Monday, June 29, 2015

Ridgefield 9-1-1 phone service restored


All phone service, including 9-1-1 service for Ridgefield, WA, has been fully restored. 

Residents should NOT test their residential phone service by calling 9-1-1 to confirm this. 

911 outage for Ridgefield, WA



There is a reported phone outage in Ridgefield effecting Centurylink customers due to fiber cut.


If you need to reach 911 dispatch, please use your cell phone if you're calling from Ridgefield.


Cell phone coverage seems to be intact in this area.


If you have an emergency and are unable to reach 911, you can still go to your local fire or police station to report an emergency.


This service outage is expected last until 11:00 pm tonight.


Please do NOT call 911 to test your phone.


Heat Wave rolls on


The temperatures might have abated slightly from last week's forecast, but the temperatures will remain in the 90's into the weekend. Here's what the coming week's forecast looks like for Vancouver, WA:


Remember the following guidelines:

If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

  •  Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • NEVER leave anyone, especially children or pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
  •  Infants and young children
  •  People aged 65 or older
  •  People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 
  • Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
  If you must be out in the heat:

             Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Cut down on exercise. If you must       exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.



      Try to rest often in shady areas.  Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat      (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses. Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.



And remember, the following cooling centers are still available:


Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) has contacted community partners to set up cooling centers.

  In Vancouver they are:

      •  Firstenburg Community Center, 700 N.E. 136th Ave.; Monday-Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m;                      Friday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

     •  Marshall/Luepke Community Center, 1009 McLoughlin Blvd.; Monday-Thursday 5:30 a.m. to              9 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sunday.

  • Vancouver Public Works' Water Resources Education Center, along the Columbia River and waterfront trail, is an air-conditioned option for exploring our natural resources, from aquaria to hands-on exhibits to toddler-size learning at Puddles Place.  Regular Water Center hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
     Additionally,cooling stations are now available at Washougal municipal complex at 1701 C Street and other       locations to provide relief from the expected high temperatures. 

       •  Washougal municipal complex, 1701 C St., Washougal; City Hall, Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5
          p.m.
      
  •     Washougal Library at 1661 C St. Washougal, WA 98671 -  Saturday 10-6         

  •    Washougal Community Center - Sunday 2-6

      In Battle Ground: Battle Ground Community Center for a cooling shelter, next week, starting Monday, June 29 – Thursday, July 2 from 8 am to 8 pm @ 912 E. Main Street.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cooling Centers in the Clark County area

UPDATED as of 26 JUNE 15 at 4:30 pm: 

The excessive heat warning issued by NWS is upon us. Please read below for additional info.

·        Cooling centers available in Clark County are listed below.

        Latest National Weather Service forecast: Excessive heat warning remains in effect until 5 am  Sunday 28 June. Daytime high temps to hit 95 and 105 on Saturday. Nighttime low temperatures:  from 60 - 70 degrees. 


Reminder:

Public Health and emergency management officials urge residents to protect themselves from heat during the forecasted hot spell, when regional temperatures are predicted to hit 100 degrees and remain hot for the next week.

Heat-related problems are preventable,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer. “We are encouraging people to avoid or limit physical activity outdoors, take shelter in air-conditioned buildings, and drink plenty of fluids. Elderly people and the very young are especially vulnerable during periods of intense or prolonged heat.”



Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) has contacted community partners to set up cooling centers.

In Vancouver they are:

      •  Firstenburg Community Center, 700 N.E. 136th Ave.; Monday-Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m;               Friday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

     •  Marshall/Luepke Community Center, 1009 McLoughlin Blvd.; Monday-Thursday 5:30 a.m. to            9 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sunday.

  • Vancouver Public Works' Water Resources Education Center, along the Columbia River and waterfront trail, is an air-conditioned option for exploring our natural resources, from aquaria to hands-on exhibits to toddler-size learning at Puddles Place.  Regular Water Center hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Additionally, cooling stations are now available at Washougal municipal complex at 1701 C Street and other locations to provide relief from the expected high temperatures. 

       •  Washougal municipal complex, 1701 C St., Washougal; City Hall, Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5            p.m.
      
  •     Washougal Library at 1661 C St. Washougal, WA 98671 -  Saturday 10-6         

  •    Washougal Community Center - Sunday 2-6

     In Battle Ground:
  •          Battle Ground Community Center for a cooling shelter, next week, starting Monday, June 29 – Thursday, July 2 from 8 am to 8 pm @ 912 E. Main Street.





Keep in mind, local malls, libraries, and community recreation centers are all good locations to take shelter from the heat and hot weather. And Vancouver Parks and Recreation has a fantastic interactive map for locating parks with potable water access.







Visit their website here: http://www.cityofvancouver.us/parksitkeys=&neighborhood=All&amenities=97&field_park_or_trail__tid%5B%5D=285


Stay Safe and Cool this weekend: Hot Weather Guidance

As the weekend nears and we heed the National Weather Service’s Excessive Heat Warning, it’s a good time to review best practices.  The following is a guide to follow during heat-related events:


After a fairly mild summer, the hottest weather so far this year is expected this weekend.  The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for most of this weekend for the entire region, including all of Clark County.  Temperatures will range from the mid-90s to close to 100 degrees at lower elevations. Excessive heat warning in effect from noon Friday to 5 am Sunday for the greater Portland and Vancouver Metro area, the lower Columbia River and the Western and Central Columbia River Gorge.


Hot weather tips:

If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

  •  Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • NEVER leave anyone, especially children or pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
  •  Infants and young children
  •  People aged 65 or older
  •  People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 
  • Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
  If you must be out in the heat:

  Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.

Try to rest often in shady areas.  Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses. Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.



Avoid prolonged exposure to sun during the hottest time of the day



Heat related illnesses:

Although any one can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on Infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure. 

Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke may include a body temperature above 103°F; red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you see any of these signs, have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Place the victim in a tub of cool water or in a cool shower, or spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the victim fluids to drink.

Less severe heat related illnesses include heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.

In Portland, go to Help When it's Hot

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Its Hot, Its Dry, Burn Bans and Fireworks

Recently Clark County announced because of drought conditions and the wildfire forecast, it was moving up the start of the Outdoor Burn Ban to June 23rd. The annual burn ban limits burning yard debris in unincorporated areas of the county.

For me, when I heard about the change in date, it was no big deal, however it wasn't until someone asked me about what this meant for the 4th of July and fireworks, I started thinking, and asking a few questions.

So being the good Emergency Manager that I try to be, I reached out to the Clark County Fire Marshal, Jon Dunaway and Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli to get the official and accurate answer.

From the county side, Fire Marshal Dunaway stated, " For now, fireworks season will continue as usual.  We are watching fire conditions very closely."  He suggested leaving the fireworks to the professionals and attend public displays rather than using consumer fireworks.

City of Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli also stated the VFD will have fireworks patrols out in force this year.   People should  call 9-1-1  regarding complaints so they can be followed up on.

Now of course we realize many look forward to this time of year every year and will be purchasing consumer fireworks.  We suggest the following safety measures be taken:

Legal fireworks: Buy only from a licensed fireworks stand with items clearly labeled with the name of the item, manufacturer and instructions for proper use. Firecrackers, bottle rockets, M-80s, M-100s and blockbusters are illegal and can cause serious injury or death.

Supervise children closely: Only adults should light fireworks. Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under adult supervision. Children must be at least 16 years old and present identification to legally purchase fireworks. Be vigilant about keeping matches, lighters and fireworks safely away from youngsters.
 
Tribal fireworks: Fireworks sold on tribal lands may not be legal off the reservation. 

Always follow directions on the label: Even sparklers, which burn at more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, can be dangerous if used improperly. Light only one firework at a time and don’t try to re-light a “dud.” Protect your eyes and never have any portion of your body directly over fireworks.
  
Clear the lighting area: Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area at least 25 feet from people, houses, vehicles, dry leaves, grass and flammable materials. When you are done, be sure to soak your fireworks before disposing of them. Always keep a hose or bucket of water close by to extinguish any small, unintended fires. If clothes catch fire, remember to cover your face and STOP, DROP and ROLL until the fire goes out.

Keep your pets safe and secure indoors: Be sure to keep your pets indoors with curtains and windows closed. Be sure your pet’s collar is secure and license tag is current. If your pet is not currently licensed, get a license before fireworks go on sale June 28. If your pet gets loose, the license will help get your pet home and allow emergency medical care, if needed. If your pet goes missing, check with the Humane Society for Southwest Washington at (360) 693-4746.


Be a good neighbor: Pick up spent fireworks and dispose of them properly once they have cooled. Soaking used fireworks overnight in a bucket of water before placing them in the trash is a good idea. They should not be left in the street for sweepers, nor should they be left in rights-of-way.  

FIREWORK SALES:
Fireworks may be sold in unincorporated Clark County between: June 28 from noon to 11 pm; June 29 through July 4 from 9am to 11pm.

Fireworks sales in the City of Vancouver is three days long, from July 2 through July 4.  Retail stands open at 9am and close at 11pm each day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What the Heck is Shelter in Place?



In an emergency, public safety officials (like us) could send a public alert to you to shelter in place. When you get that message, it could mean the difference between life or possibly harm if you don’t know what to do with that message. By definition, it means take immediate shelter where you are. This could be at work, at home, at school or wherever you are. Often times this might mean that there is a chemical or hazardous material that has been released.  Like other emergency situations, it is best to plan ahead. What supplies do you need? Can I let my dog go outside or should I bring him in?

To make this an easier lesson for today, lets assume you’re at home when you get the call to Shelter in Place, follow these suggestions.

  • Bring your family and pets inside immediately
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems
  • Take your emergency supply kit, and telephones, cell phones, chargers and radio and go to an interior room with few windows, if possible.   Many people prefer this to be a bathroom, for obvious reasons
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Listen to the radio for additional emergency information
  • Wait for further instructions or an all clear message

Should I seal windows, doors and vents for my shelter in place room prior to an emergency? 

According to Ready.gov, they recommend that you precut plastic sheeting for any windows, doors, vents or opening and label them accordingly. Along with duct tape, the plastic can be stored in the shelter room for quick access and installation.

For more information see some of these following articles.

Shelter in Place: Know How, Know Where

CDC Shelter In Place

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hot Days + Cold Water = Potentially Dangerous Combination



Hot weather is on tap for the weekend, and that means Clark County beaches are sure to draw crowds for a swim. But even on hot days, most rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington remain cold.

Cold water, especially when high or swift, can overtake even the strongest swimmer in minutes.

On the Columbia River, Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park and Captain William Clark Regional Park at Cottonwood Beach, are not safe for swimming because of strong currents and sudden drop-offs.

Swimming is allowed at several county parks, but only one park, Salmon Creek Regional Park-Klineline Pond, has certified lifeguards. The popular spray feature will open for public use on June 20.

Lifeguards will be on duty the final two weekends of the month, June 20-21 and June 27-28. Beginning July 1, lifeguards will be on duty daily at Klineline Pond, typically from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If your weekend plans include a trip to a local swimming hole, here are some safety tips:

Prevention:

§  Know the water. Even on hot days, Washington waters can be cold enough to cause the body temperature to fall to a dangerously low level.
§  Know your limits. Drowning often occurs when swimmers are tired.
§  Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards, on a boat, personal watercraft, inner tube or other water sports equipment.
§  Ensure children wear life jackets. Inflatable toys and mattresses will not keep children safe. By law, children 12 and younger must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller.
§  Never leave children unsupervised in or near water, even for a minute. Children need constant supervision around water, including ponds, buckets and wading pools. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently.
§  Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating. Alcohol consumption is not allowed in county parks without county and state permits.
§  Avoid potentially dangerous areas, such as fast-flowing rivers or ocean beaches with riptides.
§  Don’t dive into shallow water or unfamiliar swimming holes.
§  Cover your spa when not in use. If you have a pool, be sure a fence or other barrier prevents unauthorized entry. 

Ways to stay cool




Swimming at Clark County Parks:
www.clark.wa.gov/publicworks/parks/swimming.html




 Information shared from Clark County Public Health


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cell Phones and 9-1-1, Do They Tell Us Where You Are??

There are a couple of common misunderstandings about how much information cell phones provide 9-1-1 when they are used: 

When you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone, there is no guarantee that your call will go to the intended 9-1-1 call center, especially along the Columbia River corridor. 


Cell phone calls are sent through a cell phone tower – usually one that is in close proximity to your location.  The 9-1-1 center your call is routed to is based on the location of that cell phone tower.

If that cell phone tower is busy, your call may be routed through other cell towers.  In Clark County if you call from near or around the Columbia River, you call may be routed to Multnomah or Columbia counties. 

A 9-1-1 call taker will generally always ask you for your location to confirm where you are so that we know how to get you the best and quickest help.  Since many addresses involve streets that can also exist in nearby counties, ALWAYS give your city in addition to your street address.

Even if your cell phone has geo-location services enabled, 9-1-1 dispatchers do not always receive exact address information from cell phone callers.

Location information received by a 9-1-1 center from a cell phone can range in accuracy so do not assume the call taker can find you through your cell phone’s GPS.  Generally, the 9-1-1 calls are routed correctly, however cell phone calls are transferred to other 9-1-1 centers every day.

Two basic reminders….
  • Know your location when you call 9-1-1
  • If you call from a cell phone, give your street address AND your city.
CRESA also has “Know Your Location” posters that can be requested by agencies who wish to more prominently display location-based information for callers to 9-1-1.

These signs have already been placed throughout the Westfield Shopping Town to provide callers with specific information about the locations of particular stores. 

All school districts have received these posters and we encourage businesses, assisted living facilities and other larger residential locations to post their address visibly so that it can be seen by people who may need to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.   



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ride to Recovery, Bikes During Disasters

With May being National Bike Month it’s a good time to reflect on how everyday tools can help us in times of disasters.  Bikes can be wonderful assets during large scale disasters.  


  • Since bikes only rely on “human powered” fuel you won’t have to worry about the gas shortage and long lines at the pumps.  
  • After a large earthquake it is likely that roads will be extremely damaged and simply driving your car to the grocery store will no longer be an option.  Having a durable bike will allow you to navigate the obstacle course that was once your neighborhood.  
    Roads could be severely damaged.
  • After a large disaster aid from outside the region will eventually be able to trickle in, but distributing the aid to every household will be very challenging.  Using bike to pick up and even help distribute supplies will be a great help in rebuilding our community.




Bikes are only useful if they are working.  How many times have you been excited to dust your bike off and go for a ride only to find flat tires and discovering your tire pump is broken?  You should know how to complete general maintenance on your bike and have some spare parts and tools on hand.  You can often find bike maintenance classes offered in the area.  
Want to kick your disaster biking up a notch?  Join the quickly growing world of cargo bike enthusiasts.  I purchased my first cargo bike last summer and love to find excuses to use its “cargo” capabilities.  A trip to the grocery store is now an adventure for the whole family.  Cargo bikes have already proven to be highly effective in real world disasters.
Cargo bike aiding in Nepal relief effort.  time.com


The Disaster Relief Trials organizes several events aimed at testing how well cargo bikes and riders would perform during a disaster.  This competition demonstrates how we can use everyday tools to improve the response and recovery efforts.  As you are out biking around this summer think about how you could get supplies from Point A to Point B without the use of a car.