Friday, July 31, 2015

Clark County Public Health issues algae advisory for Vancouver Lake

Public Health issues algae advisory for Vancouver Lake
Vancouver Lake Regional Park remains open to the public

Vancouver, WA – Clark County Public Health is advising the public to avoid direct contact with Vancouver Lake water due to the presence of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Because blue-green algae produce toxins that can be harmful to people and deadly for small pets that drink the water, public health officials are recommending:

  • No swimming or wading
  • No wind surfing or sail boarding
  • No water contact for animals
  • Precautions against contact with water while boating or fishing

“It’s especially important to keep children out of the lake because they are more likely than adults to swallow water,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer.

This advisory will not affect the 2015 PDBA Dragon Boat Regional Championships, which will take place on Vancouver Lake Aug. 1-2. Rowers have minimal direct contact with the water. Spectators can safely watch the event from the lake’s shores.

Caution signs have been posted at the lake and will remain as long as cyanobacteria are present. Public Health will continue to monitor the lake throughout the summer. Signage will be updated as conditions change. For more information and current updates, visit

Water in park restrooms and shelters is not affected by lake water and remains safe to drink. Eating fish from the lake is considered safe if organs such as liver and kidney, where toxins can build up, are carefully removed and people wash hands after cleaning fish.

Warm, sunny weather and the presence of nutrients can cause algae growth. Nutrients that enter the water and promote algal blooms include the phosphorus and nitrogen found in fertilizers and agricultural, human and animal waste.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beat the Heat... Again... Tips and Places to Stay Cool

Another round of Hot Temperatures are expected over the next few days.  The extended forecast for the Metro area, is calling for temperatures reaching the century mark today and the  mid 90's through Monday.

Once again we want to share tips in keeping yourself, friends, family and pets safe during this latest heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest.  

A few tips on keeping Family, Friends, and pets safe

  • Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible unless you're sure your body has a high tolerance for heat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.
  • Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle.
  • Check frequently on people who are elderly, ill or may need help. If you need help, arrange to have family, friends or neighbors check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods.
  • Make sure pets have plenty of water.

If you go outside

  • Plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day when temperatures are cooler; then gradually build up tolerance for warmer conditions.
  • Take frequent breaks when working outdoors.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sun block and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes when outdoors.
  • At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.
  • Avoid sunburn: Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.

But even on hot days, many rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington remain cold.

  • Cold water − especially when high or swift − can immobilize even the strongest swimmer in minutes.
  • Know the water: Washington waters are cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest summer day. Hypothermia can weaken even strong swimmers.
  • Know your limits: drowning often occurs when a swimmer tires.
  • Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever you boat, jet ski, go tubing or do other water sports.
  • Ensure children wear lifejackets. 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. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently. Supervision requires complete attention, even if other adults are present.
  • Always avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.

Looking for Places to Stay Cool?

  • Check out local malls, restaurants, theaters and shops, libraries, and community recreation centers.
In Vancouver:
  • Marshall/Luepke Community Center, 1009 McLoughlin Blvd Monday-Thursday 5:30am to   9pm; Friday 5:30am to 8 pm; Saturday 7am to 7pm; closed Sunday
  • Firstenburg Community Center, 700 N.E. 136th Ave.; Monday-Thursday, 5:30am to 9pm;  Friday 5:30am to 8pm; Saturday 8am to 7pm; Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
  • 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 the aquaria to hands-on exhibits to toddler-size learning at Puddles Place.  Regular Water Center hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, and from noon to 5pm on Saturday. Admission is free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • And Vancouver Parks and Recreation has a fantastic interactive map for locating parks with potable water access.
In Washougal: 

  • Cooling stations are now available at Washougal municipal complex at 1701 C Street during business hours to provide relief from the expected high temperatures.   

  • City Hall:  M – F 8-5
  • Washougal Library:  Wednesday 10:00am - 6:00pm, Thursday 10:00am - 6:00pm, Friday 10:00am - 6:00pm.
  • Washougal Community Center: M-Th 9-3 and Friday 4-6


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Phone Scam Uses 9-1-1 For Call Spoofing Now Hitting Clark County

CRESA 911 would like to warn the public of a new phone scam now hitting Clark County.  Recently several news media outlets ran a story where it makes it look like 9-1-1 is calling you, then someone says you will be arrested if you do not send money.  To complicate it more, if you do call back, it actually does call the real 9-1-1 center.

The message goes on to state that if you do not call back within 30 minutes, you will be arrested.

What is confusing most is that the Caller ID is coming in stating its 9-1-1.  CRESA 9-1-1 would never ask for this type of personal information.  We would never leave someone a voicemail telling them there is a warrant for their arrest.  

If you receive one of these calls or voicemails, we encourage you not to call 9-1-1 back unless there is an actual emergency.

Please contact the Washington State Attorney General's Office to file a complaint.   His office can be reached at 360-753-6200 or you can complete the online complaint form.

We are also including a story about this shared on KGW last week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Take A Hike, The 10 Essentials

With so many amazing trails in the Pacific Northwest it’s no wonder that hiking remains one the most popular “leisure” activities in the region.  One of our responsibilities here at CRESA is to support Search & Rescue operations for missing hikers.  It is hard to be prepared for every situation you might face while on the trail, but by carrying these "10 Essentials" you can increase your odds of a returning home safely.

Navigation - A map is no good without a compass, and a compass is no good if you don't know how to use it. It doesn't matter how fancy your compass is, but if it doesn't have a compensation setting for true North, make sure you know how to convert magnetic to true North. In Western Washington magnetic North is 20-22° east of true North. GPS units are great, but they are not substitutes for knowing how to use a map and compass.

Water and a way to purify it - It is essential to drink a lot of water while hiking, especially with the hot summer we are having so far. Without water, your body doesn't perform as well and you could grow more susceptible to heat stroke, hypothermia and altitude sickness.

Extra food - Always bring extra food when hiking in case an unexpected situation delays your return - be it detour, injury or sickness, difficult terrain, weather, etc. Bring at least one extra day's worth.

Rain gear and extra clothing - Weather can change quickly in the mountains. A sunny, warm day can turn into a cold downpour in a very short period of time.

Fire starter and matches - Always bring along waterproof matches in a water-tight container and have a dry or waterproof striker. You might also bring a cigarette lighter as a backup. And in the Northwest you can expect to have to deal with wet kindling.

First aid kit - Don't just have a first aid kit - have a useful first aid kit. If your kit just has a few band aids and some aspirin, you won't be able to do much. Make sure you have the supplies to deal with major injuries, and make sure you have the knowledge.

Flashlight and extra batteries - It's dark out there! A light source is vital if you get caught in the woods after dark. Also carry spare batteries and an extra bulb and make sure you test your light before each trip. Batteries have a limited shelf-life and contacts can become corroded, blocking the flow of current.

Knife or multi-purpose tool - Knives are indispensable in the back-country. They can help you prepare food, cut Moleskin or bandages, repair gear and more. 

Sun screen and sun glasses - Your eyes need protection, especially if you are on snow or above tree line. Sunglasses are a must. And those rays are strong and damaging; sunscreen is important for people of all skin types.

Emergency Shelter - When a day hike becomes an overnight adventure the need for shelter quickly becomes a priority. Options include an ultralight tarp, a bivy sack, an emergency space blanket, or even a large plastic trash bag.

For more information on hiking in SW Washington visit:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Off To New Adventures

July 15th marks the last day for a long time CRESA employee, Karen Murphy,  who will be beginning a new chapter of her life.  When I asked her if I could share a little about her and this new journey she gladly said yes, as long as it wasn't about her.

Those of you that know Karen, know how fitting that statement is for her, and the role she has played as the Human Resource Manager for CRESA for so many years.  Karen has always looked out for those of us that work here at CRESA, making each and everyone of us her priority, the best that she could.   Karen has viewed her role as  "serving in a position that supports the people that serve the public."

Looking back, Karen admitted she has very fond memories of her time here, and seeing the changes ,and growth CRESA has made.  Growing from a tiny, single agency, that was only dispatch, (our initials were CRCA back then,) to where the agency added Technical Services and Emergency Management and the name change to CRESA.

As we continued down memory lane she reflected on when she came to work directly for CRESA and that major turning point for the agency.  "CRESA turned the page from being a large, small agency as we emerged to a small. large agency."   Prior to that time, CRESA contracted, like we did for some other services through the county for HR services.   The realization that "we had grown to the point we needed to have our own HR personnel and IT in house was a major step for CRESA .  The agency really began to blossom."  The agency grew from a philosophy that by creating a regional model, we could add services, and by thinking "We can do this better together,"  the area and residents we serve began seeing the results of "We are already doing this better," and finally to where we are now, "Regionally together where can we still do better?"

I asked Karen what was one of her biggest challenges in her time at CRESA, and her response was, "Learning to speak Dispatcher."  She recalled a time in her early days at the agency, where during an In-service, she was to lead an ice-breaker activity.  As she was explaining the activity, she remembers looking up and seeing administration and management staff nodding along, yet when she looked at the dispatchers, they all had a different look on their face.  Finally someone helped "translate" the activity and they all saw it.  Over time she learned to appreciate what some would consider blunt straight forward talk, and the benefits that can come with the direct dealing of something instead of the windy curvy path in parts of the outside world.

As I wrapped up the few minutes I took to sit down with Karen, I asked her about her fondest memory in her time here at CRESA.   She talked about the people that work here.  From walking the hallways of the building, and seeing everyone she had a part in hiring, to crying with dispatch staff on the floor after a really bad call, there is a very human connection with people that work in public safety.  "It might take them a bit to let you in, but once they do, they don't want to let you go!"

As Karen begins her next big adventure in life, she hopes she has been a good steward, leaving CRESA a better place than when  she found it.  Karen I can say.. Yes you Have!!

We salute you Karen,  as you jump into your next adventure.. .CRESA and all of us will miss you!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Clark County Fire Marshal Issues Ban on Recreational Burning

Effective immediately, the Clark County fire marshal has banned all recreational burning in unincorporated Clark County and within the city limits of La Center and Battle Ground due to extreme fire danger. These jurisdictions join the city of Vancouver, which implemented a recreational burn ban on Wednesday.

The ban prohibits:
·         Campfires
·         Outdoor fire pits
·         Outdoor fireplaces including those with a chimney
·         Portable fireplaces also known as patio fireplaces

Gas and charcoal barbecues are allowed as are self-contained camp stoves.

Here is the news release from the Fire Marshal's Office.  For more information visit: 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Community Volunteers- It’s good for you and for us

If you are a regular reader visitor to this site you will know that we place a great deal of value in our community volunteers.  Regardless of their affiliation, their willingness to give of themselves to better their community is a cornerstone of our disaster preparedness and response organization.  It would be an understatement to say that volunteers are good for our community.  They are critical to the health and wellness of our community.
And being a volunteer could be critical to the health and wellness of our community members. 
A growing body of evidence suggests that being a volunteer-getting out and working with and for your community-of giving back—is actually good for you. 
  • One study found that three quarters of respondents who volunteered in the past year made them feel healthier, with an additional 20% admitting that it also improved their overall mood.
  • Volunteering is a chance to make a contribution in a way that you control, with 80% of volunteers reporting an increase in feeling in charge of their health.
  •  Volunteering may lower the risk of mortality.  The conclusion of a 2012 study by the American Psychological Association found that those who volunteer for altruistic reasons have a markedly lower mortality rate.
  • According to a Duke University study of individuals with post-coronary artery disease, those individuals wo volunteered after their heart attack reported less symptoms o despair and depression compared to those patients who were not volunteers.

For those of you who are volunteers this is not surprising.  For those you who don’t regularly volunteer.  Give it a try.
For more information about how volunteering is not only good for your community, but good for you check out these sites.

If you’re interest in learning more about volunteer opportunities in Clark County go to our website or leave us a note and maybe we can help

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
  •     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.