The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Senior Connections Fair

The Fifth Annual Regional Senior Connections Fair is coming up on Wednesday, May 2nd at the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso.  This year’s theme is “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow:  Celebrate It, Enjoy It and Embrace It!”  Statistics show us repeatedly that Senior Citizens who remain active and involved with their communities live longer, healthier lives. 

The Regional Senior Connections Fair is the perfect place to learn more about local agencies, products and services available to help seniors get the most out of life.  The fair will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is free.  Come join us for information, fun, prizes, entertainment and much, much more!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Missing Kalama teen found!

Brandon Carter has been located and reunited with his family!

Missing Teenager in Kalama

There is a missing 17 year old autistic teenager in Kalama, last seen in the 5400 block of Meeker Drive this afternoon.  Brandon Carter is white, 6'3, 145 pounds.  He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, a brown jacket, black shoes and a black stocking cap with "Kalama Auto Parts" on it.  If you see Brandon, please call 9-1-1 immediately. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Website helps you "Make it Through"

Several emergency management agencies and sponsors have released a new preparedness campaign, "What to Do to Make it Through."  Take a minute to check out their website here or follow them on Twitter @MakeItThroughWA or on Facebook

Friday, April 13, 2012

Small Plane Flips Over on Beach Landing

News Release from: Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office SMALL PLANE FLIPS OVER ON BEACH LANDING

Posted: April 13th, 2012 4:36 PM

Kalama, WA-A small, Cessna-type airplane flipped over while doing touch-n-go's on a Columbia River island beach.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, Cowlitz Dive Rescue, Kalama Police, Kalama Fire and the Columbia County Oregon Sheriff's Office all responded to a report to a plane crash into the river at around 3:20, Friday afternoon. The report stated that a four-passenger plane had hit the water and flipped over and was floating in the river.

When the rescue boats arrived, they learned that the pilot had been doing touch-n-go's on the south end of Cottonwood Island on the beach. The pilot, who is out of Yacolt, WA, took off from his property there, and flew to the area of Cottonwood Island. There, he began the landing and take off maneuver which is done recreationally in a specially equipped aircraft. The plane is outfitted with large, oversize rubber tires that are designed to facilitate beach landings.

"It seems that we get a couple of these per year, it seems. This is a form of recreation for these pilots, but when one flips over, it certainly gets folks excited." Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson

"We're just really happy that the pilot wasn't injured. Obviously, the Lord was watching over this gentleman this afternoon." Sheriff Mark Nelson

The Coast Guard also responded and the information was turned over to the FAA.

A Tribute to Dispatchers

We borrowed this fantastic post from our good friends at Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency.  From CRESA Blog
A Tribute to Dispatchers

This tribute was written in 1994 in one of the early years of officially recognizing Public Safety Telecommunicators. Its sentiments are still relevant today (even if some of the references are dated).

By Chief Thomas Wagoner

Loveland (Colorado) Police Department

Someone once asked me if I thought that answering telephones for a living was a profession. I said, "I thought it was a calling."

And so is dispatching. I have found in my law enforcement career that dispatchers are the unsung heroes of public safety. They miss the excitement of riding in a speeding car with lights flashing and sirens wailing. They can only hear of the bright orange flames leaping from a burning building. They do not get to see the joy on the face of worried parents as they see their child begin breathing on its own, after it has been given CPR.

Dispatchers sit in darkened rooms looking at computer screens and talking to voices from faces they never see. It's like reading a lot of books, but only half of each one.

Dispatchers connect the anxious conversations of terrified victims, angry informants, suicidal citizens and grouchy officers. They are the calming influence of all of them-the quiet, competent voices in the night that provide the pillars for the bridges of sanity and safety. They are expected to gather information from highly agitated people who can't remember where they live, what their name is, or what they just saw. And then, they are to calmly provide all that information to the officers, firefighters, or paramedics without error the first time and every time.

Dispatchers are expected to be able to do five things at once-and do them well. While questioning a frantic caller, they must type the information into a computer, tip off another dispatcher, put another caller on hold, and listen to an officer run a plate for a parking problem. To miss the plate numbers is to raise the officer's ire; to miss the caller's information may be to endanger the same officer's life. But, the officer will never understand that.

Dispatchers have two constant companions, other dispatchers and stress. They depend on one, and try to ignore the other. they are chastened by upset callers, taken for granted by the public, and criticized by the officers. The rewards they get are inexpensive and infrequent, except for the satisfaction they feel at the end of a shift, having done what they were expected to do.

Dispatchers come in all shapes and sizes, all races, both sexes, and all ages. They are blondes, and brunettes, and redheads. They are quiet and outgoing, single, or married, plain, beautiful, or handsome. No two are alike, yet they are all the same.

They are people who were selected in a difficult hiring process to do an impossible job. They are as different as snowflakes, but they have one thing in common. They care about people and they enjoy being the lifeline of society-that steady voice in a storm-the one who knows how to handle every emergency and does it with style and grace; and, uncompromised competence.

Dispatchers play many roles: therapist, doctor, lawyer, teacher, weatherman, guidance counselor, psychologist, priest, secretary, supervisor, politician, and reporter. And few people must jump through the emotional hoops on the trip through the joy of one caller's birthday party, to the fear of another caller's burglary in progress, to the anger of a neighbor blocked in their drive, and back to the birthday caller all in a two-minute time frame. The emotional rollercoaster rolls to a stop after an 8 or 10 hour shift, and they are expected to walk down to their car with steady feet and no queasiness in their stomach-because they are dispatchers. If they hold it in, they are too closed. If they talk about it, they are a whiner. If it bothers them, it adds more stress. If it doesn't, they question themselves, wondering why.

Dispatchers are expected to have:

the compassion of Mother Theresa

the wisdom of Solomon

the interviewing skills of Oprah Winfrey

the gentleness of Florence Nightingale

the patience of Job

the voice of Barbara Streisand

the knowledge of Einstein

the answers of Ann Landers

the humor of David Letterman

the investigative skills of Sgt. Joe Friday

the looks of Melanie Griffith or Don Johnson

the faith of Billy Graham

the energy of Charo

and the endurance of the Energizer Bunny

Is it any wonder that many drop out during training? It is a unique and talented person who can do this job and do it well. And, it is fitting and proper that we take a few minutes or hours this week to honor you for the job that each of you do. That recognition is overdue and it is insufficient. But, it is sincere.

I have tried to do your job, and I have failed. It takes a special person with unique skills. I admire you and I thank you for the thankless job you do. You are heroes, and I am proud to work with you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Special Weather Statement

The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for possible cold air funnels.  A funnel cloud was observed near Tillamook, OR earlier this afternoon, but has since dissipated.  A cool and unstable air mass over the region could produce additional cold air funnel clouds.  These funnel clouds do not usually touch the ground.  However, if they do touch the ground they can be dangerous and damaging. 

Keep an eye on the sky today!

In other news, mentions of funnel clouds make me think of funnel cakes.  The lack of funnel cakes in my office right now make me sad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Earthquake Detected off the Coast of Oregon

There was a 5.9 magnitude earthqauke at 3:44 p.m. off the coast of Oregon.  No Tsunami Alerts have been posted.  Here is the USGS link

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

9-1-1 System to Be Upgraded

The Longview Fire Department and Cowlitz 9-1-1 have received an $800,000 grant to update their Computer Aided Dispatch System.  For all the details, check out the Daily News article here

It's National Telecommunicator Appreciation 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

Monday, April 2, 2012

Doomsday Dating

Are you looking for someone to share your concrete bunker?  A companion to help you rotate your water storage?  If you are way into disaster preparedness and looking for a mate with similar interests, you are in luck today, my friend. is the dating site you've been looking for!  Check out all the details from this article from MSN.

There's someone out there for everyone!