The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Earth Day!

If you're looking for a fun activity this weekend, come check out our disaster preparedness booth at the Earth Day festival at the Cowlitz County Expo Center.  The fun is free with lots of Earth-friendly, hands-on exhibits and entertainment, this Saturday from 10-3:30.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Standing on Shaky Ground



With a series of tremors and aftershocks recently hitting Southern California, earthquake preparedness may be fresh on the minds of California residents. According to reports, the Los Angeles area hasn’t experienced an earthquake in excess of 5 magnitude since 1997, and it’s been 20 years since a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck Northridge, CA where 57 people lost their lives. Earthquakes can strike anywhere at any time. That’s why preparedness is vital.

Throughout the year individual states provide opportunities to do statewide drills. One upcoming opportunity is the Great Utah Shakeout scheduled for April 17. You can join over 750,000 people planning to participate in the Drop, Cover and Hold On earthquake drill. This is part of the national Great ShakeOut initiative which provides a focused time every October for millions worldwide to practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On during Great ShakeOut earthquake drills.  The Great ShakeOut is also a national supporter of America’s PrepareAthon! and will be featured as one of the campaign’s fall hazard activities later this year!

Looking for additional steps you can take before, during and after an earthquake to protect your family and property? Visit Some of these steps have also been outlined below.

 Before an Earthquake:

·       Fasten shelves and bookcases securely to a wall;

·       Brace top heavy objects; and

·       Hold earthquake drills with your family:  Drop, Cover and Hold On.

During an Earthquake:

·       Drop to the ground; Take Cover; Hold On;

·       Minimize your movements to a few steps; and

·       Stay inside until the shaking stops.

After an Earthquake:

·       When the shaking stops, look around to be sure it’s safe to move;

·       Look for and extinguish small fires which are a common hazard;

·       Go to a designated shelter. Text SHELTER + your ZIP CODE to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter.

Take your earthquake preparedness to the next level with Beat the Quake, an interactive game from the Earthquake Country Alliance. It’s fun for the entire family!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Boaters Education Class

News Release from Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted on FlashAlert: March 11th, 2014 2:45 PM

Do you need your boater's card? The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office Marine Division will begin hosting an Adventures in Boating certification course. Classes are open to any individual who needs to obtain a Washington State Boaters Education Card. Classes will run the 2nd Saturday of every month from 8am-4:30pm. The next class is scheduled for April 12th, 2014. Classes will be held at the Cowlitz County Search and Rescue Building, 1800 Western Lane in Kelso. The cost for the class is FREE.

To Register: Contact Deputy Jordan Spencer at 360-577-3092. Registration deadline is the 1st Saturday of the month. This one day class will certify you to operate a vessel in the state of Washington.

Reminder: All vessel operators age 59 and younger must have a Washington Boaters Education Card to operate a vessel in Washington State. For additional information and resources, check out

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Power's Out Checklist

So, yesterday's list was power outage prep.  Today we have "Power's Out Checklist."

__ Are all the pots and pans off the stove?  Are the stove range and oven turned off?

__ If you have a space heater, make sure it's at least 3 feet away from furniture or other flammable objects.  Keep it unplugged when not in use.

__ In cold weather, maximize heat coming from the sun.  Open shades, curtains or louvers so that sun may heat the glass.  Close them when the sun is no longer shining directly to hold in the heat.  In hot weather, minimize heat by closing the shades, curtains, and louvers. 

__ Unplug a few appliances (toaster, microwave, TV, etc) and turn off lights that were on so you don't overload the circuits when power is restored.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our Volunteers Are Awesome!

From Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson

 Kelso, WA-“I say this every chance I get, but we have an incredibly “giving” community. Our emergency services volunteers are as good as they come.” Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson.

 Emergency Services volunteers here in Cowlitz County are some of the most giving, dedicated people anywhere. They join for a variety of reasons, but mostly, it’s the satisfaction of doing something that makes a positive difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s a search for a lost person, a diver responding to a water-related emergency, or a reserve deputy directing traffic around a crash; it’s all done on their own time, and in many cases, their own dime.

During the five days of the February 2014 snowstorm, three volunteer members of the Lower Columbia Amateur Radio Association, working through the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office-Department of Emergency Management, logged 138 volunteer hours shuttling patients and nursing staff to and from dialysis treatment facilities in their personal four-wheel-drive vehicles. Collectively, they logged 728 miles traveling through the ice and snow to get these folks to and from this life-saving necessity. That breaks down to:

1.     Five mission days

2.     27 mission hours per day (for three personnel)

3.     9 hours per person, per mission day

4.     145 miles driven in treacherous conditions per mission day

Figured even as low as Washington’s minimum wage of $9.32, this was a savings of $1,286.16 to the taxpayer, not including their personal fuel and vehicle use. Yet, these volunteers didn’t ask for reimbursement, they didn’t expect to be “recognized” in any way, they just did what had to be done. That’s what volunteer service is about.

 All across Cowlitz County there were hundreds of examples of people helping people. Common sights included shoveling snow off of a neighbor’s driveway, clearing sidewalks, people stopping their cars, getting out of their own warm, dry car in the cold and snow to help push another person’s vehicle to a safe location or hooking a tow-strap from their own car to pull someone else’s from wherever it was stuck.

“This is the heart of the volunteer here in Cowlitz County. We’re all so blessed to have them.” Sheriff Nelson said.

Power Outage Prep Checklist

We've had some windy days and nights lately!  Here is a checklist from FEMA to be ready for a power outage:

__  Locate and label utility shutoff.

__ Post instructions next to fuse box or circuit breaker.

__ Are there enough flashlights on hand?  At least one for each person in the house?  Are the batteries working?  (Tip:  Store batteries in the refrigerator for longer life).

__ Do not use candles, they are a fire hazard.

__ Keep ready-to-eat meals on hand that do not require cooking or cooling.

__ Freeze water in plastic water bottles or old milk containers, leaving about an inch at the top for frozen water to expand.  When placed in a refrigerator and freezer, they will keep food cold for several hours.

__Know where to get dry ice to keep food cold as necessary.

__ Are there cordless phones that need electricity?  If so, use a standard, corded telephone or cell phone as an alternative.

__ Make sure you have a battery-operated radio to get updates on information, shelters, etc.

__ Is there an alternate heating source?  Make sure it is properly vented and in good working order.  Make sure all chimneys are clean and all flues are operational.  Do you have enough wood, pellets, or heating fuel?

__ If heating system involves an electronic ignition or fan, know who to call for service/restarting assistance. 

__ If there is an electric garage door opener, where is the manual release?  Post instructions on how to use it and practice with your family.

__When possible, keep car gas tanks at least half full.  Gas stations need electricity to power the pumps. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Power of One


Power of One

Picture this—You’re stranded on the highway for hours, in the cold, with little food and no heat and your car just ran out of gas. The nearest restroom is at least three miles away and you don’t know when you’ll be in the comfort of your home again. This was the case for many metro Atlanta residents during a winter storm that recently hit the south. Out of this tragedy, however, came triumph - people took action and helped each other overcome this crisis.

There were countless stories of people opening their homes to strangers, offering food to the hungry, walking to get medication for those in need and more. Many of these citizen rescue operations were coordinated on the Facebook page, “Snowed Out Atlanta.” Within a few hours this page quickly gained 50,000 followers who not only reached out to get help, but to serve their neighbors. The woman who started this page, Michelle Sollicito, is a mother, wife and most of all an everyday community member who wanted to help. She took action and stepped up to be a community ambassador. 
You can also be a community ambassador for preparedness. Use your social media channels, email or word-of-mouth to shareactions people can do now to get prepared!

1.       Visit and familiarize yourself with steps to take before, during and after every natural disaster.

2.       Practice and implement – don’t just educate yourself on preparedness actions; practice them with family, friends and coworkers. Why wait to build an emergency kit?—do it today!

3.       Download the FEMA mobile application. It contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.