The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Building a Rain Barrel

On November 14 at 6:00 pm, Cowlitz County Master Gardener Jon Griffin will discuss the benefits using rain barrels. Participants will take home a rain barrel from the class. Jon will discuss how to get started, what to look for when buying a suitable barrel and how to construct a system that will make economic and environmental sense. Cost of the class is $50.00 per barrel. Additional rain barrels can be purchased at $40.00. You must pre-register by November 11. The class will be held for in the Agricultural Building located on the Cowlitz County fairgrounds in Longview. The workshop is sponsored by Washington State University Extension Master Gardeners. For more information, contact Gary Fredricks at 577-3014 Ext 3 or Learn how you can water off the meter which conserves of one of our most precious resources and leaves more cash in your pocket.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Power Outage Tips

These tips are courtesy of State of Hawaii Department of Health:

* If you anticipate the electricity going out, set your refrigerator to the coldest temperature possible beforehand, so foods will last longer after the power outage.

* Food that is in the refrigerator, such as milk, sour cream and yogurt should be eaten first since it will spoil most quickly.

* Food that is in the freezer, such as frozen meats that can be grilled, should be eaten next. Food in a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer will stay frozen for approximately 12 hours, while food in a top or bottom mount freezer may remain frozen for up to 24 hours. Items in a separate freezer may remain frozen for 48-72 hours.
* A grill may be used to cook food, but should never be used inside the home.

* Canned good and dried foods are non-perishables but should be stored in a cool, dry place, with a note about the purchase date of the product. These foods should be eaten last, after the perishable foods are gone or have spoiled. Canned goods should be eaten within 2 hours of opening.

* Low-sodium food is a good investment, as salt will make you thirsty. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, rinse all canned foods thoroughly before eating. Salt, however, is important in the daily diet.

* Most fruits and vegetables hold their quality at room temperature for several days.

* Water is extremely important and can be used not only for drinking, but also for rehydrating dried foods, cooking, brushing teeth, and for sanitation. At least a gallon of water per person per day (plus extra for pets) is necessary.

* If you have special dietary needs, consult with your doctor to make sure you have the recommended supplies in case of an emergency.

* Paper plates, cups, napkins, and plastic utensils are useful in an emergency, as they can simply be discarded rather than needing to be washed.

* Experts recommend at least 5-7 days of food be kept on hand if you are sheltering in place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Carbon Monoxide Safety

When power outages occur after severe weather such, using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in your home and poison your family. CO is a colorless, odorless gas created by burning fuel when using portable generators, gas ranges, burning wood or by running your car.

While hundreds of people die in the U.S. each year from accidental CO poisoning, this tragedy can be prevented. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector in your home, install one as soon as possible and check it every six months.

You should also follow these safety tips: • Do not run your car inside a garage that is attached to your home, even if the garage door is open to the outside; • Have your heating system, water heater and other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician each year; and • Never heat your house with a gas oven. Since you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, it is important to recognize the most common symptoms of CO poisoning. If you think you are experiencing CO poisoning, you should get fresh air and seek medical attention immediately!

Friday, October 25, 2013

No tsunami alerts following 7.3 quake in Japan

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit the Honshu coast of Japan earlier today. At this time there is no tsunami alert for US coasts. Click here for USGS website.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

HAM Radio class in Thurston County

FYI-- There is a HAM radio (amateur radio) class being offered in November at the Thurston County ECC in Olympia. It is November 2 & 16 (Saturdays) from 9 - 4 pm. For more information and/or to register please call 360-951-2538 or email You will need to purchase a book for approx $30 and you can get that information when you register or order the ARRL Technician Class Study Guide from

Friday, October 18, 2013

When Buildings Attack!

This comes from our friends at CRESA:

This morning, an estimated 866,000 people in Washington State participated in the Great Washington Shakeout, a statewide 'drop, cover, and hold on' drill. The reason why we 'drop, cover and hold on' when the ground shakes is to protect ourselves from what in the building trades they call 'nonstructural' items.

Most injuries in earthquakes occur when these items come crashing down on victims: computers, monitors, tall furniture, TVs, appliances, ceiling tiles, light fixtures, bricks, tiles, etc. Put simply, nonstructural items are anything in a building that's not dedicated to keeping a building upright. This also includes cladding, mechanical systems, electrical systems, piping, HVAC, fire protection systems, and so on. Since the early 70's in the US, building codes required that buildings be built to withstand some level of ground shaking.

However, for the most part, these codes only address structural components. They do not fully address nonstructural components. So for the building you are in, unless there was special attention paid to securing nonstructural items, they may fail in an earthquake. If they don't fall and hurt someone, they may still block exit routes. They may also be damaged to the extent that the building is unusable. Nonstructural items represent the majority of the costs of a building and so damage to these items can be very expensive and can extend the time it takes you to recover.

The good news is that it's fairly easy and inexpensive to secure nonstructural items. There are a number of strategies but probably the best two are a) relocation and b) anchoring. Relocate especially dangerous, loose items to a place where they don't crash into people or into other items or block exit routes. For items that can't be relocated, anchor them to a secure point such as wall studs.

Here are some other tips: Do a walk through of your home and workplace. Inventory and prioritize high risk items and come up with a plan to mitigate them. This is a great project for a work safety committee. Secure your hot water heater. Kits are available at hardware stores. Demand seismic design for any new construction, remodeling, installation, and retrofits Easy and essential items to secure at the home or office are computers, office equipment, and tall furniture. Simple L-brackets and velcro can do the trick. Specific fasteners are also available. Do a web search for "earthquake fastening solutions".

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Support Search & Rescue

Cowlitz County Search and Rescue invites you to join us on Saturday, October 19 for a Flapjack breakfast at Applebee's of Longview. Enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and orange juice or coffee; prepared by your neighborhood Applebee's chefs and served by our volunteer Search and Rescue members. Tickets for this event are $10.00 per person and can be purchased using the PayPal button at or in person from any of our members, or at the door. All proceeds will benefit Cowlitz County Search & Rescue; a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Looking for something fun to do on Thursday?

Look no further! See below for information about Cowlitz County Search & Rescue's BINGO fundraiser.

Cowlitz County Search and Rescue is honored to have the Fraternal Order of Eagles of Longview (Nest 2116) host us for a night of BINGO. Come out and join us for an evening of fun, prizes, and food. The Eagles will be calling the games; while Search and Rescue volunteers will be serving up the food. Burgerville of Woodland has donated burgers and fries, which we will be grilling up; and our volunteers will be baking all sorts of treats and goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth.

All proceeds will benefit Cowlitz County Search & Rescue; a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
BINGO Fundraiser Eagle's Nest
1526 12th Ave Longview, WA 98632

Thursday, October 10, 2013 6:30 - 10:00 PM

Foster Farms Chicken Public Health Alert

See below for information regarding Foster Farms chicken health alert:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2013 -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert due to concerns that illness caused by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.

At this point in the investigation, FSIS is unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period. Raw products from the facilities in question bear one of the establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package: “P6137” “P6137A” “P7632” The products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington State. This public health alert is being issued after an estimated 278 illnesses were recently reported in 18 states, predominantly in California. The outbreak is continuing.

The investigations indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken and other brand chicken produced at Foster Farms plants are the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections. Illnesses were linked to Foster Farms brand chicken through epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while FSIS continues its investigation.

The investigation is ongoing and FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence. FSIS reminds consumers to properly handle raw poultry in a manner to prevent contamination from spreading to other foods and food contact surfaces. FSIS further reminds consumers of the critical importance of following package cooking instructions for frozen or fresh chicken products and general food safety guidelines when handling and preparing any raw meat or poultry.

In particular, while cooking instructions may give a specific number of minutes of cooking for each side of the product in order to attain 165 °F internal temperature, consumers should be aware that actual time may vary depending on the cooking method (broiling, frying, or grilling) and the temperature of the product (chilled versus frozen) so it is important that the final temperature of 165 °F must be reached for safety. Please do not rely on the cooking time for each side of the product, but use a food thermometer.

All poultry products should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165° F as determined by a food thermometer. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know that food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy foodborne bacteria. Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Emergency Prep Fair

If you are on the other side of the Columbia and looking for something to do on October 12th, go check out the Columbia City Emergency Preparedness Fair from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The fair will be held at Columbia City Community Hall at 1850 Second Street. Join them for activities, prizes, vendors, demonstrations, hamburgers, hot dogs and more!