Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Oregon Office of Emergency Management IS A FORCE OF NATURE OEM is joining thousands around the country who are pledging to be a “Force of Nature” and taking action to prepare for the potential negative impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane season begins June 1 and extends through November 30, and as we saw last year with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, severe tropical weather can impact coastal and inland areas alike. Hurricanes and tropical storms are known for the unforgettable visuals we see on the news every year –trees bending due to high winds and heavy rains rendering TV cameras useless as they look over an abandoned beach. But in addition to these obvious effects, hurricanes and tropical storms can often disrupt life for those in coastal and inland areas through evacuations, prolonged power outages, and flooding. With these risks in mind, we ask that you join in pledging to be prepared for hurricane season by: • Knowing your risk: The first step to Being a Force of Nature is to understand how hurricanes and tropical storms can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for local alerts from emergency management officials and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio. • Taking action: Actions can be small, simple, and quick. You can pledge to develop an emergency plan based on your local hurricane, severe storm, and flooding hazard, and practice how and where you will evacuate if instructed by your emergency management officials. Post your plan in your home where visitors can see it. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against hurricanes. Download FEMA’s mobile app so you can access important safety tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane. Understand the National Hurricane Center warning and alerts. • Being an example: Once you have taken action and pledged (or if you already have), share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet. Or you can even post the Be a Force of Nature widget on your social media profiles. Join us today and pledge to prepare during National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crosswalk enforcement is tomorrow on SE Foster Road with Police

NEWS ADVISORY PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau advised the general public that a crosswalk enforcement action was scheduled for Wednesday to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law. The enforcement action will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the marked, mid-block crossing of SE Foster Road between SE 68th and SE 69th avenues near 6880 SE Foster Road. This mid-block crossing has a pedestrian median, pavement markings and signage alerting people driving and pedestrians of the crossing. A crosswalk enforcement action includes a pedestrian decoy positioned at marked or unmarked crosswalks. Drivers that fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians that jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau. Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to both drivers and pedestrians. The transportation and police bureaus do enforcement actions in response to community requests and to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings. They are conducted approximately once a month. Visit to learn more about the StreetSmart – Go Safe effort.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Businesses can work with FEMA

Doing business with FEMA webinar: FEMA’s Citizen Corps Program hosted a webinar on how to do business with the agency, as well as share business preparedness resources. The 90-minute event offered participants tools, tips, programs and policy guidelines for doing business with FEMA; small business preparedness tips; private sector resources; and an overview of PS-Prep. You can view the webinar at:

Monday, May 14, 2012


SALEM, Ore. – In January, the Siuslaw River rose and covered much of Mapleton, but 22 area families didn’t have to muck out their homes, tear down wallboard or toss waterlogged treasures. That is because those homes had been elevated using funding from FEMA. After the massive 1996 floods, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) earmarked a portion of its FEMA hazard mitigation funds to elevate homes in hard-hit areas like Mapleton. The goal was to provide long-term solutions to repetitive floods. The January 2012 flooding was the first major test of the elevation projects begun 16 year ago. They passed with flying colors. “The stress is nothing like before,” said Bryan Moore, a Mapleton resident. “There was no water in the house—that’s awesome!” Moore’s wife Mashell remembers what it was like in 1996. Her husband is pastor of the church next door which “always floods.” As the water rose, Bryan and the other men in the neighborhood worked frantically to move everything in the church to higher levels. Mashell was left to deal with their 102-year-old home. “I was by myself, trying to haul things upstairs,” Mashell said. “Then the lights went out and I was working in the dark.” She set out candles but the flame ended up setting a table on fire. “It wrecked everything.” When she learned about the FEMA funding, Mashell was the driving force behind elevating their home. The process took time and plenty of paperwork, but by November 1996 her home had been jacked up onto steel piers. It’s a good thing, because Mapleton flooded again that November. Mapleton’s building requirements also have changed since 1996. New construction now must be built above flood levels. Mike McAllister engineered many of the Mapleton home elevations. A long-time resident himself, McAllister knows firsthand what his neighbors went through then and now. “We had fewer people out of their homes this time,” said McAllister. “And by people I mean entire families including kids and pets.” Fewer people out of their homes also meant less mess, less expense and less disruption to the small town along the river. Lane County Emergency Manager Linda Cook is well aware of the community’s flood issues. She will be requesting hazard mitigation money to elevate at least one more Mapleton home and “will be on the lookout for other interested property owners to include in the application.” If elevating the entire structure is not feasible or possible, “a lot of damage can be mitigated,” said Cook. This could include elevating critical structures such as electrical panels, water heaters and furnaces. Cook also recommends people “learn the art and science of sandbagging so you can be ready to use them whenever the river reaches a certain trigger level.” The dictionary defines elevate as “to move or raise to a higher position.” It also means to raise the spirits. Both definitions apply to the Mapleton home elevations.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Arson Awareness Week: Prevent Youth Firesetting

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is pleased to partner with U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Safe Kids USA, USAonWatch, National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), and the National Association of State Fire Marshals to announce the theme for the May 6-12, 2012, Arson Awareness Week (AAW): Prevent Youth Firesetting. This year's theme is intended to raise public awareness of the collaborative effort with fire and emergency service departments, law enforcement, mental health, social services, schools, and juvenile justice to help reduce the incidents of youth misusing fire. Oregon data shows there were more than 500 reported youth set fires in 2010-2011. The majority of these fires were started by youths from 10-15 years of age. "Most people don't realize the serious consequences of youth-set fire behavior," said Oregon Chief Deputy State Marshal Jim Walker. "Whether it's a young child misusing a cigarette lighter or a teen setting a fire for the fun of it, these behaviors are risky, can be deadly, and result in thousands of dollars in property loss." Parents need to be aware they may be held financially responsible for property damage or injuries resulting from a youth-set fire. Youths should be aware they could be cited with a criminal offense for setting an intentional fire (e.g. arson or reckless burning) and face serious legal, financial, and emotional consequences. Youths who do not understand the power of fire can be seriously burned. Here are some fire safety tips for parents/caregivers: * If your teens have a fascination with fire, check their bedroom for matches, lighters, flammable liquids, fireworks, and other devices. * Monitor the internet sites your teen frequents. * If your teen burns candles or incense, be sure to set clear rules that these items must be extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed. * Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of young children at all times. * Have working smoke alarms in your home and practice a home escape plan. If you are concerned because your child repeatedly sets fires, contact your local fire department now, before tragedy occurs. Oregon has an effective, well-developed network of concerned firefighters, law enforcement officers, and counselors.