Friday, July 31, 2009

Fire Weather Watch

... Fire Weather Watch in effect from Saturday morning throughSunday evening for scattered thunderstorms and critically dryfuels for the central Oregon Cascades and foothills and the southern half of the north Oregon Cascades and foothills and the central Oregon Coast Range...

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a FireWeather Watch... which is in effect from Saturday morning through Sunday evening. An upper level low pressure system will remain off of theCalifornia coast for the next several days. The hot temperatureswe saw this week have dried out fuels to critical levels across thearea.

Increasing moisture with the low will bring the necessaryingredients into place for the development of scatteredthunderstorms across the district. The combination of lightningand critically dry fuels will result in an elevated risk formultiple ignitions. The highest potential for significantlightning producing thunderstorms will be on Saturday and Sundayafternoon and evenings... however... this may be a long lived eventand this watch may need extending in the future.Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditionsare forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible flag warnings.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yamhill County Fire at the Fair

Yamhill County Fair Incident

Yesterday evening an explosion and fire occurred at the Fair at one of the concession booths almost directly across the pathway from the Delashmutt Arena building.

According to one of the vendors and the booth operator, a leak somehow developed in a large propane bottle or the hose from the bottle and the pooled propane vapors ignited in a vigorous explosion. The explosion and fire destroyed an aluminum ladder at the site, burned the right rear corner of the tenting material, a large pile of supplies used by the operator and destroyed much of the site next door.

The propane bottle involved fell over making it difficult to extinguish the blaze. Two other large propane bottles survived the event without incident .

Two Yamhill County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members who were in the area on a break from duties at the rear gate, were credited by the concession operator, her brother (who also assisted in extinguishing the blaze) and a supplier, with taking a proactive position in assuming control of initial response activities.

One of the CERT men ensured that 911 was called, while the other grabbed a fire extinguisher and attacked the fire. The booth operators’ brother was assisting as was the second CERT member. A Yamhill County inmate also assisted by directing a steam of water from a garden hose on the pile of combustibles. Hats off to all four gents.

Together, this collection of men who chose to act rather than watch, saved the situation from becoming something MUCH more serious. If the fire had not been extinguished quickly, there was a risk of one or more of the tanks exploding and this is one of the great concerns for firefighters, the explosion of a pressure vessel containing flammable material. A potential MAJOR emergency was averted by quick thinking!

Coincidentally, the CERT members had recently completed the CERT course that included instruction on the proper use of a fire extinguisher. One of the CERT men remarked that it was just like he was taught in the class: a slow and methodical approach using proper techniques works well.

This incident also demonstrates the absolute need for the regulations that are in place requiring these vendors to have fire extinguishers on site.

Congratulations and THANK YOU to all involved.

Doug McGillivray

FEMA urges caution for those returning home after wildfires

News release - FEMA

SEATTLE – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents and business owners to take extra precautions when returning after wildfire-caused evacuations. Dennis Hunsinger, FEMA Acting Regional Administrator for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington warns that unseen dangers may linger long after the flames die down.

“Fires can leave behind nasty surprises ranging from gas leaks and weakened foundations to exposed wires and power lines,” said Hunsinger. “Check for external damage and exercise caution when entering fire-damaged structures. Play it safe. When in doubt, ask for help or seek advice from an expert.”

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Evaluate all utilities on the property for fire damage. Also check power lines coming into the house. Call your gas company to evaluate service. Contact your utility company immediately if you find downed power lines or smell gas.

Check the foundation for cracks or other damage. Check porches and overhangs to be sure they are adequately supported. If the foundation has been undermined, it may not be safe to enter the building. If you find obvious damage, ask that a building inspector check the building first.

If the door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. If you decide to force the door open, stand outside the doorway as you do so to avoid being hit by falling debris. As you enter, look before you step. Floors and stairs may be slippery or covered with debris. Watch for broken glass, nails and other hazards. Check the roof and attic immediately for hidden burning sparks and watch for flare-ups for several hours after the fire.

Be alert for gas leaks inside the house that might not be obvious from outside. Do not strike a match or use an open flame unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been well ventilated. Instead, use a flashlight to check for damage.

Turn off the electricity. Even if the power company has turned off electricity to the area, be sure to turn off your circuit breakers. Do not use appliances or motors that have been damaged until they have been repaired or replaced. If you use generators due to the loss of power, make sure they are used outside. All cooking on camp stoves and grills should be done outside. Gas and charcoal fumes can be deadly.

Watch for animals. Small animals that have been burned out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Scare them away by poking a stick into likely hiding places, taking particular care to listen for the warning sound of a rattlesnake.

Don’t breathe the ash from the fires. Ash can irritate your respiratory system. Use painter masks to protect your airway. Water down the area around your home to reduce flying ash. Keep all windows closed to prevent odors from the burning area from entering your home.

Be careful when removing burned items from the home. Handle all burned plastics with gloves as possible toxins can come off the plastic.

Don’t allow children to play in burned areas. Trees may be weak and could fall unexpectedly and holes in the ground may be covered with ash and not visible.

To reduce your future risk of wildfire damage to your home, consider these tips:
Keep leaves and pine needles from roofs, gutters and downspouts and regularly prune low tree branches and mow dried grass;

Remove excess trees, dead trees and shrubs near the house (use a skilled contractor to remove large trees) and consider landscaping alternatives that don’t include shrubs planted close to the house, such as a rock garden;

Check with local building officials to verify building codes and recommendations;
Determine the potential for flooding and the need for erosion control;

Consider mitigation measures, such as using fire resistant roof materials, including asphalt shingles or metal roofs, tempered glass, and installing spark arresters in chimneys and fire resistant materials on the undersides of decks.

For more information on actions to take to reduce future risk of wildfire damage to your home, go to, or

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FEMA news release - Wildfires

29 July 2009
Contact: Mike Howard (425) 487-4610
Press Release No.: 09-71News Release


SEATTLE –Sustained record-breaking temperatures have raised wildfire hazards throughout the Pacific Northwest. With wildfires burning in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state, FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger encourages at-risk residents to prepare for the worst, stay informed on local conditions and evacuate if instructed to by fire or emergency management officials.

“Fires can start and spread quickly, and it is essential that people living on wooded lots or wildland/urban interface areas take action now to protect their homes and properties,” said Hunsinger. “The time to discuss wildfire warnings and evacuation strategies with your local forestry and emergency management officials is before wildfires rage. Stay in the loop, follow developments, and evacuate if instructed to.”

FEMA recommends that residents take specific action before an evacuation is necessary, clearing flammable materials from around the home, keeping roofs and gutters clear of pine needles and debris and ensuring that house numbers are visible and driveways allow access to firefighting vehicles.

Another important step that FEMA recommends is preparing an evacuation kit. Items should be put in a container that can be easily loaded into a vehicle for a quick departure. Items to include:
Battery-powered radio with additional batteries
First aid kit
Medicines, prescriptions and eye glasses
Water (at least one gallon per person and enough for three days for each person in the household)
Change of clothing
Sleeping bags and pillows
Cash and credit cards

It is also smart to keep important personal documents quickly available should you need to evacuate. Consider collecting your driver’s license, passport and other identification, birth and marriage certificates, Social Security card, insurance policies, tax records, wills, deed or lease and stocks and bonds. Also, know where your main turn-off switches are for electricity, water and gas.

FEMA also recommends that family members discuss how to contact one another if the wildfire comes near when family members are separated. Discuss evacuation routes and identify relatives or friends outside the immediate area that can be contacted. Finally, make sure your pets have collars and identification tags and take your pets with you if you need to evacuate. While some shelters won’t accept pets, an increasing number of communities are organizing pet shelters when large evacuations are necessary. Check with your local Humane Society, animal shelter or veterinarian.

For more information on protecting your family and your home from wildfires, go to, or

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Know what these terms mean - from the Red Cross

Know What These Terms Mean
Heat wave:
Prolonged period of excessive heat and humidity. The National Weather Service steps up its procedures to alert the public during these periods of excessive heat and humidity.

Heat index:
A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees F.

Heat cramps:
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are an early signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.

Heat exhaustion:
Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim may suffer heat stroke.

Heat stroke:
Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.

Another term for heat stroke.

If a Heat Wave Is Predicted or Happening...
Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. Try to go to a public building with air conditioning each day for several hours. Remember, electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy.

Drink plenty of water regularly and often. Your body needs water to keep cool.

Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.

Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine
in them. They can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat's effects on your body worse. This is especially true about beer, which dehydrates the body.

Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.

Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

Signals of Heat Emergencies

Heat exhaustion:
Cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.

Heat stroke:
Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high-- as high as 105 degrees F. If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.

Treatment of Heat Emergencies

Heat cramps:
Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse.

Heat exhaustion:
Get the person out of the heat and into a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets. If the person is conscious, give cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine. Let the victim rest in a comfortable position, and watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.

Heat stroke:
Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and continue to cool the body any way you can. If the victim refuses water or is vomiting or there are changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.-->

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Myth 6 Nothing like that could ever happen here

Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, for example earthquakes in California, or terror attacks in New York, no area on earth is completely immune. Also, as much as people travel these days, you might end up somewhere in a disaster situation that you never considered before.

There is nothing smarter than being prepared for the unexpected. You don't want to be one of the dependent ones.

There are two types of trauma - physical and mental. Physical trauma includes the body's response to serious injury and threat. Mental trauma includes frightening thoughts and painful feelings. Mental trauma can produce strong feelings. It can also produce extreme behavior; such as intense fear or helplessness, withdrawal or detachment, lack of concentration, irritability, sleep disturbance, aggression, hypervigilance, (intensely watching for more distressing events), or flashbacks (sense that event is reoccuring).

Studies of survivors have found that those who had thought about possible disasterous events in advance, even just a small amount, reacted faster and better than those who hadn't. You do not want to have to think during a disaster, you want to just react appropriately and quickly.

No one wants to dwell on scary things, but planning evacuation routes out of your home, knowing where you would go, etc. is just like knowing where the exits are at the movie theater or having a smoke dectector in your home. Please put just a little more effort into considering other possibilites such as earthquake, chemical emergencies, pandemics, wind storms, and floods. Make sure every member of your family is ready and confident.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heat Wave Forecasted from 27 July to 29 July

The build-up of heat we've had over the last few days is leading us to a heat wave, and the National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning for Oregon and Washington.

Here at OEM we normally deal with disasters, but heat waves can be deadly for people who are unprepared to handle them. Personal preparedness is not just important for disasters! It can save your life during day-to-day changes like this heat wave. The weather service has some great tips for preparing for the heat.

The CDC recommends that if you must be out in extreme heat to drink 2-4 cups of water an hour and don't wait until you are thirsty. Make sure to wear sunscreen, and if you need to be active to drink sports drinks to replenish salts and electrolytes that your body will sweat out. Pace yourself, and stay safe. Hot weather doesn't have to stop us from being active but we do have to be careful as heat stroke can be life threatening.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Myth 5 we're all gonna die anyway

Some events like a weapons of mass destruction attack might kill larger numbers of people, but that doesn't mean widespread destruction is a guaranteed thing. In fact, for widespread destruction, a top-grade WMD must be expertly and precisely applied under ideal conditions. This does not meand that WMDs are to be ignored or that they are nothing to fear, it's just that "Mass Destruction" does NOT mean "Total Destrcution" at all.

As in any emergency situation, those who are prepared and have run through scenarios in their minds are more likely to survive. I've been reading a book about a ship in a hurricane and it was interesting to see the different reactions to the crisis.

Some spent their time thinking of what they would do if the ship sank or turned over. They planned their escape routes, thought about what they would take, put valuables in waterproof containers and taped them to their bodies. Others just stood around in shock, imobilized. They could not believe that this large ship would sink (which it did) and therefore did not prepare.

There is no reason to live in fear and the best way to NOT be afraid is to be prepared for all contingencies. You won't always be home when a disaster hits. You might be at work, on vacation, or in another state. Take a few minutes to think it through. Where will you go? Who will you contact and how? Just a few precautions and thoughts can save your life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preparing for disasters can be simple, economical - Statesman Journal

July 22, 2009

Don't hide your head in the sand.

Is being prepared for an emergency too difficult, too time-consuming, too expensive or just too scary? Would we rather ignore it all and hope for the best?

How long did it take the fire department to educate the public on the need for a smoke detector in the home, and why do we get more preparedness info on an airline flight than we get as citizens about disaster?

I would be very interested in your thoughts on this subject. You tell me — how can I get people to be ready to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours? How can I get them to think through the possibility that they may have to either stay home with no power, water and phone, or may have to leave in a hurry with their pets and possibly on foot?

We might have advance warning of a flood, windstorm, snowstorm or even a pandemic flu, but we won't be warned ahead of time for an earthquake. We won't be warned if a truck carrying chemicals has a wreck on the freeway, a plane crashes on Interstate 5 or if there is a school shooting.

No one is going to tell us the week before to get ready for a terrorist attack.

There are simple and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness.

Check out the Oregon Emergency Management blog for a list of items you want to have on hand and please write with any questions you might have. We don't have to be afraid — just ready.

Jennifer Bailey, formerly of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the Public Affairs Coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294, or

Please send questions about emergency preparedness to be answered in this column to Other information may be found at or

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alaska Quake Tsunami Could Devastate West Coast

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
SciTech webpage,2933,534260,00.html

The threat of a devastating tsunami hitting the U.S. West Coast might be higher than previously thought, scientists say, based on a new study of earthquake faults off the coast of Alaska.

Tsunamis are often triggered by earthquakes, as was the case with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which was sparked by the 9.3-magnitude Sumatra-Andaman subduction quake in the same ocean. The tsunami killed nearly a quarter of a million people.

The new research suggests that future tsunamis could reach a scale far beyond that suffered in a 1964 tsunami generated by the great 9.2-magnitude Alaskan earthquake — "the most devastating seismic sea wave to impact the northwestern coast of the U.S. in historical time," said study team member Ron Bruhn, a geologist at the University of Utah.

That tsunami killed about 130 people, according to official records: 114 in Alaska and 16 in Oregon and California, including several who heard it was coming and went down to the coast to watch.

Click on link above to read complete article.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oregon Red Cross

This is a press release courtesy of the Red Cross:

An apartment fire on 16th Street in Springfield displaced several families Sunday morning. Red Cross volunteers responded to the fire scene to care for the displaced families.

Red Cross Emergency Response volunteers met with 5 families to provide emergency basic needs including lodging for the 16 fire victims as well as provide immediate assistance for coping with the fire and appropriate next steps. One household was not home during the fire and Red Cross will be available to assist this family as well.

The Oregon Pacific Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to all residential fires in Lane County. Red Cross provides emergency lodging, food, clothing, and assistance obtaining necessary medications or health items. The Red Cross then continues to work with these families as they plan their long-range recovery including move-in assistance to a new rental as needed.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. Red Cross volunteers are specially trained in various aspects of disaster response, including shelter and feeding, health services and crisis counseling, damage assessment, and follow-up client casework. The volunteers also have the full support of the local Red Cross for additional personnel and resources if needed.

You can help victims of disasters in our community by making a financial gift to the local American Red Cross, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call (541) 344-5244 or donate online at

Oregon Doesn't just have floods

It might seem like Oregon does not have many disasters. We usually hear about the yearly flood in the same old places. However, our state is very large and is divided by the Cascade mountain range into two distinct geographic areas that suffer different types of disasters, many of which are not large enough for a Federal Declaration, but are certainly devastating to those affected.

If an event is not big and horrible, we won’t hear much about it on the news outside of the affected area. If it is not happening to us, we don’t spend much time thinking about it. This can lead to a false sense of security. We forget to plan.

When I encourage people to be prepared for an emergency, I am often told that all we have are floods and that it is “no big deal”. I disagree. Besides flooding being a very big deal, Oregon can and has suffered a wide variety of hazards, both natural and man-made.

Most recently parts of Oregon suffered from The Great Coastal Gale of 2007. A series of powerful Pacific storms hit the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia between December 1, 2007 and December 3, 2007.

The storms on December 2 and 3 reportedly produced an extreme long-duration wind event with hurricane-force wind gusts of up 129 mph at Bay City, Oregon. The storm also brought heavy rains and produced widespread record flooding throughout the region, particularly Vernonia, and was blamed for at least 18 deaths. That’s a big deal.

Oregon’s history reveals many short-term and a few long-term droughts. Long-term drought periods of more than one year can impact forest conditions and set the stage for potentially devastating wildfires.

And don’t forget the Spring Break Quake. Oregon is quite vulnerable to earthquakes (and tsunamis, which often accompany major seismic events) because of the state’s proximity to the Cascadia Subduction Zone just off the Pacific Coast.

Depending on the epicenter, areas receiving major damage from an 8.0 – 9.0 magnitude earthquake would include most of the counties in Western Oregon; the heavily populated metropolitan areas of Portland, Salem, and Eugene would certainly experience major damage.

Landslides also pose significant threat to many communities in Oregon. They threaten transportation corridors, fuel and energy conduits, and community facilities. While not all landslides result in property damage, many landslides impact roads and other infrastructure, and can pose a serious life-safety hazard.

That’s just a few of the events that Oregonians have suffered through over the years. Earthquakes, fires, severe storms, power outages, mudslides, snow storms, and thunderstorms are some potential emergencies we may encounter in the future.

We are also at risk for blackouts, chemical emergencies, and terrorist attacks. Oregon has even seen a tornado or two over the years.

So, why the concern over different types of disasters?

In some cases such as winter storms, we have prior warning, but sometimes we don’t. What if it isn’t a storm? What if one of the big semi trucks carrying toxic chemicals turns over in your town? Your family plan for flooding should be different than your plan for a chemical spill. Knowing what the possibilities are will help you create a better plan.

Knowledge is power.
Brains often freeze under extreme stress. Having a plan and practicing your family plan ahead of time can train you not to freeze. People automatically do what they have learned and practiced.

“Knowing where to go was the most important thing,” says a 9/11 survivor. “Because your brain, or at least mine – shut down.”

Bill McMahon, a Morgan Stanley executive who survived 9/11 said “One thing you don’t ever want to do is to have to think in a disaster.”

Have a plan, get a kit and be informed. Know the possible disasters for Oregon. Talk to your family about what to do in different situations. Stay safe and call or write with any disaster related questions.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Oregonian - Twitter: mightier than the pen

Carrying an amplifier the size of a toaster, Dave Chappelle showed up for an impromptu comedy show in the middle of the night at Pioneer Courthouse Square. He wound up getting a lesson in the power of social networking.
Drawn by rumors on Twitter and Facebook of a free performance, thousands of people packed into the downtown Portland square after midnight on Wednesday.

Children's Health Following a Winter Storm

Or in damp camping locations, summer cabins, etc.

Children are different from adults. Children’s nervous, immune response, digestive and other bodily systems are still developing and are more easily harmed. Children eat more food, drink more fluids, and breathe more air than adults in proportion to their body size. It is important to take extra care to ensure the safety of their food, drink and air following a storm. Of concern is mold, carbon monoxides and contaminated water or household items.

MOLD: To protect your child from mold exposure, you can clean smooth, hard surfaces such as metal and plastics with soap and water and dry thoroughly. Flood water damaged items made of absorbent materials cannot be cleaned and should be discarded. These items include paper, cloth, wood, upholstery, carpets, padding, curtains, and clothes.

Throw away ALL soft or absorbent toys because it is impossible to clean them and they could harm your child. Throw away ALL baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers that have come in contact with flood waters or debris.

CARBON MONOXIDE: Never use portable generators indoors. Place generators outside as far away from buildings as possible. Due to loss of electricity, gasoline or diesel-powered generators may be used during or after a winter storm. Generators used at home should be professionally installed. Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas. Simply opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the home or in partially enclosed areas such as a garage.

DRINKING WATER: If a water source may be contaminated with flood waters, children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should drink only bottled water, which should also be used to mix baby formula and for cooking.

The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or region for days, weeks or even months especially at the coast where many people are now vacationing. We need to continue to protect our most vulnerable population.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

People do odd things during a disaster

Statesman Journal Column
July 15, 2009
Prepare to survive disasters

I've seen and heard of a few things that were done during disasters that are funny to talk about later, but not the best course of action during a disaster.

First there was a really nice couple in Delaware that "didn't need any help" after the devastating flood. They moved their TV into the "dry" room and slept, ate and watched TV in there. When they needed to get anywhere, they took a small rowboat.

Besides the bacteria in the water and the mold, there was also the issue of using electricity in such a situation. They were very nice people but were not prepared to evacuate.

Next we have the older lady who, during an earthquake, decided to hold a large heavy mirror up over the mantle of the fireplace so it wouldn't fall. What should she have done? Duck, cover and hold — not hold the mirror.

And then there's the young couple who went to the Mississippi coast to watch the hurricane. Enough said about that.

It may seem that these people are the minority, but the truth is most people think they will be OK and can do whatever they want -It's the others who need to be prepared, have an emergency kit and have a plan.

"We've got stuff around the house, the animals surely will be OK, nothing ever happens here anyway, right?"

Don't be in denial.

Don't think that these things will never happen to you. If they don't — great! But if they do?

Please be prepared for as many situations as you can. It's like teaching your children to look both ways before crossing the street. I'm telling you — look both ways!

Jennifer Bailey, formerly of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the Public Affairs Coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294, or

Learn more
Please send questions about emergency preparedness to be answered in this column to Other information may be found at www.oregon. gov/omd/oem or

Monday, July 13, 2009

Myth Number 4 - It's too hard

"Good preparedness is too expensive and too complicated"

Nothing could be further from the truth. the problem is, we haven't made preparedness a part of our overall education. we get more preparedenss info on an airline flight than we get as citizens. most of us aren't taught that there are literally thousands of subtle, simple, and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness. The notion that it might be expensive or complicated has come from companies that aggressively market high-prices unnecessary gear.

You can easily pick up one item each time you go to the grocery store. One week, a flashlight, next some energy bars, then handy wipes, jug of water, radio and batteries, matches, filter masks, a blanket, pet food, and whatever else your family can't do without. :-)

On the other hand, I personally was too lazy or busy or whatever to do this so did purchase a kit online at I found these kits to be the best and cheapest although I did not do an exhaustive search. I added my own medications and an extra set of clothes and it is in my trunk.

It is interesting that when we know a storm is coming, there is a run on the grocery store and we get prepared but when we don't know when a disaster will happen we leave it all to chance. Hmmm. Comments?

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Unthinkable - book about human reactions to disaster

Over at the incaseofemergencyblog they had a contest around Amanda Ripley's book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why. You can see the winner's responses here. Many of these people have made preparations and some have real stories about how preparations saved their own lives. Everything from every-day disasters like a fire in your home up to major disasters like floods and hurricanes.

The book is about how humans react to emergency situations and what we can do to prevent or bypass panic or negative reactions. By knowing more about what we need to do and teaching ourselves how to do it we can increase our chances of survival in a disaster. The ultimate goal in a disaster situation is to survive and help your family and friends survive. Knowing more about it helps us achieve that goal.

Black Butte Fire: more about Oregon wildfires

Wildfires are a natural disaster that occur every year in the state of Oregon, and are one of the more potent dangers we face. Between lightning strikes and man-made fires, according to the governor's office Oregon averages 1100 fires burning more than 12,000 acres every year. Not every Oregonian will face a wildfire, but every Oregonian that lives near forested lands needs to have an emergency plan for wildfire situations.

Earlier this week we wrote an unpublished article about the Black Butte II fire. This fire was started by lightning and is burning up near Three Sisters. While many fires like this one burn out in the wilderness of Oregon, these fires often threaten hikers, campers, rural houses and farms, and occasionally towns and cities.

As of last night, the Black Butte II fire is approximately 570 acres in size and 15% contained. The Black Butte Trail and the Metolious Windego Trail are closed. Indian Ford Campground has been evacuated and closed. Forest roads 11, 64, 1120, 1170, and 1430 are all closed for fire fighting efforts and safety.

Here is our original article:

Koin 6 news is carrying a story about firefighting efforts to combat a 300 acre fire near Three Sisters. Known as the Black Butte II fire, lightning is suspected as the starter for this fire. Here at OEM we expect many more fires like this one, and bigger, before the fire season ends.

Forest roads 11, 1120, and 1430 have been closed. You can see more about where wild fires are located on the NWCC Fire Map.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Earthquake insurance

Forgot to mention in the article that earthquake insurance is available and affordable. Your insurance agent may not want to deal with it, but be pushy. It's worth it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prepare now to prevent earthquake loss - Statesman Journal July 1

Simple steps can minimize damage to property, family

"We cannot prevent earthquakes, but we can learn to live with them and to survive them. When the inevitable earthquake strikes, we can be ready. But today, we are not." — Robert S. Yeats, Professor Emeritus Oregon State University and author of Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest does have earthquakes as evidenced in 2001 by the Nisqually quake near Olympia, Wash. This caused toppled chimneys, collapsed buildings and bridges, disrupted gas, electric, and phone service, injured 407 people, and resulted in one death due to a heart attack.

Once an earthquake hits it is too late to protect your family and home. But there are ways to prepare now. Sometimes a little time and a few dollars are all you need to make things safer.
Homeowners, have your home evaluated by a structural design engineer to find out how to strengthen porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports, and garage doors.

Check to see if your house is bolted to its foundations and the chimney is properly secured. Anchor fuel tanks and wood-burning stoves securely to the floor and repair defective electrical wiring.

Consider purchasing an emergency generator and use it only in well ventilated areas.
Inside, hang pictures and mirrors away from beds and seating areas. Secure the TV, computer and stereo and strap the water heater to wall studs. Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs and brace or anchor top-heavy objects. Secure kitchen equipment to the floor, wall or countertop.

These are only a few of the things you can do to help reduce the probability of serious injury and major expense from an earthquake.

Be prepared — for your family's sake.

For more information about earthquakes, go to
Jennifer Bailey, formerly of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the Public Affairs Coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294, or Additional Facts

Learn more
Send questions about emergency preparedness to be answered in this column to Other information may be found at www.oregon. gov/omd/oem or