The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye to 2012!


"This year was characterized by extremely active and devastating weather events across the country; flooding in the Southeast as a result of Tropical Storm Debby and Hurricane Isaac, wildfires across the Midwest, and Hurricane Sandy which devastated parts of the Northeast and was the second-largest Atlantic storm on record.

As 2012 comes to a close and people make resolutions for the new year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging everyone to Resolve to be Ready in 2013 by committing to emergency preparedness.

As we have seen in 2012, including the recent severe weather affecting many parts of the country during the holidays, disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, and being prepared is one of the most effective things we can do to protect our homes, businesses and loved ones. Resolve to be Ready in 2013 is a nationwide effort to increase awareness and encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to take action and prepare for emergencies in the new year.

"Resolve to be Ready is one new year's resolution you'll want to keep," said FEMA Region IV Administrator Phil May. "There are simple steps you can take to prepare for emergencies, such as putting together an emergency supply kit and creating a family emergency plan. Taking these steps will help keep you and your family safe, and could be the most important pledge you make."

By making a resolution to take a few simple steps in advance, people can minimize the impact of an emergency on their families, homes and businesses. To take the pledge, visit which includes free information, checklists and guidelines about how to put together a kit and make a plan.

Spread the word to your loved ones and encourage them to Resolve to be Ready in 2013. Anyone can learn more by visiting or

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards."

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have a Communications Plan

Since your New Year's Resolution is to be more prepared for disaster (isn't it? it is now), why not start with a "family communications plan."  Identify a contact such as a friend or relative who lives out-of-state for household members to notify that they are safe.  After a major emergency, it is often easier to make a long-distance phone call than it is to call across town.

Be sure every member of your family knows vital land-line phone numbers as well as cell phone numbers.  Consider adding coins or a prepaid phone card to your emergency kit.  If you cell phone has an "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) contact function, program your contacts today.  If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you now. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Your Phone is Your Friend

Your wireless device (phone, iPad, Kindle Fire, whatever) is a great resource during an emergency.  Maintain a list of phone numbers--police, fire, power companies, insurance providers, friends, family and co-workers.  Make sure friends, family and your workplace have your cell-phone number and, if possible, forward your home phone to your cell-phone number if you have to be away from home or must evacuate.

Send brief text messages rather than voice calls.  Often text messages will get through when wireless networks are overwhelmed during a crisis.  Finally, limit non-emergency calls and texts to conserve battery power and free up wireless networks for vital communications.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolve to Be Ready in 2013!

Need a good New Year's Resolution?  How about being disaster ready?  Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.  In order for you and your family to be safe, planning is important.  Check out for great disaster preparedness information.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cold and Windy

According to the latest forecast from the PDX National Weather Service, it looks like our area can expect more wind today through tomorrow with gusts around 40 mph.  The wind is bringing with it a cold front that may drive snow levels down to around 500 feet early Thursday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Low Elevation Snow 12/19/12 Morning

Excerpted information below from the National Weather Service:

Another storm system will move into the region early Wednesday morning and bring another threat of low elevation snow.  The snow in the valley will begin late tonight and persist through about 9am before turning to all rain.  Snow will persist all day in the Upper Hood River Valley and Cascades and most of the day in the Columbia River Gorge.

Tomorrow’s weather system is a little different than today’s as we expect more continuous precipitation as the front moves in off the Pacific and draws cold air through the Columbia River Gorge into the northern Willamette Valley/Lower Columbia region.    


o A storm system will move into the region from the Pacific bringing precipitation to the area and some high winds to the coast. As the storm approaches, it will initially draw cold air through the Columbia River Gorge that will support snow levels lowering to the valley floor late tonight through 9am Wednesday morning. The precipitation with this storm will overrun the cold air coming out of the Columbia River Gorge resulting in some low elevation snow in the Gorge, northern Willamette Valley and Lower Columbia region.

o Valley locations north of Wilsonville have the potential to get 1 to 2 inches of snow in the early morning hours. The Columbia River Gorge will see snow most of the day as well as the elevated terrain of the Coast Range, Foothills and Cascades.


o Northern Willamette Valley/Lower Columbia: Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible after midnight to around 9am Wednesday from Wilsonville to the Kelso/Longview region. Some outlying areas in higher elevations may see up to 3 inches of snow. After 9am, the precipitation will turn to all rain.


o Some snow accumulation likely affecting travel in the valley areas during the morning commute, north of Wilsonville to the Kelso/Longview area.

o Snow causing slow travel across passes in the Coast Range and Cascades.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Strong Winds Tonight

Batten down the hatches!  Just wrapped up a weather briefing with Portland National Weather Service.  They are following a very active storm pattern that will be sending some strong, damaging winds our way.  The forecast predicts very heavy winds tonight, the strongest between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. They anticipate 30-45 mph sustained winds, with gusts from 45-60 mph in our area.  The coast will have even heavier winds around 70-85 mph.

They also put out a blizzard warning for the Cascades for very heavy snow and unusually strong winds.  Travel across the Cascades will be treacherous for the next 24 hours.

This is a good time to make sure you know where your flashlights and batteries are located and tie down anything that might fly away (like your giant inflatable Santa or the reindeer decorations on the roof).  We will update more if new information becomes available.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stormy days ahead

According to a National Weather Service forecast, our area can expect gusty winds and snow/rain mixed from tonight until Monday.  It may snow periodically in the higher elevations, but no accumulations are expected. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Safety Tips---You're Welcome

Have a safe and happy holiday season by following these safety tips:


· When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.

· When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green; needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles (watch "A Christmas Story" for a visual demonstration).

· When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.


· Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards.  Look for a label that has something along the lines of Underwriters Laboratory (UL), perhaps steer clear of things that say ACME Laberatorys of North Korea.

· Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.

· Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord (for a lesson on what not to do, I recommend viewing "Christmas Vacation" starring Chevy Chase).

· Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. Or just return your metallic tree to 1961 where it belongs.

· Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples, not nails or tacks, to hold strings in place. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).

· Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

· For added electric-shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician (not your husband's cousin-in-law Darryl from Castle Rock.  Just kidding, Castle Rock, you know I love you).


· Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.

· Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.

· In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that even marginally resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.  I have a 2 year-old, things don't even have to look tempting for him to try to eat them.

· Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.


· Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from anyone who might find them tempting to ingest, like my 2-year old.

· Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

· Have your chimney inspected every year.

· Install a carbon monoxide detector as an extra precaution.

Most tips courtesy of US Consumer Products Safety Commission, others were, you know, embellished by staff.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cool Idea

A reader sent in this cool idea for an emergency stove.  Looks like all you need is a big can, a sharp knife, some foil, some charcoal briquettes and a grate.  And, if you're me, an EMT on standby to stitch up my fingers when I slice them open.  If you are unable to see the picture, go to  If you've ever made one of these, let us know how it worked in the comments!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays....

We participated in a National Weather Service briefing this afternoon regarding heavy winds and rains tonight through Wednesday.  Fortunately for us, it seems it will be concentrated mainly in Northern Oregon.  We can expect some heavy rains and gusty winds for the next few days but, according to the forecast, will not bring any of our local rivers to flood stage. The slides are attached.  We will continue to monitor the forecast and let you know if there are any major changes that will affect our area.

This is why you need a car kit!

Check out this article about a 120-mile traffic backup that has stranded travelers for days.  A kit would come in handy in this instance.  So would a jet pack...