The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Blog Hacked

It appears our blog has been hacked, so for the time being we are going to suspend this account until we can investigate further.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Paving Ahead!

Summer kicks off paving projects in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties

Work to resurface more than 32 miles of highway on SR 4, SR 411 and SR 432 begins July 11

KELSO – Time and tires have taken their toll on state highways in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, but help is on the way. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor, Granite Construction Company, will start work to repair the worn and damaged pavement next week.

“These stretches of roadway are showing their age with cracks and ruts lining the highway,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Joanna Lowrey. “We appreciate drivers planning ahead and bearing with us while we do this important work.”

About the projects

Beginning Monday, July 11, crews will resurface nearly13 miles of existing pavement on State Route 4, between Kandoll Road and east of Ingalls Road through Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. The highway will receive a new coat of oil and gravel chips with this $1.6 million project.


Beginning Monday, July 11, crews will resurface more than 12 miles of pavement on State Route 411 between Longview and Castle Rock. This $2.4 million project includes intersection, crosswalk and striping enhancements along the corridor.

Beginning Monday, July 11, crews will resurface more than 7 miles of pavement on State Route 432, from SR 4 to 3rd Avenue in Kelso. As part of this $2.5 million dollar project crews will also replace more than 60 broken and unstable concrete panels under the pavement surface.

What can drivers expect during construction?

During all three projects, drivers should add extra time to their trips and prepare for delays due to lane and travel restrictions. WSDOT offers a variety of tools to help drivers:

  • Lane-closure information is available on the Construction Update & Travel Advisory.
  • Sign up to receive email updates about these projects and other WSDOT news.
  • Get real-time traffic information with the WSDOT mobile app and by following WSDOT’s regional Twitter feed.Work on these projects is weather dependent and scheduled for completion in fall 2016.

The End Result This work will preserve highway infrastructure and extend the useful life of the highways. It also creates safer driving conditions for the thousands of travelers who use these stretches of roadway each day.

Hyperlinks within the release:


WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at or by dialing 511.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Is Your Pet Prepared?

Pet preparedness kitEvery member of your household should be prepared for disasters. That means pets, too!
Just as you would create a disaster supply kit for yourself, be sure to also assemble one for your pet. In addition to having enough food and water to last at least three days, the Ready Campaign recommends:
·        Medicines and medical records: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container as well as records with any instructions;
·        Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar, and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit;
·        Crate or other pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency, take your pets and animals with you; and
·        Sanitation: Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.  You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water.
Note: Please store chlorine bleach safely! Keep products containing hazardous materials such as chlorine bleach in their original containers and never remove the labels; never store hazardous products in food containers; and never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaning products. Mixing may cause chemicals to react, ignite, explode, or release poisonous gases that will cause very serious breathing problems or death. 
For the full list of items you should include in your pet’s kit, download Preparing Makes Sense for Pet Owners today!
Keep your pet prepared while on the go using the American Red Cross Pet First Aid mobile app. Use this app to help your furry friends during emergencies until you can get to a veterinarian. It’s available for download on Apple and Android devices.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks Safety

fireworks safety messageStay safe this holiday. Fire and safety experts agree the best way to enjoy fireworks is from a distance. Leave the fireworks to the professionals!
Fireworks are often used to mark holidays and special events. While these displays may be visually appealing, they present dangers for consumer use. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hundreds of people are injured each Fourth of July while using consumer fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers.
Get the facts about fireworks safety to share with family and friends. Take a look at this fireworks safety video and visit the CPSC Fireworks Information Center.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Don't Take to the Trails Without These 10 Essentials

The key to keeping a hike safe and enjoyable is making sure you have the right gear.
  • Trail shoes or boots
  • GPS, map and compass.  A GPS enabled device is handy, but go old-school too.  Always carry a map and compass as a backup should your electronic device die or should the unit be unable to pick up a signal
  • Extra water and way to purify water should you run out and need to use lake or stream water.
  • Rain gear and extra clothing.  Try to avoid cotton, which keeps moisture close to your skin.
  • Safety items--such as flashlight, whistle and a way to start a fire.
  • Extra food
  • First aid kit
  • Knife or multi-purpose tool
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Daypack/Backpack

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Know Your Role in Wildland Fire Preparedness

You can take steps to improve your safety and potentially reduce damage to your property by taking personal responsibility and action!

READY:  Dispose of or relocate combustible material from around your home. Trim trees and bushes to allow ample space between your home and landscape vegetation. 

SET:  Arrange your "go kit" with prescription medication, emergency supplies, important documents and other essential items.  Create your own wildland fire action plan, involve your family and practice exit plans from your home and from your neighborhood.

GO:  Get your "go kit" and leave well before the threat approaches.  Stay aware of the situation and cooperate with local authorities during evacuation and re-entry processes. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Register for free boating class

The last free Adventures in Boating certification course until fall, sponsored by the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division, takes place from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Cowlitz County Search and Rescue Building, 1800 Western Lane, Kelso. Early registration is suggested because classes fill up quickly.
Participants who take the one-day class will be certified to operate a vessel in Washington. Classes are open to anyone who needs to obtain a Washington State Boaters Education Card.
All vessel operators 59 years old and younger must have a Washington Boaters Education Card to operate a vessel in the state. For additional information and resources, visit
To register for the class, call Deputy Jordan Spencer at 360-577-3092 or send an email to

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Grilling Safety

Woman grilling Many people will be firing up their grills this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer.
With grilling season set to be in full force, take time to review a few safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to protect yourself and your guests from a fire or burn injuries:
·        Only use your grill outside;
·        Keep it away from siding and deck rails;
·        Keep a 3-foot safe zone around your grill to keep kids and pets safe;
·        Clean your grill after each use to remove grease, which can start a fire;
·        Place the coals from your grill in a metal can with a lid once they have cooled;
·        Open your gas grill before lighting; and
·        Keep an eye on your grill fire pit or patio torches.
Before you fire up your grill, check out USFA’s animation on grilling safety.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington State

VANCOUVER, Washington — May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, providing residents an opportunity to become more familiar with volcanic hazards in their communities and learn about steps they can take to reduce potential impacts. It is a time to commemorate the May 18, 1980 catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens, which not only caused massive destruction and loss of life but also became a catalyst for a new era of unprecedented scientific discovery, technology development and community awareness.

The Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory and a variety of local emergency management agencies are working together with communities at risk across the state to provide timely warnings and reduce the negative impacts of future eruptions. Together, the agencies develop and exercise emergency plans with communities, coordinate communications, conduct public education programs and plan for short- and long-term recovery in the event an eruption or lahar should occur.

 On Sunday, May 18, 1980, at 8:32 a.m., the bulging north flank of Mount St. Helens slid away in a massive landslide. Seconds later, the uncorked volcano exploded and blasted rocks laterally, destroying centuries of forest growth in a span of several minutes. Nine hours of explosive volcanic activity ensued, altering the landscape, and what we know about volcanoes, forever.

 Volcano Preparedness Month arrives this year as an earthquake swarm is underway at Mount St. Helens, indicating that the volcano remains active. USGS’s seismic data have shown since 2010 that the quiet Mount St. Helens has a new supply of magma slowly repressurizing the magma chamber beneath the mountain. As was observed at Mount St. Helens between 1987-2004, recharge can continue for many years beneath a volcano and an eruption is not imminent.

Preparing for future eruptions

New this year is funding for aerial lidar images, which display ground features in spectacular detail and ease the work of ground-based geologists. A Colombia-USA binational exchange is in progress between officials of the two nations responsible for volcano preparedness and interpretation. Volcano emergency coordination plans are being updated at Mount Rainier. Agencies are developing new products for public education presentations, as well as posting signs in communities.

The USGS CVO, the PNSN and the National Science Foundation-funded EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory work to improve eruption forecasting and warning capabilities for Cascade volcanoes as part of the National Volcanic Early Warning System. They continue to monitor Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range for signs of unrest. The monitoring network operated by USGS and PNSN enhances the likelihood of detecting preliminary signs of increasing volcanic activity at any of the Cascade Range volcanoes.

The USGS CVO website has information about Volcano Preparedness Month events, as well as the USGS volcano-monitoring program and the hazards in the Washington and Oregon. Register for weekly updates and occasional Information Statements from the USGS Volcano Notification Service. 

Find information updates about volcanoes and read about science in action at USGS Volcanoes on Facebook.

PNSN tracks earthquake activity in the Cascadia region including those under the Cascade Volcanoes on their Volcano Seismicity web pages.

Washington state’s Emergency Management Division website has a section about the state’s volcanoes as well as volcano preparedness measures. There are also educational materials for children on its publication section. Follow the agency’s Twitter feed for breaking news and information.

DNR’s Division of Geology and Earth Resources has developed a new website and a blog that include maps, assessments and other information to inform landowners, residents, community planners and emergency personnel about the risks related to volcanoes, lahars and other natural hazards in Washington state. DNR will also be producing more detailed maps of lahar zones and geologic hazards near communities from new lidar images taken this spring under a program created by the Washington legislature.

 Eruptions at Mount St. Helens have demonstrated the importance of scientists working in close partnership with emergency and land management agencies to prepare for future eruptions. That includes installation of comprehensive monitoring networks, developing and practicing emergency plans, and supporting community education.

 Seth Moran, scientist-in-charge at the USGS CVO, notes, “We’ve seen from other volcanic eruptions that scientists and public officials must work together in response planning well before a volcanic eruption begins. We cannot wait around for indications of volcanic reawakening. Our work together needs to be done now.”

USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit, and follow us on Twitter @USGS, and our other social media channels.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Free Boat Inspections

Attention Boat Owners:
It’s that time of year again. The weather will start to get nice and the local rivers and lakes will soon be booming with sport and recreational boats. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend an invitation to all boat and personal watercraft owners. Come out to the Willow Grove Boat launch or the Kalama Marina on Saturday June 4th, between the hours of 10AM and 2PM for your free marine vessel safety inspection.

Each vessel that passes inspection will receive their 2016 Marine Safety Decal. Additional boating information will also be available.

For additional information contact Dep. Jordan Spencer at the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office at 360-577-3092

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Are your documents in order?

Securing Your Financial Documents

Many Americans experience the challenge of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful circumstances, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery quickly and efficiently.

Taking the time now to collect and secure these critical records will give you peace of mind. In the event of an emergency, it will also ensure that you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay.

The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) can help you financially prepare if a disaster or other emergency strikes your community. The EFFAK contains four important steps to financial preparedness:

·        Assemble your important documents and contacts;

·        Review your insurance policies and financial paperwork to be sure that they are still accurate and current;

·        Store paper and electronic copies of all files in safe locations; and

·        Revisit and update your EFFAK on a regular schedule. (Updates are especially important when certain changes in your life occur, like a change in marital status, birth of a child, and opening or closing accounts.)

April is Financial Literacy Month. This month is a great opportunity to review and update your EFFAK. You can find more financial preparedness resources online. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

High Wind Warning

The High wind warning includes Cowlitz County today. Strongest winds should be between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. with gusts between 35 mph and 50 mph. Entire forecast from the National Weather Service:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Check those smoke detectors!

Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 13. It’s time to turn your clocks forward. It’s also a great opportunity to test your smoke alarms.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to check your smoke alarms at least once a month, by pushing the test button on the alarm. USFA estimates that more than 2,500 people die in home fires each year in the United States largely due to non-functioning smoke alarms. A functioning smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death.
USFA offers these life-saving tips to protect your family from a home fire:
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom;
• Install interconnected smoke alarms in your home, so when one alarms sounds they all sound; and
• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or older.
You can find more information to protect your household against a fire on the USFA website.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Volcano Views and Brews

The Mount St. Helens Institute Presents:
A Special Volcano Views and Brews
co-hosted by the City of Vancouver's Water Resources Education Center
Major Dynamic Floods in the Portland-Vancouver Area 
Missoula Floods, Vanport Flood of 1948, and the 1996 Flood 
with Portland State University Geology Professor Emeritus 
Dr. Scott Burns
*Special Location - Water Resouces Education Center*
**note this is the only Views and Brews in February**
This unique event celebrates the Institute's and Water Resouces Education Center's shared 20th anniversaries and remembers the historic flood of 1996 that occurred mere weeks before the Water Center's opening! Attendees are also encourage to view the Vanport and Columbia River floods exhibit on the first floor of the Water Center. Food and beverages (non-alcoholic and beer) will be available for purchase.
Lecture Description
The Portland-Vancouver area has been shaped by many floods over several million years. The majority of the landforms were formed in a series of 40 floods that brought water into the area at velocities over 50 mph and shaped the area. Major erosional valleys, pendant bars of sediments, and deposits owe their origin to these floods called the Missoula Floods. Much of the talk will be about these events which are some of the greatest geological happenings in North America's history. In 1948, an incredible flood caused the flooding of Oregon's second largest city, Vanport, which was in the Columbia River Flood Plain. And finally, in 1996, the area had another rain on snow event that caused a huge set of floods in the area. Come hear Prof. Scott Burns of Portland State University talk about these three major floods.
Scott Burns Biography
Scott is a Professor Emeritus of Geology and Past-Chair of the Dept. of Geology at Portland State University where he just finished his 25th year of teaching. He was also Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at P.S.U. from 1997-1999. He has been teaching for 45 years, with past positions in Switzerland, New Zealand, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana. He is a 6th generation Oregonian who grew up in Beaverton. Scott specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and Quaternary geology. In Oregon, he has assisted with projects involving landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon generation from soils, the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in Oregon soils and alpine soil development. He has been active in mapping landslides in the Pacific Northwest since his return to Portland. He has authored over 100 publications, including "Cataclysms on the Columbia, the Great Missoula Floods." He is also well known for his long history studying wine and terroir - the relationship between wine, soils, geology and climate.
Upcoming Events
Vancouver and Longview-
with author Steve Olson.

Portland- TBA
About Volcano Views and Brews
This popular lecture series about volcanic topics began in 2007 and continues every month. Fascinating topics, lively speakers as well as excellent food and libations make for an enjoyable and horizon-widening evening.
When and Where
Special Location!
Tuesday, February 16
4600 SE Columbia Way
Vancouver, WA 
$5 suggested donation 
Doors at 5:00pm, presentation at 6:30pm
Food and beverages (non-alcoholic and beer) will be available for purchase
All ages welcome 
How much?
The $5 suggested donation 
allows us to offer these talks!
The Mount St. Helens Institute is dedicated to advancing the understanding and stewardship of the earth through science, education and exploration of volcanic landscapes.
The Mount St. Helens Institute is proud to operate under a special use permit from the US Forest Service and is a equal opportunity education provider.
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