Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keep Things Organized

Today's article for the Statesman Journal, by Jennifer Bailey.

September 30, 2009

Why prepare if you're not going to evacuate?

Evacuation becomes necessary when your home is made unlivable. However, if you are not going to evacuate, why bother with an emergency kit or family plan?

Even the most minor of disasters can be very inconvenient and being at home does not guarantee you will have everything you need.

If you are staying at home because of a chemical spill or other airborne hazard, you will need plastic sheeting and tape to seal up a room to protect yourself and your family from outside contaminants. If you are sealed in a room, you will need personal sanitation items along with the items listed above and more.

If you have pets, they will need food and water, toys, leash and bed, too.

The point is that in an emergency you don't want to be looking all over the house for the basic items you need to make your stay more comfortable. You don't want to have to go out in bad weather to pick up items at the store. You want everything you need to be in one place and ready for use and you want every member of your family to know where it is.

Today is the last day of National Preparedness Month. Don't wait any longer. Check out and get ready!

Jennifer Bailey, formerly of FEMA, is the public affairs coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294 or

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What to do during a tsunami?

The current Tsunami advisory is for a very minor tsunami of 1 to 2 feet possible in a few hours on the Oregon Coast. This is a good time for us to discuss Tsunamis and what to do.

The tsunami warning for Oregon today has prompted questions about "what do I do?" or "what should I not do?" Since earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean can cause tsunamis that can reach our coast, these questions are important to have answered ahead of an event.

FEMA's What to do before and during a tsunami page tells us exactly what we should do during a possible tsunami event:

1. Turn your radio on to listen for tsunami warnings and cancellations.

2. Move inland and to higher ground and stay there. The only way to avoid a tsunami is to be on ground higher then the wave.

3. Stay away from the beach! Never go to the beach to watch the wave. If you are close enough to see the tsunami then you will be unable to escape from the wave.

4. Know the signs of a tsunami - if you can see the ocean and you can visibly watch the ocean recede (go away from the shore) then a large tsunami is coming and you need to get inland and to higher ground immediately.

One possibility for preparedness is to know where you can go in the event of a tsunami. Knowing the closest high ground can help you know exactly where to go. With your emergency kit you can wait on high ground until the event has passed.

Most tsunamis are small and we usually do not notice them. But large tsunamis can damage property and kill. If you are prepared and know what to do then you can ensure you and your family's safety.

NOAA also has a Tsunami Preparedness Page with links to more information.

8.0 Earthquake in South Pacific triggers tsunami warning for Oregon

According to the USGS web site, at 7am this morning an 8.0 Earthquake struck 125 miles south the Samoan Islands has triggered a tsunami warning for Oregon. Two secondary quakes of 5.6 followed the initial earthquake.

According to the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Watch, the coastal regions of the Pacific were issued a tsunami warning. Oregon may see a tsunami of 15-25 cm (approximately 6-10 inches).

We will continue to monitor and update as we receive more information.

The Ready Campaign

Just a friendly reminder that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will deliver a major speech on national preparedness TODAY, Tuesday, September 29, 2pm EST. That's 11 our time.

Even better, the speech will be streamed live at www.DHS.Gov.

Secretary Napolitano will thank all of our Citizen Corps volunteers, our Ready Campaign, our national partners, and the thousands of others in the National Preparedness Month Coalition for all their hard work. She’ll also challenge our country to see preparedness as a shared responsibility, and urge Americans to build a year-round culture of readiness and resilience in our communities.

If you can’t watch live, the speech and additional resources will be posted at www.Ready.Gov later in the day. This is a great chance for us to build on our momentum and all the hard work we all put in this month. And so I urge you to watch today at 2pm EST, and to forward this e-mail to all of your friends and family.
Thank you again for all of your great work, and let’s keep it going throughout the year!

The Ready Campaign

Monday, September 28, 2009

90% of natural disaster in the US are floods

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched an educational campaign this week to teach Americans about the dangers of flooding, the nation's most common natural disaster.

Officials say many people disregard the risk of flooding because they don't live near a river or other body of water, but 25% of flood insurance claims come from outside of high-risk areas.

Officials also are trying to eradicate the myth that only property owners need flood insurance because renters also often lose valuable property in floods.

More info at

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ore. workshops planned on tsunami buildings


CANNON BEACH, Ore. -- Should an earthquake generate a tsunami on the Oregon coast, there might be only 20 minutes to get to high ground.

But regional leaders, engineers and scientists plan to gather next week in Cannon Beach and Portland to talk about a different option - a tsunami evacuation building, or TEB.

Former Cannon Beach Mayor Jay Raskin, president of Ecola Architects, has designed a conceptual city hall building that could double as a TEB. Built of concrete, it would sit about 15 feet above the water on pilings, allowing water to flow under it. He says such a building would not only save lives but would allow city government to function after a disaster.

Japan has about a dozen such buildings that have been around 15 to 20 years, said Harry Yeh, the Edwards professor of coastal and ocean engineering at Oregon State University. But in other areas, the idea has not been popular, largely because tsunamis do not occur that often.

Last year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released guidelines for the structures, sometimes referred to as vertical evacuation buildings.

The basic concept could be applied to even simpler structures, such as platforms that could be built in state parks and on beaches, said Yumei Wang, the geohazards team leader with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

"It would be like a glorified lifeguard chair," she said. "It would have to be concrete, very robust." The structures could do double duty as heliports or whale-watching platforms, Wang added.

Her design features five legs, a round top and numerous ladders.

"This is no frills thing," she said.

Raskin says the building he envisions might cost $4 million, double that of a traditional building.

"We are trying to get the information to go to our citizens and say we want to do this and this is how much it is going to cost," he said. "We know it is a lot more expensive, but it needs to be done. We need to figure out the funding."

And he adds, "We've invited the visitors to the coast and we need to keep them safe."

Do Tsunami Evacuation Buildings Make Sense For Oregon Coast?

Portland, OR September 24, 2009 12:25 p.m.

Policy makers and engineers are meeting in Portland and Cannon Beach this week to discuss the need for tsunami evacuation buildings. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.
A tsunami evacuation building is a building that’s been put on stilts - so that when a tsunami hits, people can stay above the water.

They’ve been built in Japan, but there are none along the U.S. coastline.
Althea Turner of Oregon Emergency Management says FEMA is realizing that the traditional message of “go inland and uphill,” isn’t enough in towns like Cannon Beach and Seaside.

Althea Turner: “We have 10 maybe 15 minutes in the case of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami and that’s just not long enough for individuals to get from the water front to high ground.

Cannon Beach is considering turning its city hall into a tsunami evacuation building, but deep foundations and concrete pillars make it much more expensive.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swine Flu - we can help prevent it!

H1N1, or what some call swine flu, is very serious. It can be unpredictable in nature, but we can help prevent the spread if we work at it.

Oregon Emergency Management takes this flu seriously. However, we don't want people to live in fear. Because knowledge is power, here is some knowledge to help you get through this season safely.

Get your regular seasonal flu shot. This is not for H1N1 but will cover you for three other strains that may show up this winter, and it is possible to get H1N1 and a different flu at the same time.
If you are identified as at risk for H1N1, you will need to get two shots a few weeks apart (one shot may be sufficient, depending on the circumstances). Information can be found at on who will be the priority groups for those shots.

The flu is a set of symptoms: respiratory, fever, headache, cough, sore throat and muscle aches. It can put you in bed for seven to 10 days, and the cough and fatigue can last for a month or more.

The flu is spread by droplets (coughing/sneezing). H1N1 has heavy droplets that fall to the ground within 3 feet. So keep your distance, cover your cough with your sleeve — or as my mom taught me, cough and sneeze down into your shirt.

Wash your hands regularly, keep them out of our mouth, nose and eyes, and use antibacterial waterless hand cleanser If you don't feel well, stay home. We can stay healthy if we are considerate of others and work together.

Federal Funds to help cover S. Oregon firefighing costs

MEDFORD, Ore. - More than 475 fire fighters from across Oregon responded to the two fires burning in Southern Oregon this week, and the federal government is now aiding in the firefighting costs. So far, the cost of suppressing the South County Fire Complex in Ashland and Medford has reached around $820,000.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has authorized the use of federal funds to help curb costs to local agencies. Five air tankers and five helicopters fought the complex. Everytime an air tanker dropped a round of retardant Monday it cost around $12,000. FEMA representatives say funds were approved when around 400 homes in Ashland and Medford were threatened.

Federal Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAGP) is provided through the president's Disaster Relief Fund. The fund is made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster.

The FEMA funds will ease costs for local fire departments, law enforcement agencies, emergency management operations, and the Oregon Department of Foresty which brought in resources from all over the state of Oregon. "There's significant overtime costs on an incident of this size and FEMA pays for 75 percent of those costs," Chief Deputy Fire Marshall Jim Walker said.

The Red Cross also incurs costs when staging resource centers like the one set up in Ashland Monday afternoon. "In our particular instance we utilized one of the local armories, and its not a free gift to the American Red Cross. We have to pay for that. It can be very expensive. The last cost I heard was like $480 every 24 hours," Red Cross Emergency Service Director Antone Hernandez said.

Fire officials say if federal dollars are not obtained the firefighting costs could fall on the community. "Fires of this size can cost up to one-million to two-million dollars to suppress and fight. And of those smaller districts that don't have those resources (they) need to go out and get them, they usually can't afford them. And therefore the county or the community would have to find some way to pay for that resource," Walker said.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Governor invokes emergency conflagration act in response to Deer Ridge Fire

Governor Kulongoski Invokes Emergency Conflagration Act in Response to Deer Ridge Fire
Fire located near Medford threatened nearly 300 homes at its peak

Salem – Yesterday afternoon Governor Ted Kulongoski invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the fire near Medford in Jackson County.

In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, the Governor determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the fire and that the threat exceeds the fire-fighting capabilities of local fire-fighting personnel and equipment.

By invoking the Emergency Conflagration Act, the Governor ordered the Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Fire Marshall to mobilize fire resources statewide and coordinate with all appropriate Fire Defense Chiefs for the use of personnel and equipment to suppress and contain the fire.

“Conditions in the area are very volatile and the fire threatens both life and property, which is why I have directed all available state resources to help contain this fire,” said Governor Kulongoski. “I want to make sure that this community has every resource necessary to fight this fire and protect the safety of citizens of Jackson County.”

The fire has burned approximately 633 acres and efforts to line the perimeter continue. This emergency is declared only for the Deer Ridge fire near Medford and was effective immediately.

The Governor also invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act yesterday in response to the Siskiyou Fire near Ashland, which remains at approximately 153 acres.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer Chainsaw Safety

It’s the last day of summer and even though the weather is great – we know the rains are coming so here is a little safety reminder. You might even be doing some last minute clean up of the yard now so be careful.

According the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] each year, approximately 36,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries from using chain saws.
Many storm and flood cleanup activities can be hazardous but the use of chain saws is one of the most dangerous. Hazards that could be encountered include downed power lines, carbon monoxide from equipment, injury from falls, or being hit by motor vehicles.

Chain saws are widely used to remove fallen trees and tree branches after winter storms. One way to avoid injury is to follow manufacturer’s instructions and properly sharpen and lubricate chain saw blades with bar and chain oil. The operator should periodically check and adjust the tension of the chain saw blade to ensure good cutting action.

Choose the proper size of chain saw to match the job, and include safety features such as a chain brake, front and rear hand guards, stop switch, chain catcher and a spark arrester. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, and cut-resistant leg wear.

Avoid power lines. This is important for everyone, not just chain saw users and always cut at waist level or below to ensure that you maintain secure control over the chain saw. Keep bystanders away. If injury occurs, apply direct pressure over site(s) of heavy bleeding; this act may save lives.

Remember that all gasoline-powered engines produce carbon monoxide. This gas can rapidly build up in a closed in area, and individuals can be overcome without even realizing it. Confusion, headache, dizziness, fatigue, and weakness may set in too quickly for victims to save themselves and can be deadly.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Application period opens for seismic rehabilitation grants

SALEM, Ore – Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) announced today that grants are available for eligible applicants for seismic rehabilitation projects on certain type facilities. Grant applications will be accepted effective Sept. 15 through mid November, 2009. Information regarding eligibility and grant information can be located on OEM’s website: http://www.oregon.go/OMD/OEM/index.shtml.

The Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) provides funds to strengthen public schools and emergency services buildings so they will be less damaged during an earthquake. Reducing property damage, injuries, and casualties caused by earthquakes is the goal of the SRGP.

Senate President Peter Courtney has been instrumental in sponsoring legislation to provide the means to begin these projects. Approximately $30 million included in the 2009-11 Governor’s Recommended Budget to fund this program received approval by the Legislative Assembly during the 2009 Legislative Session.

“We have a responsibility to keep Oregonians as safe as possible,” Courtney said Tuesday. “This is a great opportunity for Oregon to move forward to retrofit school buildings and emergency services facilities.”

A 2007 report from Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries shows over 1,000 school and emergency services buildings at high or very high risk for collapse during an earthquake.

A recent report, “The Geologic Hazards, Earthquake and Landslide Hazard Maps, and Future Damage Estimates for Six Counties in the Mid/Southern Willamette Valley” indicates that an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter Scale in Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Oregon Coast would result in future damage estimates at $12 billion in property damage and nearly 1,000 deaths in the region, which includes Yamhill, Marion, Polk, Benton, Linn, and Lane Counties.

FEMA news release on Pet preparedness

The Time to Assess Animal Preparedness Plans is BEFORE Disaster Strikes

September is National Preparedness Month, and this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using the calendar observance to focus on changing perceptions about emergency preparedness, and helping Americans understand what it truly means to be Ready.

Being Ready is all about taking four simple but all-important steps: get an Emergency Supply Kit; make a Family Emergency Plan; be informed about emergencies and their appropriate responses; and get involved in community preparedness initiatives. According to FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger, the time to make proper provisions for pets is before disaster strikes.

“Including pets, working animals and livestock in disaster planning can be vital to peace of mind and should be part and parcel to basic emergency preparedness,” said Hunsinger. “If you must evacuate your home, it’s always best to take your pets with you, but plan ahead. Work with your office of emergency management to learn about evacuation policies and pet shelters.”

Sound animal disaster preparedness planning should encompass: one week’s emergency rations and water; identification tags, leg bands or tattoos; pet first aid kits; and current photos of your animals, filed with your important papers. If you use a ‘pet sitter’ while on vacation, discuss disaster plans and evacuation sites, and if your regular veterinarian does not have a disaster plan, locate one who does.

Detailed plans for pet and livestock owners are available at, but basic guidance includes:
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you. If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pet.

Make a backup-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals your self. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

Ensure that pets and livestock have some form of identification that can facilitate their return.
Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them. Call your local animal control office or wildlife resource officer.

Do not approach wild animals that have taken refuge in your home. Open a wibdow or provide another escape route. Should the animal stay, call your local animal control office or wildlife resource officer.

Free emergency information for pet owners is also available by calling 1-800-BE READY, at FEMA’s website at and FEMA FOR KIDS site: In addition, an instructional video demonstration of how to build a disaster emergency plan is available at:

H1N1 Swine Flu Webcast tomorrow for small businesses

DO YOU WORK IN OR OWN A SMALL BUSINESS? FLU.GOV H1N1 WEBCAST TOMORROW Friday, September 18, 1-2 PM EDT Join experts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Federation of Independent Businesses Legal Foundation Learn how to prevent and reduce the spread of the flu in a webcast conversation, hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ask experts your questions and share your concerns so that you can be prepared this flu season. To participate, visit

Tsunami warning system test

Tsunami warning-system test set for Washington, Oregon, California this morning
The National Weather Service is testing its tsunami-warning system this morning in Washington, Oregon and California.
By Susan Gilmore
Seattle Times staff reporter

The National Weather Service tested its tsunami-warning system this morning along the West Coast to make sure the alert system was working.
The test message was designated for coastal communities throughout western Washington.
At the same time, the Weather Service used the alert as an earthquake drill for some schools and businesses.

Normally, the alert would say the magnitude of an earthquake, where it occurred and whether a tsunami was likely, said Jeff Michalski with the National Weather Service. But today's test will only ask if the alert was received, Michalski said.

"This is a test transmission for dissemination of tsunami information," he said.
The Weather Service broadcast the test alert through its Emergency Alert System (EAS) on NOAA radio.

The earthquake drill was statewide in a joint effort with Washington State Emergency Management.

There are more than 1,000 NOAA Weather Radio stations across the nation with 22 serving Washington state. More than 96 percent of the state's population is served by NOAA Weather Radio.

In 1975, NOAA Weather Radio was designated the sole government-operated radio system to provide warning information for both natural and technological hazards.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Make a Plan for your Pets

September is National Preparedness Month, which is a great time to get your family and your family pet ready. This year, Oregon Emergency Management is focusing on changing perceptions about emergency preparedness from negative to positive.

Just because you plan ahead to be able to take care of yourself during a disaster doesn't mean you are thinking negatively. On the contrary, preparedness is a very positive step. For you pet's sake, preparing means getting an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet-care buddy system.

Your pet kit should include the basics such as food, water, leash, collar, medicines, bedding, sanitary items, first aid kit, treats and toys. A good place to keep the kit is inside your pet carrier.

At or by calling (800) BEREADY, pet owners can receive free emergency preparedness information. In addition, an instructional video is available at that demonstrates how to make a plan for your pets.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oregon Wireless interoperability Network (OWIN)

From Bill Gallagher, Public Affairs for the OWIN Project

Before the first snows fall on Oregon’s mountains, technical crews are hustling to
pave the way for completion of an improved public safety radio system that will eventually benefit emergency responders in all 36 of the state’s counties.

Meanwhile in Salem, engineers and project managers are planning and implementing one of the most far-reaching public works projects in the state’s history.

Welcome to OWIN, the Oregon Wireless Interoperability Network. This is the ambitious project launched in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As we saw that day when firefighters were trapped in the second of the World Trade Center towers, first responders must be able to communicate with each other across jurisdictional lines. Had those FDNY firefighters only known what the NYPD knew – that Tower Two was ready to collapse – hundreds of lives might have been saved.

While here in Oregon there’s not been an incident nearly as catastrophic as what happened that day, there have been times when aging, incompatible emergency radio networks have frustrated efforts to save lives and protect property. Emergency communications systems were crippled and most contact was lost with communities in Clatsop and Columbia counties during the storms of December 2007. Top Off, a major emergency preparedness drill in Portland that same year, demonstrated weaknesses in communications among responders from different agencies responding to a simulated terrorist attack..

While OWIN has been a long time coming, with the support of Governor Ted Kulongoski the Legislature has now approved a major investment to build the microwave infrastructure for a new, trunked radio system which will eliminate the barriers to radio communication that exist between agencies. Faced with the fact that 80% of the state’s current emergency communications system has to be replaced or re-built, these leaders have made a commitment to the citizens of Oregon and the men and women who protect their lives and property.

Between now and January 1, 2013, towers and buildings on hundreds of mountaintop sites across the state will be built or re-built as the backbone of the OWIN system. Beginning in 2011, a new radio system will be built for the Oregon State Police, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Corrections. Emergency responders with cities, counties, special districts, tribal governments and the federal government will have the opportunity to become part of this enhanced radio system.

Right now, an architecture and engineering firm is conducting site surveys across the state. By next month OWIN will have hired a construction management and general contracting firm to oversee the monumental task of installing the buildings and erecting the towers that are the infrastructure of the new radio system.

To follow the progress of the OWIN Project or to learn more about OWIN, you can check out the website at If you’d like to be included on the OWIN mailing list for regular updates on the project’s progress, e mail OWIN Public Affairs Manager Bill Gallagher at

Oregon 150 Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Today inside the Capital there will be tables of information and many folks celebrating 150 years of Hispanic/Latino contributions to Oregon.

Oregon Emergency Management will be giving out preparedness information. A Woodburn firefighter has graciously volunteered to help me out today. Come see us.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Secretary Napolitano announces H1N1 Preparedness Guide for small businesses


WASHINGTON—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today joined Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Division Deputy Director Daniel Jernigan to announce a preparedness guide to assist small businesses in planning for the H1N1 flu.

“Small businesses play an essential role in our national effort to prepare for all disasters and emergencies—including the H1N1 flu,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This guide will help America’s small businesses maintain continuity of operations and resiliency as the fall flu season approaches.”

“Small Business owners should take the time to create a plan, talk with their employees and make sure they are prepared for flu season,” added Administrator Mills. “For countless small businesses, having even one or two employees out for a few days has the potential to negatively impact operations and their bottom line. A thoughtful plan will help keep employees and their families healthy, as well as protect small businesses and local economies.”

Outbreaks of H1N1 flu are occurring now across the country and will likely coincide with the return of seasonal flu this fall and winter. The preparedness guide offers small business employers tools and information to help them plan for and respond flexibly to varying levels of severity of an H1N1 outbreak—which may lead to increased absenteeism, and, if the outbreak becomes more severe, may include restricted service capabilities and supply chain disruptions. Additional preparations may be necessary if a more serious outbreak evolves during the fall and winter.

Employers are encouraged to put strategies in place now to protect their employees and their businesses in advance of the fall flu season. Included in the preparedness guide are tips on how to write a continuity of operations plan, steps for keeping employees healthy, frequently asked questions about the 2009 H1N1 flu and a list of additional resources that employers can access online.

For more information and to view the preparedness guide, visit

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stop where you are right now and think!

On Friday, I attended a safety fair in Hillsboro and as we were handing out our standard preparedness information, we began to talk about disasters. LOL We always do, but this time, we gave ourselves a scenario.

We were over an hour from home and work. What if the big earthquake hit right then? What would we do first. Well obviously we would duck, cover and hold, but what about after?

The roads are probably closed due to power lines being down. The phones aren't working. There is no power for computers.

How do we check on our families? Do we have a family plan in place so that our children and loved ones know where to go or what to do if we are not around?

How do we get back to work? Those of us in Hillsboro work in emergency management and are needed at work when something happens.

Where will we stay if we can't get home for days? What will we eat when restaurants are closed - no ATMs working? Is the water still working in the building or will we need to find the hot water tank?

The chances of us not being at home or work when a big disaster strikes is pretty high. Truthfully for a moment, we - who work for emergency management - just stood there looking at each other. Then our brains kicked in and we decided the following was the best we could do.

First - protect ourselves and those around us.
Next - Help the injured
Try text messaging as that often works when cell phones don't
Listen to the radio in the car for information

If possible use the helicopter that was there on display to shuttle people where they need to be.
(that won't always be a possibility obviously)

Congregate in the nearest building that is safe.

Gather supplies - we were lucky, everyone had lots of supplies - it was a safety fair after all.

Determine our next steps based on information on the radio.

Now - wherever you are right this minute - what would you do if the big one happened NOW?
Studies have shown that the people who have thought through these situations are the ones who survive because the other just freeze up.

You don't want to have to think in an emergency - plan ahead. Talk it over.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Governor's $250,000 Grant to Amateur Radio Goes Online as Oregon Hams Install New Winlink System

This month, Oregon ARES® members will complete the state-wide installation of Winlink, thanks to a $250,000 grant from Governor Ted Kulongoski. In 2007, the governor was impressed by the hams' ability to handle emergency communications when severe winter storms wreaked havoc on Oregon's North Coast and flooded the City of Vernonia, knocking out 911 services, Internet and phone service for an extended period of time.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said that during the storms, the radio operators were "tireless in their efforts to keep the systems connected." When even state police had difficulty reaching some of their own troops, ham radio worked, setting up networks so emergency officials could communicate and relaying lists of supplies needed in stricken areas.

"I'm going to tell you who the heroes were from the very beginning of this...the ham radio operators," the governor said at the time. "These people just came in and actually provided a tremendous communication link to us." Because of the service rendered by Amateur Radio operators in providing communications support, the governor allocated funds for the installation of a Winlink system to integrate Amateur Radio with the Internet.

The equipment will be installed in the Emergency Operating Center in each of Oregon's 36 counties. Once the monies were distributed, ARES® members researched and purchased the equipment that would be needed, formalized and signed contracts between the state, counties and ARES®, and allocated space to install the antennas and equipment within each EOC. The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2009 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) scheduled for October 3-4.

"Using Winlink equipment and other amateur equipment already in place at the EOCs, ARES® teams will have to quickly create a communications network, in some instances without depending on other infrastructure such as telephones or Internet," said ARRL Oregon Section Public Information Coordinator Steve Sanders, KE7JSS. "Many will not use commercial electric power. Despite these limitations, the ARES® teams should not only be able to quickly pass local messages, but also communicate with other regions of the country. The ability to pass information in and out of disaster areas is crucial to the effectiveness of emergency responders."

When Oregon's State Office of Emergency Management was activated on December 3, 2007, hams over the course of the next four days used Winlink to pass message traffic. "The Winlink system performed perfectly, and the ARES® team at the OEM was able to pass approximately 200 messages into and out of the State of Oregon Emergency Operations Center," said Marion County ARES Emergency Coordinator Dean Davis, N7XG. "The only mode of communications for several Oregon counties for the first two days of the storm was the Winlink system."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and it's a good time for Oregon Emergency Management to remind us all that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our families and our communities during emergencies.

Emergencies do happen, but taking action now can help minimize their effect on our lives.
This year, according to Rebecca Marquis, the acting director of the Ready Campaign, NPM is focusing on helping Americans understand what it means to be really "Ready."

Preparedness goes beyond fire alarms, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, and extra food in the pantry.

Being "Ready" includes: getting an emergency supply kit (72-hour kit at least), making a family emergency plan, being informed about emergencies and their appropriate responses, and getting involved in community efforts such as Citizen Corps.

For information about NPM or for help getting your family, business or community prepared, call (800) BEREADY or go to,, or, where you'll find free preparedness resources.

Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Are you really ready?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FEMA news release on National Preparedness Month

Family-Friendly Tools Help Parents Prepare

September is National Preparedness Month, four calendar weeks set specifically aside to encourage citizens to prepare for disasters and emergencies by developing a plan, creating a disaster supply survival kit and staying informed. FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger reminds parents that they are their family’s first-responders.

“Emergency plans help families stay in contact if they are separated unexpectedly. If you already have a plan, keep it current. If you don’t yet have a plan, get started with free Family Preparedness Plan templates available at,” said Hunsinger. “Another great resource is Ready Kids available at It’s a family-friendly tool that helps parents and teachers educate children ages 8-12 about emergencies, and how they can better prepare.”

Ready Kids features fun activities such as Pack it Up Matching games, crossword puzzles, coloring pages and Scavenger Hunts, as well as step-by-step instructions on the role kids can play in family preparedness.

FEMA recommends that individuals and families prepare a disaster supply kit since it may take time for help to arrive and shelters and food to become available following a disaster. Detailed checklists are available at, but minimum guidelines include:

Store at least one gallon of water per person per day, and store the water in plastic containers. Water should be replaced every six months

Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food per person to include ready-to-eat canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, and energy bars

Basic first-aid supplies like adhesive bandages, gauze pads, and antiseptic wipes

Essential medications

A copy of emergency contact numbers, a battery operated radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries.

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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Flood season is coming - get insurance now

Flooding causes millions of dollars in damage yearly and the only way renters and homeowners can insure their property against such losses is with flood insurance. Flood insurance should be purchased now because there is a 30 waiting period before the policy will take effect and already the rains are upon us.

Floods can happen because of heavy rains, leaking levies, urban runoff, sandbags forcing water to other areas and rivers changing course.

Many people believe the following myths:

Myth 1: If my home floods, FEMA will come and fix it for me.

Truth: If the flooding is severe enough, the Governor may ask for a Federal declaration. If the President approves, FEMA may assist you with temporary housing and MINOR repairs. There are always loans but insurance is your best bet.

If the flooding is not severe enough to warrant government assistance, flood insurance will still help cover your losses. Without it, you would be stuck paying for repairs out of pocket. We often see flooding situations where stream or urban runoff impacts a few homes and therefore does not qualify for any government disaster aid. In those situations, a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy can save a homeowner or renter considerable financial losses.

Myth 2: My regular homeowner’s insurance will cover me if I get flooded.

Truth: The average home or business insurance policy does not cover flooding or other special events like earthquake. You need to get separate policies for these disasters.

The basic facts:

Homeowners can insure a home structure up to $250,000 and its contents up to $100,000. These can be two separate policies. Contents are not automatically included.

Renters can cover belongings up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure buildings and contents up to $500,000.

The average yearly cost of a NFIP policy is around $400. Policies can be purchased from your local insurance agent if your county is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program. Call your insurance agent for details.
The NFIP was created in 1968 to provide flood insurance at a reasonable cost and is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

More information on the National Flood Insurance program and your home’s flood risk can be found at .

Be informed and go to for more information on different types of disasters. Oregon Emergency Management wants Oregonians to be well informed and prepared.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prepare4 is doing a segment from 1:30 to 6:00, interviewing many emergency folks about their use of twitter.

I will be interviewed at 2:15 Pacific time.

Sorry for the short blog today.

Friday, September 4, 2009

September events

Just a few things going on that I am involved in this month:

Sept. 11 Hillsboro Emergency Preparedness Fair at Genentec 4625 NW Shute Rd from noon - 4:00. Stop by the OEM table

Sept. 12. Jefferson Fire District Emergency Services Expo at Jefferson High School - will add the address later - from 10 - 3. I'll be there.

Sept. 15 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at the Capital from 10 - 2. People of Hispanic/Latino heritage will be celebrating 150 years of contributions to the state. I'm just there handing out info.

Will let you know are more things come up. Would love to meet some followers in person.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Part of Vast Ocean Observing network will be in Newport

by Matthew Preusch, The Oregonian
Wednesday September 02, 2009, 1:20 PM

OSU scientists will build an ocean array of instruments and gliders off the coast of Newport as their part of a $386 million ocean observatory network. Not long after landing the Pacific fleet of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Newport is getting another feather in its cap.

The coast city will soon be home to one piece of a $386 million world-wide ocean observing network announced today.

Oregon State University researchers will spend $14 million over the next five years to create a network of surface moorings, seafloor platforms and undersea gliders in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Newport and Grays Harbor, Wash.

"This project will be transformative in that our ability to observe and monitor the ocean will be constant - 24 hours a day instead of the episodic nature of a week at sea here and there," said Mark Abbott, dean of OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.

The sites in the Northwest are just one part of a global observation network called the Ocean Observatories Initiative that is essentially a massive infrastructure project to collect data on world's oceans, data that will be used to better understand climate change, tsunamis, ocean acidification and other phenomenons.

This is one of several autonomous underwater gliders that will continuously sample Pacific Northwest ocean waters as part of a new ocean observatory initiative.

The initiative stems from a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and the private Consortium for Ocean Leadership. Construction is scheduled to begin in September with $106 million in taxpayer money from the stimulus bill and another nearly $6 million from the science foundation.

The global network is being led by OSU oceanographer Tim Cowles, who is serving as director of the Ocean Observatories Initiative program office at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

The six observation sites - three off the coast of Newport, three near Grays Harbor- that OSU is responsible for developing will together be called the Endurance Array.

The ocean sites will be connected to a cable that will provide power and high bandwidth communication. That part of the network will be installed by the University of Washington, which is receiving $126 million. The Seattle-based university also plans to build a seafloor observatory on the Juan de Fuca Plate and a shore station near Pacific City.

"It will be like having underwater laboratories at each location," said Robert Collier, an OSU oceanographer and project manager for the array. "One of the limitations of ocean research has been the lack of power and connectivity. That will no longer be a problem."

Consortium for Ocean LeadershipA map of the proposed $386 million Ocean Observatories Initiative announced today.

Collier said the sites will have instruments to measure things like water temperature, salinity and carbon dioxide levels.

"Once we turn this thing on, the data we gather within a year will be staggering, " said Oregon State University oceanographer Jack Barth. "It will provide information on climate change, ocean biology, winds and currents...on just about everything. We will be able to analyze storms at sea for the first time and actually measure how much carbon dioxide gets washed out from the near-shore to the deep ocean. The possibilities are endless."

Instruments should be in the water by 2012, and the project is designed to last 25 years. Officials said they would work with fishers and coastal communities to determine locations for the moorings required to anchor some of the instruments.

The creation of the sites off the coast of Newport, already home to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and soon to be home to the NOAA research fleet, will add to the city's growing reputation as a research hub.

"It is clear that we are well on the way to achieving a critical mass in oceanic sciences, thanks to the combined effort of the legislature, the governor and the federal government," said State Sen. Betsy Johnson, who chairs the Oregon Coastal Caucus.
-- Matthew Preusch,, Twitter: @mpreusch

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

From the Oregonian - When I'm staying turns to Save me

Evacuations: When 'I'm staying' turns to 'Save me!'
by The Editorial Board
Tuesday September 01, 2009, 2:37 PM

(Not necessarily the opinion of OEM - but interesting article)

People who resist mandatory evacuation orders during catastrophes such as the L.A. fire should be required to pay costs if they later need rescuing

Some people resist mandatory evacuation orders and try to ride out disasters such as hurricanes to wildfires, only to discover that they have underestimated the danger and need rescuing. It happened again this week when some homeowners refused to evacuate in the face of the wildfire rolling across the Los Angeles hills, only to later ask firefighters to brave the flames and come to their rescue.

Are these people entitled to help? Well, yes, if firefighters judge that they can reach them safely. But in our view, the holdouts also are obligated to pay at least some of the costs of their rescue.

Oregon and other Western states that confront fast-moving wildfires sweeping into rural communities regularly deal with homeowners who insist on staying and fighting to save their homes. Florida, Louisiana and other gulf states face the same issue, often on a much larger scale, when hurricanes bear down on coastal cities.

Yet no state has figured out exactly how to deal with people who refuse to follow evacuate orders, only to later require difficult, costly and often dangerous rescues. Texas, in a new law that took effect Tuesday, is the first state in the nation to give police the explicit power to arrest people, and forcibly remove them, if they conclude they are in imminent danger by refusing to follow evacuation orders. In other states, a person cannot be forced to evacuate under most conditions.

Police, firefighters and disaster management officials have tried all sorts of non-coercive tactics to get people to follow their orders and evacuate in the face of fires, hurricanes, chemical spills and other dangers. They've asked people for the names and contact information of their next of kin, and they've even used the "Magic Marker" strategy, insisting that people who stay behind write their Social Security numbers on their limbs and torsos so that their remains can be identified.

Yet people continually defy mandatory evacuation orders, either because they don't believe the danger is severe, or because they insist on staying and defending their homes. Three people suffered third-degree burns in the Los Angeles fire when they stayed to protect their house and tried to submerge themselves in a backyard hot tub when flames overran their home. When some homeowners in the mountain community of Oak Glen near Los Angeles refused to evacuate, firefighters wound up sleeping in their yards overnight to protect them. The same scenario has played out time after time during major Oregon wildfires, too.

There are some who argue that those who disobey a mandatory evacuation order forfeit their right to later rescue. In fact, there isn't a fire or rescue crew in this country that would take that position; if it's possible for rescuers to safely reach people and save them from fire, flooding or other danger, they are going to do so. And that's the way it should be.

But it seems to us that those who refuse a mandatory evacuation order do take on a responsibility to cover any extra public costs that are incurred if it is necessary to later rescue. It's not fair for other taxpayers to bear all the costs of their heedlessness. Yes, billing the holdout homeowners in the Los Angeles fire for their later rescue, for example, is not a perfect solution.

And yes, it would be impossible in many major disasters, such as hurricanes, to hold thousands, even tens of thousands, of people accountable for failing to evacuate to higher ground.

But current laws and practices surrounding mandatory evacuations are neither safe nor equitable. The people who won't leave, who insist on staying only to call later for help, create extra complications for firefighters, and extra costs for everyone else. And when the smoke clears, or the water recedes, it seems only fair to send them a bill.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Swine Flu: 10 things you need to know

By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe, Ap Medical Writer – Tue Sep 1, 11:22 am ET
ATLANTA – Since it first emerged in April, the global swine flu epidemic has sickened more than 1 million Americans and killed about 500. It's also spread around the world, infecting tens of thousands and killing nearly 2,000.

This summer, the virus has been surprisingly tenacious in the U.S., refusing to fade away as flu viruses usually do. And health officials predict a surge of cases this fall, perhaps very soon as schools reopen.

A White House report from an expert panel suggests that from 30 percent to half the population could catch swine flu during the course of this pandemic and that from 30,000 to 90,000 could die.

So how worried should you be and how do you prepare? The Associated Press has tried to boil down the mass of information into 10 things you should know to be flu-savvy.

1. No cause for panic.
So far, swine flu isn't much more threatening than regular seasonal flu.
During the few months of this new flu's existence, hospitalizations and deaths from it seem to be lower than the average seen for seasonal flu, and the virus hasn't dramatically mutated. That's what health officials have observed in the Southern Hemisphere where flu season is now winding down.

Still, more people are susceptible to swine flu and U.S. health officials are worried because it hung in so firmly here during the summer — a time of year the flu usually goes away.

2. Virus tougher on some.
Swine flu is more of a threat to certain groups — children under 2, pregnant women, people with health problems like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Teens and young adults are also more vulnerable to swine flu.

Ordinary, seasonal flu hits older people the hardest, but not swine flu. Scientists think older people may have some immunity from exposure years earlier to viruses similar to swine flu.

3. Wash your hands often and long.
Like seasonal flu, swine flu spreads through the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick. Emphasize to children that they should wash with soap and water long enough to finish singing the alphabet song, "Now I know my ABC's..." Also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

4. Get the kids vaccinated.
These groups should be first in line for swine flu shots, especially if vaccine supplies are limited — people 6 months to 24 years old, pregnant women, health care workers.
Also a priority: Parents and caregivers of infants, people with those high-risk medical conditions previously noted.

5. Get your shots early.
Millions of swine flu shots should be available by October. If you are in one of the priority groups, try to get your shot as early as possible.
Check with your doctor or local or state health department about where to do this. Many children should be able to get vaccinated at school. Permission forms will be sent home in advance.

6. Immunity takes awhile.
Even those first in line for shots won't have immunity until around Thanksgiving.
That's because it's likely to take two shots, given three weeks apart, to provide protection. And it takes a week or two after the last shot for the vaccine to take full effect.

The regular seasonal flu shot should be widely available in September. People over 50 are urged to be among the first to get that shot.

7. Vaccines are being tested.
Health officials presume the swine flu vaccine is safe and effective, but they're testing it to make sure.

The federal government has begun studies in eight cities across the country to assess its effectiveness and figure out the best dose. Vaccine makers are doing their own tests as well.

8. Help! Surrounded by swine flu.
If an outbreak of swine flu hits your area before you're vaccinated, be extra cautious.
Stay away from public gathering places like malls, sports events and churches. Try to keep your distance from people in general. Keep washing those hands and keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

9. What if you get sick?
If you have other health problems or are pregnant and develop flu-like symptoms, call your doctor right away. You may be prescribed Tamiflu or Relenza. These drugs can reduce the severity of swine flu if taken right after symptoms start.

If you develop breathing problems (rapid breathing for kids), pain in your chest, constant vomiting or a fever that keeps rising, go to an emergency room.

Most people, though, should just stay home and rest. Cough into your elbow or shoulder. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks. Fluids and pain relievers like Tylenol can help with achiness and fever. Always check with a doctor before giving children any medicines. Adult cold and flu remedies are not for them.

10. No swine flu from barbecue.
You can't catch swine flu from pork — or poultry either (even though it recently turned up in turkeys in Chile). Swine flu is not spread by handling meat, whether it's raw or cooked.
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
On the Net:
CDC swine flu basics:
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's FAQ's:

Sec. Napolitano and Admin. Fugate mark the beginning of National Preparedness Month

WASHINGTON—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today marked the beginning of the sixth annual National Preparedness Month—focusing on becoming better prepared for and more resilient in the face of emergencies of all kinds.

“National Preparedness Month is about building a culture of personal preparedness and shared responsibility across our country,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This month, we ask all Americans to visit to learn what they can do to help their families, businesses and communities stay safe during an emergency—whether it be hurricanes like Katrina, the fires we are fighting in California or pandemic influenza.”

“Every American is a critical member of our nation’s emergency response team,” said FEMA Administrator Fugate. “By taking a few simple steps now, each of us can make sure we are better prepared for the next emergency or disaster.”

For more information on the Ready Campaign and National Preparedness Month, visit or—or call 1-800-BE-READY or 1-888-SE-LISTO for more emergency preparedness information.