The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Have you ever thought about joining the exciting world of Amateur Radio?  Amateur Radio (or Ham Radio) has consistently been the most reliable means of communications in emergencies when other systems failed or were overloaded.

Ham radio provides the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world.

Don't you want to be part of this amazing group?  If so, the Lower Columbia Amateur Radio Association will host FCC amateur radio exams at 7:00 p.m. on May 16th at 966 Lone Oak Road in Longview.

Advance registration is required.  For details, contact Judi (K7HRW) at or 360-274-3480 to register.  For more information check out

6th Annual Regional Senior Connections Fair

Have you been wandering around aimlessly trying to find a one-stop shop for senior care information?  Well wander no more my friends!  Come to the Three Rivers Mall this Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the 6th Annual Regional Senior Connections Fair! 

There will be loads of information on senior housing, healthcare, volunteer opportunities, activities and so much more.  Enter to win lots of fabulous prizes, check out our vendors and get goodies from our wide array of participants. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

FREE Classes are coming up!

There are a couple of great disaster preparedness classes coming up at the Kelso Library this spring! Join Tricia Hornbeck on April 29th at 6:00 p.m. at the Kelso Library for a class on creating disaster supply kits, sheltering in place, cooking without electricity and more! Come back on May 6th at 6:00 p.m. to learn all about creating a food storage plan, what to store, how to store it and how to make food your family might actually enjoy even in a time of disaster!

To register, please visit the Kelso Library or call them at 423-8110.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Are You Causing a 9-1-1 Crisis?

From Washington State EMD:

Accidental 9-1-1 calls occur so often they are overloading Washington's 9-1-1 system.  A 2004 survey of Washington's counties indicated that one-half of all 9-1-1 calls from cell phones were accidentally dialed.  I have noticed this personally when I walk in to dispatch.  Not a week goes by that I don't hear an accidental 9-1-1 call and I'm rarely in the communications center so I can't imagine how many they must have in any given day. 

Cell phones can call 9-1-1 without the owner knowing that the call has been made.  Accidental 9-1-1 calls occur when the phone is placed in a pocket, belt clip or purse and the "9" or a pre-programmed emergency button is bumped.

Even cell phones without a dial tone or active service can still call 9-1-1.  Before an old cell phone is given to children to play with as a toy, REMOVE THE PHONE BATTERY.

Help prevent this growing concern.  It's as easy as 1.2.3.

1.  Lock your keypad.  If you don't know how to do this refer to your phone's user manual for instructions or ask a 6 year old to help you.  Trust me on this, I have a 6 year old.

2.  Turn off the 9-1-1 auto-dial feature.  Not all phones have this feature, so check with the user manual.

3.  Do NOT program 9-1-1 into the speed dial.

If you do accidentally dial 9-1-1, stay on the phone.  Tell the 9-1-1 operator that your call is a misdial.  Do you part and be an informed cell phone user!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cell Phone A-B-Cs for 9-1-1 Calls

From Washington State EMD

Cell phones are an important public safety tool, but they also create challenges for public safety and emergency responders.  Since 9-1-1 calls made on cell phones may not automatically provide the 9-1-1 operator your phone number and approximate location, be ready to provide this critical information.

If you are in an area where your cell phone is searching or scanning for a signal, or there is no signal, your 9-1-1 call may not go through.  If this happens, either move for a better signal or find the nearest telephone and call for help.

It is important for cell phone users calling 9-1-1 to remember some basic ABCs:

*  Always be AWARE of your surroundings.  Tell the 9-1-1 operator the location of the emergency.  Provide landmarks such as cross streets and mileposts.

BE PREPARED.  Memorize the cell phone number so it can be readily given to the 9-1-1 operator when asked.

*  Stay CONNECTED.  Do not hang up until told to do so.  If you should get disconnected, call the 9-1-1 operator back.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Interesting Article

Tech Savvy Public Plays Key Role in Hunt for Bombing Suspects:

This is an interesting article from NBC News regarding ways that technology and social media helps and hinders investigations.

Earth Day 2013

Looking for something fun to do tomorrow?  How about coming down to the Expo Center to check out Earth Day 2013!  This free event will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will feature a rock climbing wall, hands on exhibits, a farmer's market and much more.  We'll be there too!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Suspicious Package Info

From our friends at CRESA:

In light of recent high profile events, we have been asked to remind everyone to dust off your local emergency and facility safety procedures to keep yourselves and your employees safe.

1. Remember, if you see something suspicious, please say something. If the suspicious activity is in-progress, or has evidence of a crime please report it to 9-1-1 immediately.

Most incidents of interrupted terrorism are caught by alert people who are aware of their surroundings. Suspicious activity may include probing questions about security or taking pictures. You can report tips directly to the Washington State Fusion Center at this website location:

2. To review recommendations surrounding suspicious packages, remind your employees to be aware of the protective actions recommended by the U.S. Postal Service.

If you receive a suspicious letter or package:

Stop. Don’t handle.

• Isolate it immediately.

• Don’t open, smell, or taste

• Activate your emergency plan.

• Notify your manager.

If you suspect the mail or package contains a bomb (explosive), or radiological, biological, or chemical threat:

• Isolate area immediately.

• Call 9-1-1.

• Wash your hands with soap and water.

3. We have linked many of the official websites with trusted source recommendations on our website at

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

West Side Highway Update

West Side Hwy will be closed from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.Wednesday and Thursday between Fisher's Lane and Nevada Drive for tree removal.  A detour route will be posted to help drivers around the closure.  Be advised that it will add about 10 miles to the trip. 

Monday, April 15, 2013


Just a few observations following the horrific incidents at today's Boston Marathon:
*  Make sure you and your family members know how to text.  I spoke to a woman today whose daughter was a participant in the marathon and finished shortly before the explosions went off.  She was not able to get a call out to tell her family she was safe, but she was able to text for a brief time.  Texts and voice calls are routed differently.  Texts can often get through when voice calls cannot.

*  There has been talk that authorities had cell towers shut off so that there was a lessened chance of remote detonation, but that has not been confirmed.  Most of us use our cellphone as a lifeline to our families, to the internet and to the rest of the world.  Be aware of the fact that you might not be able to use your phone directly after a large-scale incident and you might have to get creative to contact family. 

* While this atrocity is fresh in your mind, while you are still angry and confused, use this time to sign up for a first aid/CPR class, learn more about preparedness and channel your anger into something productive and useful. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

We love our 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 8, 2013

FREE Disaster Preparedness Classes

There are a couple of great disaster preparedness classes coming up at the Kelso Library this spring!  Join Tricia Hornbeck on April 29th at 6:00 p.m. at the Kelso Library for a class on creating disaster supply kits, sheltering in place, cooking without electricity and more!  Come back on May 6th at 6:00 p.m. to learn all about creating a food storage plan, what to store, how to store it and how to make food your family might actually enjoy even in a time of disaster!

To register, please visit the Kelso Library or call them at 423-8110.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Know What's Below! Call Before You Dig!


Did you know there are over 2.4 millions miles of pipelines in the US made up of liquid production, gathering and transmission lines; gas production, gathering, storage and transmission lines and gas distribution lines?  Statistics indicate that damage from excavation related activities is a leading cause of pipeline accidents.  If you are a homeowner, farmer, excavator, or developer, we need your help in preventing pipeline emergencies.

1.  Call 8-1-1 BEFORE excavation begins--regulatory mandate as state law requires.
2.  Wait the required amount of time.
3.  A trained technician will mark the location of the pipeline at NO cost to you.
4.  Respect the marks.
5.  Dig with care. 

Pipelines are a critical part of our national infrastructure and rely on everybody's safety awareness to remain our silent parting in fueling this country's ongoing progress.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Phones out in Woodland, parts of Clark County

Sounds like some Frontier communications customers may not have phone service at the moment. That includes most 225 prefixes (Woodland, Yacolt, Ariel). Technicians are working on the issue, but there is no estimated time when the lines will be working again.

Happy National Public Health Week!

Monday's theme for National Public Health Week was:  Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Home for Your Family

Public health is in every corner of our homes. It's in the safe food in the fridge, the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors affixed to the ceiling, and the child-proof latches that keep dangerous chemicals out of little hands. Home is also where we learn healthy behaviors, such as eating right and exercising. Good prevention starts at home.

Did You Know?

•The majority of fire-related deaths happen at home. In 2010 in the United States, someone died in a fire every 169 minutes and someone was injured every 30 minutes. About two-thirds of home fire deaths happened in homes without working smoke alarms.
•Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among people ages 65 and older. Each year, one out of every three adults ages 65 and older experiences a fall. In 2010, falls resulted in $30 billion in direct medical costs.

•Nine out of every 10 childhood poison exposures happens at home, with medications being among the top culprits.

•More than half of all swimming pool drownings among children could have been prevented with appropriate fencing that completely separates the pool from the house and yard.

•Many more efforts are needed to help all families and households adequately prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies, such as having a three-day supply of water and a written evacuation plan.
•Fewer than 15 percent of adults and 10 percent of adolescents eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day.

What Public Health Teaches Us

Start small...

•Smoke alarms can double your chance of surviving a fire, so install alarms on every floor of your home and test that they're working monthly. While you're at it, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of your home as well
•Help prevent fires — as well as serious health problems and chronic diseases — by making your home tobacco- and smoke-free.
•Keep potentially dangerous household products, such as cleaning products, cosmetics and prescription medications, locked up and out of children's reach. Also, never store household chemicals in old food containers or in the same place you keep food items. Learn more at

•Gather your household for a night of emergency preparedness: Make plans for putting together an emergency stockpile kit, create a crisis communication plan, designate an emergency meeting place and hold household emergency drills.

•Put this number on your fridge and in your cell phone: 1-800-222-1222. It will automatically connect you to your regional poison control center and often life-saving information.

•Put up four-sided fencing that's at least five feet high with self-latching gates around swimming pools to protect children from injury

•Assess your home, or the home of a loved one, for factors that could contribute to a fall, such as poor lighting, uneven flooring and clutter.
•Stock your kitchen with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and cut down on high-sugar and high-fat items.

•Learn about proper food handling and cooking techniques to avoid food-borne illness.

•Learn how to properly dispose of unused medications.

•Tell your friends and online followers how you and your household are celebrating National Public Health Week. Keep a journal of the changes you've made on your blog or other social media accounts or send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper. Let others know how easy — and fun — it can be to make public health and prevention a part of our lives.

Think big...

•Help organize a yoga or Tai Chi class for older adults to help improve balance and prevent falls.
•Organize a community fire safety event with the local fire department.
•Get involved in community efforts addressing the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, such as promoting drug take-back events.
•Spread the word about emergency preparedness at your children's school, your parents' retirement community and the other places you spend time. Volunteer to help these places assess their readiness and start planning.
•Promote awareness of how local public health systems keep communities healthy at home, such as keeping our food and water safe. Encourage residents and leaders to take a moment to imagine how dramatically our lives would change if that system disappeared. Let your key decision-makers know that you support public health and prevention.

There is much more you can do to ensure a safe and healthy home for you and your family. To learn more about putting prevention to work at home, visit