CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Posts by Eric Frank

New Emergency Notification System Test

In December, 2017 CRESA (Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency) will be switching to a new public alert and emergency notification system. An initial test of the system will take place on December 7th, 2017.  The test will deliver alerts to about 1,000 phone numbers in La Center, WA and nearly 9,000 residents throughout Clark County who had previously registered with our former alert provider. 

Traditional “land line” home and business phone numbers have automatically been added to the new notification system.  Individuals that have previously registered, along with all residents that rely on a mobile device for their primary phone service are encouraged to register for alerts.

This new system provides multiple new options for each individual to choose how they receive important notifications.  By registering at residents can choose to receive alerts for locations of interest by email, text message, or multiple phone numbers.  Once an account is created users can easily adjust their preferences and manage their notification subscriptions.

CRESA relies on this system to quickly send alerts in emergency situations.  Examples of when we would use the system include, but are not limited to encroaching wildfires, lost or endangered person, hazardous materials spill, or law enforcement activity in an area.  The notification system allows us to draw boundaries on a map to help target the alert to the communities impacted by the emergency.

In addition, the new system will give each city or jurisdiction in Clark County the tools to share urgent notifications with their community.  These non-emergency notifications may include, but are not limited to utility service disruptions, road closures, and community announcements and news.  Once registered at users can manage the types and locations of urgent and community alerts they would like to receive.

Residents with questions or requiring additional information should contact Brian Landreth at or 360-992-6288

Dont Forget…. Turn Back Time!


Early Sunday morning, Daylight Savings Time will end and we will gain extra time by moving our clocks back an hour here in the Pacific Northwest.

Although we cannot technically turn back time like many of us may wish could to be a little younger,  we can use this moment to remember to do some important tasks in keeping our loved ones safe.

This weekend is a good time to take care of a couple small tasks that can make a big difference if an emergency happens.


  • Use this weekend to check your fire alarms,and CO2 Detectors.


  • Be sure to change the batteries.  Make sure they are in good operational order before winter begins.



  • Take a few moments to review the items in your Emergency Kits.  Replace any out-dated items


  • Exchange out clothing and shoes, and other items in kits for colder weather. (Don’t forget to check the items in your vehicle also.)

Sign Up For Clark Public Alerts Today

Finally,  critical information like evacuations, severe weather, missing persons, fire, police action, emergency hazardous spill or road closures are important to be received in a timely manner.   Take a few moment and head over to and register for Clark Public Alerts.  By taking a few moments to ensure your mobile devices are linked to your address, notifications for critical information and other important community news can be delivered to your mobile device.

You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you choose, such as your home, mobile phone, business phone, email address, text messages and more

By doing these  simple things, you can know that, if needed, your alarms, detectors and your kits  will be ready if certain dangers loom or your kit is needed.    Enjoy that extra hour as you “Turn Back Time” this Sunday morning!

Prepare for a fun and safe Halloween

Prepare for a fun and safe Halloween 

Here are some easy tips for you and your family for the trick-or-treat festivities.

  • Check your local newspaper, municipality’s website, or social media feed to get updates on times for trick-or-treating (many locations offer indoor options).
  • Make sure you have several working flashlights and so that everyone can see and be seen, glow sticks and other self illuminated products are widely available.
  • Only visit houses with porch lights that are turned on!
  • Be vigilant while crossing streets, look both ways before you cross and try to cross only at corners.
  • Stay in groups and keep an eye out for each other while trick-or-treating.
  • Consider costumes that are bright and reflective.
  • Your costumes accessories should be made from soft pliable materials.
  • Do not eat any candy until you return home to your parents.
  • All parents should inspect and review all candy collected before allowing children to consume.  (feel free to collect a candy inspection tax).
  • Discard any candy that show signs of tampering and throw away any candy that is not sealed or in the original packaging.
  • After eating candy don’t forget to brush your teeth (consider a new fun Halloween themed toothbrush).

If you are driving this Halloween season, DRIVE SLOWLY! Children will be out and about – so keep a sharp eye for everyone on the street.

It’s supposed to be a wet Halloween this year, take necessary precautions to stay safe and dry.

Visit Terrifying Truths and Myths about Halloween for additional information.

Hope you have a fun yet safe Halloween this year!!

CRESA Announces Life Saving Awards

As a 911 center, we often forget to celebrate our successes. 911 Dispatchers wholeheartedly believe they signed up to do the good work, provide instructions to save lives, and walk people through terrible situations until help arrives.  The list of what is expected of a 911 dispatcher goes on and on while ever changing each day on the job.  While providing all of above duties, dispatchers are required to follow protocols to the letter.

The job of a 911 dispatcher, most of the time is a thankless role.  Dispatchers assist until First Responders arrive.  Once help physically arrives, the dispatcher in onto the next call, and many times never hears the outcome of those they helped provide assistance to. Sometimes however, we are made aware of those outcomes and the roles that the dispatcher played in saving a life.  These calls are reviewed for what CRESA calls the “Life Saving Award.”

To be considered for the CRESA Life Saving Award,  the following criteria must be met:

  • Patient must be released from the hospital
  • Quality Assurance (QA) panel reviews the call
  • Medical Dispatch Review Committee comprised of CRESA QA staff,
  • the County Medical Program Director’s Assistant, and an American Medical Response Supervisor review the call
  • Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols must be followed to the exact wording
  • Panel reviews the call, verifying the dispatcher met and followed the protocol to the letter, AND the patient lived to be released from the hospital.

If a dispatcher meets all of the above criteria, they are awarded the Life Saving Award.


The Great American Eclipse

It’s been the talk of the town… well actually the talk of the entire PNW for sometime, and this coming Monday, Aug 21st,  it happens…  All of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun.  Anyone within the path of totality will be able to witness a total solar eclipse, and that path is just a few miles south of Clark County in Salem, OR.

Clark County will is not in the path of totality however will will still experience a substantial partial eclipse.  At it’s height, about a 98.6% full eclipse of the sun blocked out by the moon.

Here are a few questions you may have and some answers and resources before Monday rolls around.


What You Need to Know:

When:  August 21, 2017

  • Will begin at 9:06 am, peak at 10:19 am lasting two minutes, and will end at 11:38 am.

What Will it Be Like:

  • During the peak, the sky will darken similar to dusk or twilight.

How do I Safely Watch the Eclipse:

  • To watch the eclipse safely, use eclipse glasses with an ISO 12312-2 rating.  Even with these glasses, do not look at the sun for more than two minutes.  NEVER look directly at the sun.
  • Do Not wear eclipse glasses while driving!  The only thing visible with the glasses is the sun.

How will this Impact Clark County and Me:

  • Oregon is expecting 1 million people to be in the path of totality during the eclipse.  The State is asking travelers to arrive early, stay put and leave late.
  • Travelers heading south to the path of totality should be prepared for heavy traffic; make sure to have a full tank of gas, bring extra water and food.
  • Traffic in Clark County could be heavy several days before and after the eclipse.
  • Anyone who has to travel during the eclipse, should be prepared for distracted drivers.  Please drive with headlights on.
  • WSDOT asks that drivers do NOT pull over into the emergency lanes to watch the eclipse.

Where Can I Go To Safely Watch the Eclipse:

Links and Other Information Regarding the Eclipse:


Cooling Center Locations:

Below is a list CRESA has compiled of locations individuals can visit to help stay cool.  We will be updating this list as locations and times change so check back.

For information regarding staying cool, please visit our Excessive Heat Tips webpage.



In Battle Ground:


  • Stay Cool at the Battle Ground Community Center, Battle Ground Parks & Recreation will be opening the Battle Ground Community Center extended hours to offer a respite from the heat.   The center, located at 912 East Main Street, will be open from 8am to 9pm each day from Tuesday, August 1 through Friday, August 4th and 3-9pm Saturday Aug 5th
    • Patrons are encouraged to bring books, board games, puzzles, electronic devices and even a picnic meal as they enjoy the air conditioning.
    • Public wifi is available for those who desire to play or work on remote devices.
    • For more information, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 360-342-5380
  • Battle Ground Baptist Church   Aug 1st – Aug 3rd 12 pm – 6 pm


In Camas:

  • Camas Library  625 NE 4th Ave  (Drinking fountains available also) 10 am-8pm Monday – Wednesday


In Vancouver:

  • Marshall 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.
  • Fort Vancouver Regional Library Locations  (Cascade Park and Downtown Vancouver; Evergreen and C Street.)  9 am – 8 pm Mon-Thur, 9 am 6pm Fri.
  • 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.  Please **NOTE**  Due to the excessive heat, certain activities have been canceled or rescheduled… See Here
  • Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church 12513 SE Mill Plain Blvd   8/2-8/3 open 12 pm – 8 pm.  Please bring a book or whatever you like to do while you keep cool.  Water and light snacks will be provided.  Service animals welcome.
  • St Joseph Catholic Church, 6600 Highland Drive Marion Hall (Large Building next to the church and behind the parish office  12 pm-8 pm
  • C-Tran reminds individuals you can ride all day in air conditioned buses with the purchase of the daily fare.  Buses will continue running at transit centers.

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:  1701 C Street  M – F 8-5 pm
  • Washougal Library:  Normal Hours
  • Washougal Community Center: Tues- Fri  5-9 pm
  • The city of Washougal is providing Cooling Station starter kits as the faith based community are assisting in the relief efforts.  The kits contain large laminated signs and waters to every church wanting to assist.  For more information visit
  • Bethel Community Church 1438 B Street Tues-Fri 9 AM 2 PM
  • Columbia Ridge Assisted Living:  2300 W 9th St Washougal   Open until 8:30 pm

 Additional Locations to Stay Cool:

Lobby of Firstenburg Tower at PeaceHealth

Day                        Date                      Time Open                         Time Closed

Week  of               8/1-8/4                     11:00 A.M.                         7:00 P.M.


Important Additional Items:

  • Pets are not allowed in the Hospital to include the lobby/common areas unless they are an ADA Service Animal
  • PeaceHealth is supplying water.
  • There are drinking fountains available
  • PeaceHealth will be supplying a safe and COOL environment for the community to rest.
  • For any Security concerns please call 360-514-2000

211 Info has also activated their list of cooling centers in their database.  Check out .

Clark County Fire District 6 reminds folks they are always welcome to drop into any station if they do not feel well or are  suffering from heat exhaustion.

How Are We Doing?

A team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®) will arrive next week to review Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency’s (CRESA’s) policy and procedures, management and support services.

As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments by calling 360-992-6274 on Tuesday July, 18, 2017 between the hours of 1:30pm and 3:00pm.  Telephone comments are limited to 10 minutes and must address the Agency’s ability to comply with CALEA standards.

If you wish to submit written comment about CRESA’s ability to comply with the standards of accreditation, please send them to :  Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite #320, Gainsville, Virginia 20155.


More about this assessment can be found in our full release.  CALEA Onsite Visit.

Fireworks.. Being a Good Neighbor

The Fourth of July is a big deal here in Clark County and many love to celebrate Independence Day with lavish fireworks displays. Unfortunately,  the careless and perhaps unwelcome use of fireworks can lead to problems.  Quite often people will call 911 for help in resolving these problems.

Here are frequently asked questions about fireworks we get at our 911 center and some guidelines for when its best to call 911:

When are they legal??

  • July 3rd: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. North of 219th St in Unincorporated Clark County, Amboy, Battle Ground,  Ridgefield, and Yacolt.  (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in La Center)
  • July 4th: 9 a.m. until midnight everywhere except Vancouver and La Center. In La Center, it’s 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • July 5th: they are legal in Battle Ground from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.,  Ridgefield from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Yacolt 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Fireworks are Illegal at all times within the City of Vancouver City Limits.

What about the big noisy ones?  Aren’t they illegal?

Nope. Even the fireworks that rattle your windows and set off your car alarm are legal.


What about the ones that shoot clear up into the sky? They must be illegal.

Nope – most of those are legal too

Here is a guide for identifying illegal fireworks and explosives.

Here’s a legal overview of state fireworks regulations..


What if someone is shooting fireworks “dangerously”?

It depends on what you mean by dangerously.  Is life or property at risk?  If yes, call 911.


My pets and livestock are being traumatized by the noise!

Fireworks can be traumatic for animals.  If your pet has issues with loud noises please contact your vet for solutions to keep them calm.

Here’s a good article about helping your pet cope with fireworks.

So when can I call 911?
  • If fireworks are still going off after midnight (11 p.m. in La Center)
  • If there is a fire
  • If there is an injury
  • If someone is recklessly using fireworks and putting lives in danger
  • If people are being reckless and putting others in danger

Do Not Call 911 –

  • Because your neighbors are setting off fireworks
  • Because it is 10:30 PM and you need to get up early tomorrow
  • The noise is upsetting your animals
  • If someone is using fireworks illegally within the City of Vancouver limits please call 311 or 360-693-3111 where you will be asked to provide in progress reporting, location information.

** The same dispatchers that answer 911 answer 311… Please help keep these lines open for immediate emergencies.

As a reminder, fireworks at the Fort of Vancouver are FREE this year. 

Got Questions about Fireworks… Here’s What Ya Need To Know

  • If you use fireworks, use them responsibly.
  • Comply with local laws for when and where they can used.
  • Use them safely outdoors, always with adult supervision.
  • Clean up fireworks residue when you are done.

The 4th of July is just around the corner, and already we are seeing signs of where and when Fireworks will go on sale in Clark County.  Knowing if fireworks are legal where you live, can be a confusing thing if you live in the greater Vancouver area in Clark County.  If you are unsure if you live within the city limits of Vancouver, enter your address here.

Legal or Not Legal:

Fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Vancouver.  This is a complete ban that includes all types of fireworks.  Civil fines start at $500 for this violation.

Professional fireworks displays that have been permitted by the City remain legal. Once again this 4th of July, the Fort Vancouver National Trust will host the Independence Day Celebration at Fort Vancouver. This is among the largest fireworks shows in the nation. It is free of charge this year, and includes live music before the fireworks.

Note**   WSDOT reports the following closures to I-5 ramps on July 4th:

Tuesday, July 4: The northbound I-5 off-ramp to Mill Plain Boulevard will close from 6 p.m. until midnight.

Tuesday, July 4: The east and westbound SR 14 off-ramps from Southeast Columbia Way will close from 9 p.m. until the end of the fireworks display.


Lastly, in addition to the traffic impacts, we also send a reminder to drivers that they are prohibited from parking on the shoulder of I-5 or any other state highways, to watch fireworks displays.

Outside the City of Vancouver City Limits:

If you live outside the city limits, other regulations apply.  The chart below from  Clark County Community Development is a great resource of where and when fireworks are legal.

Clark County  Fireworks Usage

  • Fireworks are not legal in any Clark County Parks.
  • All school grounds, building rooftops, parking lots, playfields and athletic fields are off limits for the lighting/use of fireworks.


Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA911) requests people should call 911 if there is an IMMEDIATE threat to life or property.

In regard to fireworks, call 311 or 360-693-3111 where you will be asked to provide in progress reporting, location information, and time frame.  Please do not inundate our system with calls regarding noise and issues that are not related to emergent issues…. call 311 to report fireworks violations and 911 to report fireworks injuries and fires.



Any use of fireworks is not complete until you have also cleaned up any debris.  Fireworks residue contains pollutants that can be washed into storm sewers and local waterways, where they can harm fish and other aquatic life.

Moreover, failing to clean up fireworks residue is a form of littering, a violation of local ordinances. Clark County Public Works does NOT provide extra street sweeping after Fourth of July revelry.


Interesting facts from the National Fire Protection Agency

  • Sparklers accounted for 28% of fireworks related injuries from June 20 to July 20, 2014
  • In 2014, 79% of fireworks injuries fell into the categories of sparklers, firecrackers, reloadable shells and novelty fireworks.
  • Approximately 15,600 reported fires were caused by fireworks in 2013



  • If you use fireworks, use them responsibly.
  • Comply with local laws for when and where they can used.
  • Use them safely outdoors, always with adult supervision.
  • Clean up fireworks residue when you are done.

So You Want to Be a 911 Dispatcher? Join the CRESA Team

Are you cool under pressure?  Do you think you have what it take to help callers on what may be their worst day?   When the caller makes the call to 911, it often is when they are mentally and physically at their worst.  Unless someone sits in their chair, on the radio, tethered to the phone for hours and hours, listening to what they listen to, you’ll never understand how it feels and what it takes to be a 9-1-1 Dispatcher!

Why do we share this?  Being a 9-1-1 Dispatcher isn’t an easy job. Dispatchers often are bombarded with calls and work between 10 and 12 hours a day with few opportunities for breaks and no time to reset between calls.  It takes the right type of personality to be able to handle the calls and the pace a dispatcher has to handle.  911 isn’t just a Call Center.  It’s your community’s first-first responders.  Each dispatcher is invested in the moment with people in crisis on the phone.



Yet with all the craziness the job brings, there are also many rewards.   They provide direction, help, and a direct link to responders.  They coordinate police, fire and medical response to assist those in their time of need. This is a highly trained and specialized team looking for others like them – people with DEDICATION, INTEGRITY, CREATIVITY, PASSION, COMMUNICATION AND CONCERN.  CRESA is highly accredited and has one of the best training programs in the country.  We provide all the training needed to be successful at this job, and yes, to even save a life!

If this seems like a career path you are interested in pursuing, please contact us and apply at

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