share--courtesy of Barb!

Barb has cordless phones in her house, but she keeps a corded phone in a basket on top of the dryer, right near the phone jack that she'd be using.

Miss Smarty Pants also keeps Emergency Light Packs in Ziploc bags in every room.
In it, she keeps a flashlight, several candles, and matches in a place where she could easily find it in the dark.

I'm definitely going to be using the Emergency Light Pack idea. Way to go Barb!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shred Day

Cowlitz County Credit Unions want to help you fight identity theft by offering a free shredding event! This Saturday, October 22nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can bring up to three boxes of paperwork to be shredded at the Fibre Federal Operations Center at 796 Commerce Avenue in Longview.

They will also be accepting non-perishable food items for the Nourish our Neighbors food drive.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Need a Corded Phone??

As I'm sure you know, if you have a landline and only have cordless phones, you won't be able to use them when the lights go out. That's why you should have a corded phone somewhere in your house, even if you only pull it out when the lights go out.

If you don't have one and are putting off getting one because you don't want to pay $15 dollars for something you may only use every 5 years, you're in luck. I was at the Rite Aid in Kelso today and in the sale bins up front they have corded phones (sleek slim design--oh la la!!) on clearance for $2.75. Score!

PUD Senior Fair Tomorrow

Stop by the PUD Auditorium tomorrow (October 13th) between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for their Senior Fair! It's going to be a great event with lots of vendors, information and FREE CFL lightbulbs. The only thing better would be if they gave away free coffee and cookies. WHAT?! They're giving away free coffee and cookies? Count me in!

Check out the flyer here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Special Weather Statement - Cold Air Funnels

Per National Weather Service

... Unstable air mass today may produce cold core funnel clouds...

The air mass over northwest Oregon and southwest Washington is cool and unstable today due to the recent passage of a cold front. This pattern can produce cold air funnel clouds. These funnel clouds do not usually touch the ground. However... if they do touch the ground they are dangerous and can be damaging. We have seen rotation in some of the showers this morning on the National Weather Service Doppler radar. So keep an eye on the sky today and please pass on any reports of funnel clouds you may have.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Take Winter By Storm

Do you want to know everything there is to know about winter weather safety? Do you want free printable emergency prep checklists and emergency contact cards? Do you want the option to read the information in a variety of languages? Of COURSE you do!!

Well, lucky for you there is a fantastic website called Take Winter By Storm where you can do all of those things! It's even specifically for residents of Western Washington, which makes it even better since we are a special breed of American. Off topic, have you seen the new Pemco Insurance Ads about Washingtonians? If not, check them out here, they are hysterically funny and right on target. I know I fall into a few of those categories.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keep Search & Rescue Donations Local

Cowlitz County residents have reported receiving fundraising solicitation calls and mailers from a group claiming to be with Cowlitz County Search & Rescue. This report has been researched and none of the search and rescue groups that support Cowlitz County are involved in this solicitation. It appears that this group operates from outside the county even though they have a mail drop in Longview.

Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson recommends that citizens support their local search and rescue groups. Donations can be made to the Cowlitz County SAR Council, c/o Cowlitz County Emergency Management, 312 SW First, Kelso, WA 98626.

If you have any questions please contact Grover Laseke at Cowlitz County Emergency Management at 360-577-3130 or by e-mail at

Monday, October 3, 2011

National Animal Safety Month

October is National Animal Safety Month! Don't let an emergency or natural disaster take you and your pet by surprise. Your pets depend on you to be ready! If you need some help, here are some tips to help get started. From the ASPCA website:

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

•Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
•Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
•Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
•Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

Keep an evacuation kit and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

•Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include, or visit the ASPCA Store to buy one online)
•3-7 days' worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
•Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
•Litter or paper toweling
•Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
•Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
•Pet feeding dishes
•Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
•Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
•Bottled water, at least 7 days' worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
•A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
•Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
•Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)
•Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
•Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner.

You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.