Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Emergency Managers Urge Caution

SEATTLE – As skies clear and weather turns warmer, Pacific Northwest residents are hoping for glorious weather this Fourth of July. But however the weather turns out, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) warn that careless handling of fireworks and outdoor grills can ruin parties and picnics – and entire summers. In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries, and according to FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy, 73 percent of fireworks injuries occurred between 18 June and 18 July.

“When celebrating the Fourth of July, Americans need to remember to use fireworks, fires and barbecues with care. The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public displays held by trained professionals,” said Murphy. “Summer holidays should be fun and generate good memories, not pain and remorse. Have fun, but be safe.”

If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
• Observe local laws.
• Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
• Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
• Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
• Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
• Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
• Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
• Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.

• Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as tents, they pose a fire hazard and a risk of exposing occupants to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic. Grills should be positioned at least 10 feet away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Keep, matches, lighters, and starter fluid out of the reach of children in a locked drawer or cabinet.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
• Use long barbeque mitts and long-handled grilling tools to protect the chef from heat and flames when cooking.
• Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
USFA, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, serves the American public and the nation’s fire services through training, data collection and analysis, public fire education, and fire protection technology research. For more information, visit:
For wildfire preparedness tips, sample preparedness plans and emergency checklists, visit or

Follow FEMA online at,, and Follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at Social media links are provided for reference only. FEMA does not endorse non-government websites, companies or applications.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

South Cascade, Western Lane districts declare wildfire season July 2

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) South Cascade and Western Lane districts announced today that wildfire season will begin on July 2 in all of Lane county as well as eastern Linn county. The South Cascade District protects more than 1.1 million acres of private and public lands from wildfire within the two-county area. The Western Lane District protects 750,650 acres in western Lane County.

“While the spring has been wet and cool, July and August will bring the typical dry and warm weather that will cause the grass and brush to cure out quickly, South Cascade District Forester Lena Tucker said. “We want the public to enjoy their summer weekend outings and always keep fire prevention in their thoughts.”

Cooperator’s help key to 2010 fire season success
“As the 2011 fire season gets underway, I especially want to thank private landowners for their firefighting help last year,” Western Lane District Forester Grant Smith said. “Private landowners together with ODF, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and rural fire departments, are a key component of Oregon’s complete and coordinated fire protection system,” he said.

What fire season means
Entry into fire season imposes certain restrictions on recreational and work activities in the forest. Industrial operations are required to have firefighting equipment on site. Since restrictions may vary, it is advisable to check with the nearest ODF office for rules specific to the local area.

In eastern Linn County, Regulated-Use Closures will be in effect within one-half mile of the Quartzville Rd. from Green Peter Dam to the U.S. Forest Service’s Willamette National Forest boundary. Under this closure, campfires are permitted only at designated locations and on sand or gravel bars that lie between the water and high water marks where there is no vegetation. Use of fireworks is prohibited in this corridor.

Industrial Fire Precaution levels (IFPL) are part of ODF’s closure system that regulates industrial activity in the forests west of the Cascade Mountains. When fire season takes effect, the districts will be at an IFPL 1, which imposes the fewest restrictions and generally requires a fire watch at industrial forest operation sites. IFPL details can be found at:

Wildfire facts
On the lands protected by the Department of Forestry, the 10-year average is about 1,100 wildfires burning a total of 26,000 acres. In a typical year, about two-thirds of the fires are caused by people and the remainder by lightning. Of the human-caused fires, fewer than half are caused by forest landowners and operators. And operators alone account for only about nine percent. Across all Oregon forest protection jurisdictions, about 2,600 wildfires burn roughly 239,000 acres annually on average.

Through June 27, two lightning-caused fires have burned less than one acre on lands protected by ODF. During that period, 43 human-caused fires burned about 26 acres.

The Oregon Department of Forestry provides fire protection to 16 million acres of private and public forestlands statewide, including 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands. There are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oregon Fireworks - keep it legal and keep it safe

The Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), Oregon fire service, natural resource agencies, Oregon fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts encourage Oregonians to keep it legal and keep it safe when using fireworks. The 2011 Oregon fireworks sales season opens today, June 23 and runs through July 6. The OSFM and their partners want everyone to know what are legal fireworks in Oregon, where they are permitted, and the important steps everyone can take for fireworks safety.

"Legal fireworks may be purchased only from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands," advises Interim State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. "And regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. For example, fireworks are prohibited on all Oregon beaches, in parks, and campgrounds."

Oregon law bans possession, use or sale of fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman Candles, and firecrackers are ILLEGAL in Oregon.

Under Oregon law, officials may seize illegal fireworks and fine offenders up to $500 per violation. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

There were 117 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon during 2010, resulting in more than $1.6 million in property damage. Over the past five years from 2006 through 2010 there were 1,057 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon resulting in one death, 62 civilian injuries, and more than $4.7 million in property damage.

"All Oregonians share the responsibility to use only legal fireworks and use them carefully," adds Walker.

The OSFM encourages everyone to use the four Bs of safe fireworks use:
*Be Prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
*Be Safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks.
*Be Responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes then soak in a bucket of water before disposal.
*Be Aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

The four B's of fireworks safety brochure is available here:

Tips in Spanish are also available at:

More fireworks information is available at:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Triangle of Life - Mis-information - please read.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries response.

Based on what I know, Doug Copp, the author of the “Triangle of Life” idea, is a misguided individual. His advice utilizing the “Triangle of Life” as a shelter strategy during an earthquake is incorrect, dangerous and potentially deadly, and is not accepted by the Red Cross, FEMA or any emergency response organization in the United States. “Drop, cover and hold” has proven to save lives and should be part of everyone’s emergency preparations for an earthquake.

James Roddey, Earth Sciences Information Officer, Here is the American Red Cross response:

Red Cross Response:

Rocky Lopes, PhD
Manager, Community Disaster Education
American Red Cross National Headquarters

Recently it has been brought to my attention that an email from Doug Copp, titled "Triangle of Life," is making its rounds again on the Internet. "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is CORRECT, accurate, and APPROPRIATE for use in the United States for Earthquake safety. Mr. Copp's assertions in his message that everyone is always crushed if they get under something is incorrect.
Recently, the American Red Cross became aware of a challenge to the earthquake safety advice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On." This is according to information from Mr. Doug Copp, the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of American Rescue Team International (a supposed private company not affiliated with the U.S. Government or other agency.) He says that going underneath objects during an earthquake [as in children being told to get under their desks at school] is very dangerous, and fatal should the building collapse in a strong earthquake.

He also states that "everyone who gets under a doorway when a building collapses is killed." He further states that "if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, to roll out of bed next to it," and he also says that "If an earthquake happens while you are watching television and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair."

These recommendations are highly inaccurate for application in the United States and inconsistent with information developed through earthquake research. Mr. Copp based his statements on observations of damage to buildings after an earthquake in Turkey. It is like "apples and oranges" to compare building construction standards, techniques, engineering principles, and construction materials between Turkey and the United States.

We at the American Red Cross have studied the research on the topic of earthquake safety for many years. We have benefited from extensive research done by the California Office of Emergency Services, California Seismic Safety Commission, professional and academic research organizations, and emergency management agencies, who have also studied the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" during the shaking of an earthquake. Personally, I have also benefited from those who preceded me in doing earthquake education in California since the Field Act was passed in 1933.
That the claims made by Mr. Copp of ARTI, Inc., does not seem to distinguish is that the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" is a U.S.-based recommendation based on U.S. Building Codes and construction standards. Much research in the United States has confirmed that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" has saved lives in the United States. Engineering researchers have demonstrated that very few buildings collapse or "pancake" in the U.S. as they might do in other countries. Using a web site to show one picture of one U.S. building that had a partial collapse after a major quake in an area with thousands of buildings that did not collapse during the same quake is inappropriate and misleading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which collects data on injuries and deaths from all reportable causes in the U.S., as well as data from three University-based studies performed after the Loma Prieta (September, 1989) and Northridge (January, 1994) earthquakes in California, the following data are indicated: Loma Prieta: 63 deaths, approximately 3,700 people were injured. Most injuries happened as a result of the collapse of the Cypress Street section of I-880 in Oakland. Northridge: 57 deaths, 1,500 serious injuries. Most injuries were from falls caused by people trying to get out of their homes, or serious cuts and broken bones when people ran, barefooted, over broken glass (the earthquake happened in the early morning on a federal holiday when many people were still in bed.) There were millions of people in each of these earthquake-affected areas, and of those millions, many of them reported to have "dropped, covered, and held on" during the shaking of the earthquake.

We contend that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" indeed SAVED lives, not killed people. Because the research continues to demonstrate that, in the U.S., "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" works, the American Red Cross remains behind that recommendation. It is the simplest, reliable, and easiest method to teach people, including children.
The American Red Cross has not recommended use of a doorway for earthquake protection for more than a decade. The problem is that many doorways are not built into the structural integrity of a building, and may not offer protection. Also, simply put, doorways are not suitable for more than one person at a time.

The Red Cross, remaining consistent with the information published in "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages," (visit ) states that if you are in bed when an earthquake happens, remain there. Rolling out of bed may lead to being injured by debris on the floor next to the bed. If you have done a good job of earthquake mitigation (that is, removing pictures or mirrors that could fall on a bed; anchoring tall bedroom furniture to wall studs, and the like), then you are safer to stay in bed rather than roll out of it during the shaking of an earthquake.

Also, the Red Cross strongly advises not try to move (that is, escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape.

Identifying potential "void areas" and planning on using them for earthquake protection is more difficult to teach, and hard to remember for people who are not educated in earthquake engineering principles. The Red Cross is not saying that identifying potential voids is wrong or inappropriate. What we are saying is that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" is NOT wrong -- in the United States. The American Red Cross, being a U.S.-based organization, does not extend its recommendations to apply in other countries. What works here may not work elsewhere, so there is no dispute that the "void identification method" or the "Triangle of Life" may indeed be the best thing to teach in other countries where the risk of building collapse, even in moderate earthquakes, is great.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What’s Shaking at the Oregon Coast?

Sponsored by the Oregon Red Cross and the Oregon
Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
Contact James Roddey for more information at
971.673.1543 or

Join award winning author and educator James Roddey for a series of eye-opening presentations all about getting ready for "The Big One!" At each talk there will be an emergency gear give-away and you'll also learn why elephants might make the best tsunami warning system ever... and it’s all free!

James Roddey, a.k.a.
The Prophet of Doom

Tuesday, July 5 , 6:30 PM - Yachats Commons

Wednesday, July 6, 6:30 PM - Florence Events Ctr.

Thurs., July 7, 6:30 PM Reedsport Pacific Auditorium

Go Kit Passport for emergency kits

The Go Kit Passport is a great tool for listing all of your important information, contact numbers, prescriptions, doctors, family members, animals, etc.

Download a copy of the Go Kit Passport at

Prints 8X5 approx.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

FEMA Administrator Calls Amateur Radio “The Last Line of Defense”


In an FCC forum on earthquake communications preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate described the Amateur Radio operator as “the ultimate backup, the originators of what we call social media.” The forum-- held May 3 at FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC -- brought together officials from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), FEMA, the FCC and the private sector. Fugate and FCC Bureau of Public Safety and Homeland Security Chief Jamie Barnett gave the opening remarks.

Later in the forum, Fugate spoke more on Amateur Radio. “During the initial communications out of Haiti, volunteers using assigned frequencies that they are allocated, their own equipment, their own money, nobody pays them, were the first ones oftentimes getting word out in the critical first hours and first days as the rest of the systems came back up,” he told the forum. “I think that there is a tendency because we have done so much to build infrastructure and resiliency in all our other systems, we have tended to dismiss that role ‘When Everything Else Fails.’ Amateur Radio oftentimes is our last line of defense.”

Fugate said that he thinks “we get so sophisticated and we have gotten so used to the reliability and resilience in our wireless and wired and our broadcast industry and all of our public safety communications, that we can never fathom that they’ll fail. They do. They have. They will. I think a strong Amateur Radio community [needs to be] plugged into these plans. Yes, most of the time they’re going be bored, because a lot of the time, there’s not a lot they’re going to be doing that other people aren’t doing with Twitter and Facebook and everything else. But when you need Amateur Radio, you really need them.”