The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer's Coming!

Memorial Day is coming and that usually signals the beginning of summer! (the weather doesn't always agree with this though).  Summertime means fun in the sun and cooling off in our area's beautiful rivers and lakes. After enduring months of rain and cold, of course the Washingtonian has a ravenous, pent-up need for sunshine! Please remember that our rivers are swift and very cold, no matter what the outside temperature.
Swimming can be a great way to have fun while getting full body exercise. However, each year between 4,000 and 6,000 people drown in the United States. It is the second leading cause of accidental deaths for persons 15 to 44 years old. Shockingly, it is believed that two-thirds of the people who drown are believed to never have had any intention of being in the water. Since tragic water accidents happen quickly, we have compiled the following information to help everyone have a safe and fun summer.

By keeping these few simple things in mind, you can make your experience in the water much safer.*Learn to swim before you go into the water. Sounds silly, but many people think it will come naturally, and it really doesn’t.
*Swim near a lifeguard so help is available if you need it
*Never swim alone
*Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present
*Don't rely on flotation devices, such as rafts, you may lose them in the water
*Alcohol and swimming don't mix
*Protect your head, neck, and spine by jumping feet first into unfamiliar waters
*As soon as you believe that you may be in trouble, call or wave for help
*Follow regulations and lifeguard directions
*Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances

Swimming and playing near water are favorite summer time activities of children everywhere. Parents and guardians need to pay extra attention and make sure they protect little ones from the dangers that water presents. Here are some points to consider about water safety for children.
*Never leave a child alone near water. Accidents happen in seconds, so if you have to leave, take your child with you.
*Watch out for neighborhood pools. Whether it is your own or your neighbors, toys that are left around the pool can attract children to the water.
*If you have a pool, make sure you surround it by a fence that is tall enough that children cannot climb over, and with a gate that locks.
*Enroll children over age three in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. Lessons won't make your child "drown-proof," but they will increase their safety and prepare them for a lifetime of fun in the water.
*Teach your children to always swim with a buddy.
*Always have a first-aid kit and emergency phone contacts handy.
*Parents should be trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Can You Text 9-1-1?

Answer:  Not yet.
From Cowlitz County 9-1-1 Center
On Thursday May 15th the FCC announced that the cellular providers are now able to deliver text to 9-1-1, however not all the public safety answering points are prepared to accept the text to 9-1-1.  In Washington State to date there are no PSAP’s with equipment installed and successfully tested to accept text to 9-1-1, so if a cellular subscriber sends a text message to 9-1-1 they will get a bounce back message that will says “For emergency only. CALL 9-1-1. Public Safety in this area does not support text service at this time.” 

 King County is currently testing the functionality in coordination of the State 911 Office, and phone venders to determine the precise design that will function properly with the 9-1-1 phone network and PSAP phone equipment.  As soon as solution is identified by the state and this service is functioning at the Cowlitz County 9-1-1 Center we will notify the media and educate the public on the service.   

Monday, May 12, 2014

Get Rail and Highway Updates

Local, state and federal elected and agency officials will get an update Wednesday on proposed rail and highway improvements in the Longview industrial corridor that are considered key to attracting the job-creating businesses to the Columbia River waterfront.

The special meeting on the State Route 432/Tennant Way/Industrial Way project will be hosted by Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) at 6:00 p.m. at the Kelso train station, 501 S. First Street.

Options to improve safety, mobility and freight capacity have been evaluated and will be discussed Wednesday, CWCOG spokeswoman Melissa Taylor said.

The agency held three public meetings last fall to solicit ideas and comments.  Now, a second round of meetings will look at the current project status, schedule and opportunities for public participation.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Text to 9-1-1? Not yet.

From our friends at Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency:
Posted: 06 May 2014 11:18 AM PDT
The Short Answer is "Not Yet!"....

Yesterday, one of our favorite tech magazines, CNet, posted an article about your ability to text 9-1-1.

This article recognized that on May 15th, the phone carriers should all be ready to allow its consumers to text 9-1-1 for emergencies.

But what is really important about this statement is the fact that even though the "carriers are ready," that is only half of the equation necessary to make the text-to-911 services fully ready.

Government-owned 9-1-1 infrastructure must also be prepared to take SMS messages and be able to process them in a way that gives agencies like ours the information necessary to act on the text message.

Here is the list of locations where text-to-911 is currently in place:

Currently, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) or 9-1-1 Agencies in the State of Washington are dependent on preparatory activities that are occurring at the state level to enhance the "emergency services info net" or the ESI Net.  These enhancements should improve the ability to transmit and process the text messages.

CRESA, here locally, is also currently working on equipment upgrades that will allow us to receive text messages in SW Washington.  We anticipate that we will be capable of receiving text messaging sometime in 2015.

Currently, if you send a text to 9-1-1 in an area that is not capable, you will receive a bounce-back message from the carrier that will let you know that your text message was not received by a 9-1-1 Agency.

And while we appreciate the situations in which text will be useful (if the caller cannot use their voice), you will always hear us say that "Voice is the Choice" and most preferred method of sharing information.  This is because we can confirm your location and gather information about the emergency much more quickly from a voice caller.

Consider for a minute what most of your text messages look like and how often there are seconds-long drag between your information-sharing with friends.  When "every second counts" in an emergency, we want to be sure that we can effectively and efficiently dispatch the emergency services you need to respond to your call.

Help us help you by being sure that your friends and family understand that May 15th is only a significant marker for the phone carrier side of this equation.  And keep watching for news from us of  when we are ready to receive your text messages.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Regional Senior Connections Fair

Coming up this Wednesday is the 7th Annual Regional Senior Connections Fair at the Three Rivers Mall.  Come check out local senior care agencies, activities, informational booths and much more from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  There will be a fashion show, discounts for food and shopping and lots of prize drawings.  We'll be there, hope you are too!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Love Isn't All You Need

Love is great, but a 72-hour disaster supply kit is better.  Learn how to stock your kit here: