Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make sure your vehicles are winter-ready to travel safely on our roads

A video taken from inside an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper's patrol car last winter is a reminder for all drivers to avoid any distraction and do everything you can to drive safely, especially during the winter season when roads are slick and the unexpected happens quickly.

On January 7, 2010 at about 8:22 a.m. OSP Trooper Josh Nagle was westbound on Highway 20 near milepost 10 during icy conditions enroute to a reported injury traffic crash on Santiam Pass when the driver of an eastbound pickup lost control and traveled across the centerline. Nagle, who had been with OSP for one year, steered to the right shoulder in an attempt to avoid the oncoming out-of-control pickup but was struck nearly head-on. After the initial impact, a dump truck following Nagle's patrol car struck the rear of the involved pickup.

Bend Fire Department personnel spent about 30 minutes using ‘Jaws of Life' to extricate Nagle before he and the other driver were transported by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with non-life threatening injuries.

An investigation by Deschutes County Sheriff's Office concluded with the other driver being cited and convicted for Failure to Maintain a Lane of Travel.

"We are thankful this crash wasn't a fatal reminder and that both drivers recovered from their injuries. We hope this video reminds everyone to use your safety restraints and to be aware at all times, especially when winter and wet weather conditions can make driving challenging for anyone," said Superintendent Chris Brown.

OSP and ODOT urge everyone to prepare now for winter driving, following the tips and useful resources mentioned Monday in ODOT's news release:

"Now is the time for all drivers to get prepared and for car owners to make sure your vehicles are winter-ready to travel safely on our roads," said Brown.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Posted: October 26th, 2010 3:18 PM

Oregon State Fire Marshal Randy Simpson reminds residents to keep fire safety at the forefront when participating in Halloween festivities.

"Events and activities surrounding Halloween can increase the risk of fire and injuries," says State Fire Marshal Randy Simpson. "When you combine an increase in candle use with decorations, costumes, and children, you have an increased fire risk. A safer option is to use battery-operated candles. We want to remind families to remember fire safety when decorating and participating in activities throughout the weekend."

In the five-day period surrounding Halloween (Oct. 28 through Nov. 1), over the past five years there have been 290 structure fires in Oregon resulting in 10 injuries and more than $5.5 million in property damage.

With Halloween just a few days away, the Office of State Fire Marshal offers tips to keep everyone safe:
• Only purchase costumes, wigs, and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
• Avoid flowing costumes or those that drag; these may easily contact an open flame and catch fire.
• Keep flammable materials such as dried flowers, corn stalks, hay bales, crepe paper, and other decorations well away from open flames and heat sources including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
• Consider using flashlights or battery-operated candles when illuminating jack-o-lanterns.
• Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torchlights when decorating walkways and yards.
• If using candles, place them out of reach of children and pets.
• Always use a sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic candleholder.
• Never leave candles burning unattended and be sure to blow them out before leaving the room or before going to sleep.
• Don't light candles with items embedded in them such as twigs, flowers, or leaves.
• Check decorative light sets for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Dispose of any damaged sets.
• Don't overload extension cords or electrical sockets.
• Be sure to have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom.
• Fight arson by reporting suspicious activity in your area to your local law enforcement agency.

More fire safety information is available at:
If you are planning to host a haunted house, you can find state regulations at:

Monday, October 25, 2010


Posted: October 25th, 2010 1:24 PM

Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for children, but sometimes the most hectic for parents. Nearly 94 percent of children between the ages of four and twelve participate in Halloween activities each year, so the Oregon State Police - Missing Children Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) understand parents and children have concerns when planning for Halloween activities.

Parents need to take a moment to consider basic safety precautions that will help make Halloween and "Trick or Treating" a safer night of fun:

* CHOOSE bright, flame-retardant costumes or add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags so children are easily seen in the dark. In addition, carry a glow stick or flashlight.

* PLAN a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, streets that are isolated, or homes that are poorly lit inside or outside.

* NEVER send young children out alone. They should always be accompanied by a parent or another trusted adult. Older children should always travel in groups.

* ALWAYS walk younger children to the door to receive treats and don't let children enter a home unless you are with them.

* BE SURE children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.

* DISCUSS basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when walking to and from houses.

* CONSIDER organizing a home or community party as an alternative to "trick-or-treating."

* MAKE sure children know their home phone number and address in case you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.

* TEACH children to say "NO!" or "this is not my mother/father" in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. And teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.

* REMIND children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to parents and/or law enforcement.

Child safety is vital year round, but Halloween is an especially important time for parents and children to pay extra attention to their surroundings and not let their guard down. To help parents be prepared year round, the Oregon State Police – Missing Children Clearinghouse (OSP MCC) provides ID Complete Child Identification and DNA kits in case your child ever becomes missing. The free kits are available in English and Spanish.

To obtain a child ID Complete kit from the Oregon State Police - Missing Children Clearinghouse, call (503) 934-0188 or outside Salem at 1-800-282-7155, or e-mail . Please provide your name, address, number of kits needed and a call back phone number when making a request.


About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 2,475,300 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 151,300 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 957,760 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 39,334,670 pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at .

### ###

Contact Info: Public Relations Department
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Office: (703) 837-6111

Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
Pager: (503) 323-3195


-Thirty-Day Count Down for Flood Insurance?-

SEATTLE—The National Weather Service is projecting La Nina weather conditions this year, with attendant wet weather and above average lowland snow events. Here in the Pacific Northwest, flood season traditionally runs early November to early March—and this year may be a real wet one. According to FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy, National Flood Insurance offers the only comprehensive safety net against flood losses.

“Our first fall storm has already soaked roads and saturated soils throughout much of the Pacific Northwest, and floods are by far our leading cause of disaster-driven property loss,” said Murphy. “The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) pays off whether or not there is a Presidential disaster declaration. But there is a thirty-day waiting period before the coverage takes effect, so do not wait until waters rise.”

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies are available to communities that agree to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management practices, and according to Murphy, virtually every community in the northwest qualifies. “By aggressively managing their floodplains, local officials can guarantee access to affordable coverage, and that’s important,” said Murphy. “If you already have flood insurance, keep it current—now is a good time to review your policy to make sure it meets your current needs. If you don’t have flood insurance, now is the time to reconsider your financial exposure.”

Flood insurance covers structural damage and contents for all insurable residential and non-residential buildings. Policies can be purchased from any licensed insurance agent or broker. Maximum coverage for single-family homes is $250,000 for the structure itself, and $100,000 for contents. Renters can also insure their personal belongings for up to $100,000. Businesses can insure buildings for up to $500,000 for the structure, and contents for up to $500,000.

For more information about the NFIP visit or call 1-800-427-4661.

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.

Friday, October 22, 2010


NOAA Annual Winter Outlook Released Today Forecasts "Winter of Extremes" for U.S.

WASHINGTON - Today, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2010 U.S. Winter Outlook predicting extreme weather patterns for different regions of the country this winter, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reminding individuals to get ready for winter storms and extreme cold. Americans can find helpful tips and recommendations to help them get prepared at

Among other things, NOAA's outlook forecast that the Pacific Northwest could have a colder and wetter than average winter, while the South may be warmer and drier than usual. While the threats vary across different parts of the country, almost everyone, regardless of where they live, is likely to experience some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives.

"With winter right around the corner, it's never too early to start preparing for snowstorms, icy roads, and other types of severe weather," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Whether you live in an area that is used to severe winters or not, there are three simple steps all Americans should take to get ready: put together an emergency supply kit, develop a family communications plan, and stay informed about the risks and emergencies in your community."

"Besides severe winter weather, disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, which is why it's important to be prepared wherever you live," Fugate continued. "I urge everyone to visit for more helpful tips."

Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms. An emergency supply kit both at home and in the car will help prepare people for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.

An emergency supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries. Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:

Rock salt to melt ice on walkways;
Sand to improve traction;
Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment;
And adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.
Ensure your family preparedness plan and contacts are up to date and exercise your plan. Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government, and ensure your home and car are prepared for the winter weather.
Finally, everyone should get familiar with the terms that are used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe a winter storm hazard include the following:

Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
For more information and winter preparedness tips, please visit:

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.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

5 counties join pet evacuation disaster drill

Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian
CANBY -- Animal noises pierced the chilly morning air inside the livestock barn of the Clackamas County Fairgrounds on Wednesday.

But instead of the usual oinks and moos, shrill howls from 20 or so dogs filled the cavernous room. The 25 or so "cats" sat silent, seeing as how they were actually plush toys.

The assembly of pets live and fake allowed animal service officials from Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties to stage a mock evacuation and sheltering exercise for pets. The training exercise helped emergency preparedness officials test their procedures for the mass sheltering of pets after a major disaster.

"With Hurricane Katrina and various other disasters, we have seen that people love their pets and they're part of the family," said Diana Hallmark, manager of Clackamas County Dog Services, which coordinated the exercise. "Emergency pet sheltering is that extra piece that allows people the peace of mind to be able to evacuate in a safe manner when they're first asked."

Wednesday's exercise simulated a post-earthquake evacuation of residents and their pets. Red Cross volunteers ran a human evacuation shelter in the fairgrounds' pavilion hall a short distance away.

First, community volunteers brought their dogs as well as stuffed toy bunnies, turtles and other toy cats to the pet shelter. Organizers feared real cats might have proved too "temperamental" for training purposes, said Tim Heider, a Clackamas County spokesman.

Officials then took pictures of each pet with its owner, with one photo going on top of each kennel. The owners and pets were each tagged with matching wristbands or collars with ID numbers: red tags for female pets and blue ones for males. The pets were then led to one of the individual kennels spaced in a grid pattern throughout the room.

Pets designated as having wounds or injuries were directed to a triage center. The most seriously "injured" pets, such as a stuffed horse, were sent to Multnomah County's mobile vet unit behind the building.

The training follows completion of a regional planning effort for the mass evacuation and sheltering of pets in the event of a large-scale disaster. Congress and Oregon passed laws calling for such plans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The practice session and the proximity of the pet and human shelters helped Clackamas resident John Gill feel more confident about potentially leaving his home in an emergency.

Under normal evacuation circumstances, "I'm not convinced I would give up my dog to a shelter," said Gill, whose 3-year-old poodle, Henry, participated in the exercise. "But I feel confident in this situation, where I can see him and I can talk to him."

At the end of the exercise, organizers noted several areas needing improvement, such as spreading out the reunification of owners and pets, putting more distance between the cats and barking dogs, and bringing in propane heaters.

The exercise also helped pet owners note their own weak spots.

Tualatin resident Noralyn Danielle said she learned she needed to complete emergency preparation work for her two Siamese cats, which had remained at home during the exercise.

"I didn't have their vaccination numbers. I couldn't remember the vet's name," Danielle said. "It's a wake-up call for us, especially if they need medication. It's all those things I would've never thought of."

Organizers of the exercise emphasized that owners should keep a three-day supply of food, water and medicine for their pets in case of a disaster.

Sandy resident Sarah Richardson said the exercise taught her to talk with relatives to ensure they could retrieve her three dogs from a shelter should anything happen to her during an evacuation.

"If I've lost everything in a disaster, if you reunite with your family and on top of that your pet -- that would be the ultimate comfort," Richardson said.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mitigation can save lives, property, money and lots of hassle!

Mitigation is one of those words people throw around expecting everyone to understand what it means. Though the word may not be common, it is very important. Here’s the definition.

“Mitigation” is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects. This means taking steps to reduce damage from future hazards, like flooding.

Oregonians who need to make repairs or rebuild as a result of the December and January storms have a responsibility to themselves, their families and their neighbors to rebuild in a way that reduces future flood losses. It’s safer, cheaper, and much easier to limit future destruction than to repair it afterward and the rebuilding phase of a disaster is the ideal time to consider ways to limit future damage.

Mitigation steps that can be taken to protect homeowners from suffering repetitive loss include rebuilding with materials less likely to be damaged by water and raising utility connections and electrical outlets. Owners should avoid building in a flood plain unless they elevate and reinforce the structure and/or seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.

Not only does mitigation save lives and property, it also may qualify you for lower-cost flood insurance. Contact your insurance agents for premium rates, and check with your local planning department or online to find ways to mitigate.

More information about mitigation strategies to reduce flood risk can be found at

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Wet La Niña Winter On The Way

Kristian Foden-Vencil October 5, 2010 Portland, OR

Oregon has enjoyed some wonderful sunny days over the last couple of weeks. But as Kristian Foden-Vencil reports forecasters predict it's going to be an especially wet winter.

Last year, winter was pretty warm and comparitively dry. The region was moving out of an El Niño year. Now, says Clinton Rockey a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, we're in a La Niña pattern.

Clinton Rockey: "La Niña means we have cooler than usual water in the central and north Pacific ocean. and what that will bring to us is energized storm track for the winter months and generally speaking that means more rainfall for the Pacific Northwest and of course in the mountains that's going to result in a lot more snowfall."

He says rain will gradually increase now as we go through October. Then the big storms are expected to start in November. That's when the typhoon season ends in the western Pacific -- and moisture from those storms can curl over and come back across the ocean.

Clinton Rockey: "Certainly compared to last year this is going to be wetter. In fact, we haven't seen a wet one now probably for five or six years since we saw one this wet, that we're anticipating."

As for temperatures, he's not as sure where they’re headed. He says with more moisture there'll probably be more clouds, which means warmer nights and colder days.

In Portland, the city transportation department has already scheduled a winter preparedness meeting for next month, in anticipation of a wet winter.

Spokeswoman, Cheryl Cook, says they're also asking people to keep their storm drains clean.

Cheryl Cook: "Prior to a heavy rain fall event, when the forecast calls for it, to get out and stay on the curb with a rake or a pitchfork and check the catch basin nearest your home or your business."

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is also making predictions of a wetter, stormier year, with at least one Arctic outbreak likely.

Up in Seattle, utilities and government agencies have already kicked off a "Take Winter By Storm" campaign -- complete with a web page and a checklist of how to get prepared.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lists two really serious weather events in Oregon over the last 20 years. Both involved flooding.

The worst was over the winter of 1996-97 when there was $4 billion dollars worth of damage.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Citizen Corp needs you

After September 11, 2001, America witnessed a wellspring of selflessness and heroism. People in every corner of the country asked, "What can I do?" and "How can I help?" A group named Citizen Corps was created to help all Americans answer these questions through public education and outreach, training, and volunteer service.

Citizen Corps has five programs where citizens may volunteer to be of service in their local areas. The five programs are Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Fire Corps, Medical Reserve Corps, Neighborhood Watch (, and Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS). For information on all of these programs go online to

The group that I want to discuss with you today is the CERT program. CERT educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs.

One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other. This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved 800 people. However, 100 people lost their lives while attempting to save others. This is a high price to pay and is preventable through training.

CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can

make a difference. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

To find and join a CERT group in your area, go online at, click on programs and then CERT. You will be asked to enter the zip code for your area. Thank you for helping your community.

Friday, October 1, 2010

American Red Cross

Let's start with a stunning fact: 65% of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.

When was the last time you tested your smoke alarm? Do you have one on every level of your home? And how old are the batteries?

October is Fire Prevention Month, the perfect time to focus on fire safety. Test your smoke alarm and re-test it on the same date every month going forward. Replace the batteries at least once a year or check on 10-year batteries. And keep in mind that while carbon monoxide alarms are also lifesavers, they're not a substitute.

Want to do more? Talk to your family about a fire escape plan and then practice, practice, practice. And if a fire really does happen? Remember to get out, stay out and call 9-1-1. In no time at all, your Oregon Red Cross will be there to help.
Let's start with a stunning fact: 65% of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.

When was the last time you tested your smoke alarm? Do you have one on every level of your home? And how old are the batteries?

October is Fire Prevention Month, the perfect time to focus on fire safety. Test your smoke alarm and re-test it on the same date every month going forward. Replace the batteries at least once a year or check on 10-year batteries. And keep in mind that while carbon monoxide alarms are also lifesavers, they're not a substitute.

Want to do more? Talk to your family about a fire escape plan and then practice, practice, practice. And if a fire really does happen? Remember to get out, stay out and call 9-1-1. In no time at all, your Oregon Red Cross will be there to help.