CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Posts by Eric Frank

Comcast Reports Multi-State Outage Effecting Calling 911

UPDATE: Comcast has resolved the issue regarding the 911 outage. CRESA has conducted tests to verify the issue has been resolved. Thank you for your patience during this outage.

 

Comcast has reported a multi-state issue effecting  Comcast VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) including the Portland Metro Region.

 

  • 911 Systems in Clark County are functioning properly.

 

  • The impact is to Comcast VOIP Customers only and affects both non-emergency and 911 calls.  Other carrier systems, including cell phones and landlines are working.

 

  • If you are a Comcast VOIP Customer and cannot get through to 911 use a cell phone or landline to call 911

 

  • Please do not call 911 to test your lines.

 

Comcast is investigating and we have no additional information at this time. CRESA will send another press release when the system is restored.

 

2017 and the “Big Chill”

With daily high temps barely reaching freezing, and low temps in the teens and 20’s we wanted to touch base with some pointers to help get through this cold snap.  With forecast overnight wind chills in the low single digits several nights this week, we are encouraging those without shelter to seek shelter and are asking for the community’s help watching out for those who are most vulnerable to severe cold.

The forecast calls for temperatures below 30 degrees continuing for the next week.  At these low temperatures there is increased risk of exposure-related injuries for unsheltered homeless people who do not have sufficient gear, such as coats, hats, gloves, footwear, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets.

Shelter space is available in Clark County by calling the Council for the Homeless at 360-695-9677.   You can also call 211 at any hour of the day for the latest information about open shelters. Calls are answered in over 150 languages. You can also visit 211’s website at www.211info.org for updated information and sign up for emails or texts about updated warming center locations.

Warming Shelters: Anyone seeking shelter should call 211 info by dialing 211, toll free, from any phone. 211 will help identify the closest available shelter and transportation options. Severe weather centers will accommodate individuals and couples, pets and belongings, and do not require identification or any other documentation.  Families with children seeking shelter should also call 211 and will be directed to a shelter that can accommodate children.

Persons in Need of Assistance:  If you see someone outside unsheltered whose life appears to be in danger or is in an apparent medical crisis, call 9-1-1.  Otherwise, if you see someone about whom you are concerned, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call police non-emergency 311 and request a welfare check for that person.

Donations Needed:  Homeless service organizations are in need of cold weather gear – including sleeping bags, tarps, tents, blankets, hats, coats, gloves, and socks – that they can provide to people during this period of severe weather. Agencies welcome all donations, but are particularly in need of items in good condition made from warmer and  more durable materials designed for outdoor use.  For information about what and where to donate, please contact 211info by dialing 211 during regular business hours or by visiting their website, 211info.org.

Public Buildings: People seeking to get warm, especially during daytime hours, are encouraged to utilize public buildings that are open to the public, including, for example, libraries and community centers, which will be open regular hours starting Monday. Library hours are listed on Fort Vancouver Regional Library Webpage.  Community center information can be found here.

For additional information  including: hypothermia, carbon monoxide hazards and important information on the use of alternative sources of heat please see our blog post on the dangers of cold. 

Other Preparedness Tidbits:

In our often mild climate, don’t get caught unprepared for the next good winter storm. And remember to consider “who depends on you” as you prepare. With animals, small children or others who need additional assistance, remember they rely on you to be ready!

 

The Dangers of Cold

With low temperatures and high winds expect to continue through the weekend, health and emergency management officials are encouraging homeless people to seek shelter and urging seniors and other at-risk populations to protect themselves from cold exposure.

“Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up

Thermometer showing winter cold

your body’s stored energy, resulting in hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer/Public Health Director. “This affects the brain, making hypoth

 

ermia particularly dangerous because a person may be unaware it is happening and unable to to do anything about it.”

When someone spends time in cold temperatures, the body can lose heat faster than it can be produced. Low body temperature may make someone unable to think clearly or move well.  They may not realize their body temperature is dropping dangerously low.

A low body temperature is a medical emergency.

People more likely to have health problems because of the cold include (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods, and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.

Warnings signs of dropping body temperature (hypothermia) include:

Adults: shivering, extreme tiredness, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, feeling sleepy

Infants: bright red, cold skin, very low energy

If you notice any of these signs, get medical attention immediately and begin warming the person by getting them into a warm room or shelter, taking off any wet clothing, and wrapping them in warm dry blankets.

Frostbite is another health risk in very cold weather.  It is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. People who are more likely to suffer frostbite are those with poor blood circulation and those not dressed warmly enough for extremely cold temperatures.

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the affected body part. Anyone who thinks they may have frostbite should gently warm the body part and get medical care immediately.

Cold in the home

If you need help affording your heating bills, or your heat has been turned off, contact 211 for information to find agencies that can help with your heating bills.

If you plan to use a wood stove, fireplace, candles, or space heater, be extremely careful.

Keep a fire extinguisher near the area to be heated.

If you must use a kerosene heater, make sure you have good airflow in the room by leaving a window or a door slightly open. Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use—don’t substitute.

If your heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, don’t use it. Keep space heaters away from things that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding.

Use fireplaces, wood stoves, and other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.

When temperatures drops

Staying warm and dry, making simple changes in your activities, and using good judgment can help you remain safe and healthy during cold weather. These self-help measures are not a substitute for medical care but may help you recognize and respond promptly to warning signs of trouble.

Check on family members and neighbors who are especially at risk: young children, older adults, and people with chronic illness.

Hypothermia- what you need to know

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. This is more likely when you are damp from rain or sweat.

Low body temperature may make you unable to think clearly or move well.

You may not know you have hypothermia.

If your temperature is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Elders, young children, and people who remain outdoors for long periods, such as the homeless, outdoor workers, and outdoor recreators, are especially vulnerable.

The symptoms of hypothermia can mimic the symptoms of impairment from drugs and alcohol.

For additional information visit; www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html(link is external)

Warnings signs of hypothermia
Adults:  shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness

Infants: bright red, cold skin, very low energy

Fire and carbon monoxide hazards

If you must use alternative heat sources such as generators or fireplaces to stay warm, be aware of the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.

When power outages occur during natural disasters and other emergencies, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating or cooking can cause carbon monoxide to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.

Only burn charcoal outdoors, never inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent.

Always make sure to turn off any gas-powered engine, even if the garage door is open.

Do not use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers for heating your home.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get to fresh air immediately, and then call 9-1-1.

For additional information visit: www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340092_FireCOFactSheet.pdf

Cold, Windy with a Chance of SnowFlakes

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside… If you stepped outside already this morning, you were surely met with a certain brisk chill in the air.  Cold East Winds have already arrived as our next winter storm rolls in later today.

What We Know:

  • A Wind advisory was issued Tuesday through Wednesday evening for areas nearest the gorge but could have some impact.  Winds 25-35 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
  • A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for our area beginning at 11 am today.
  • Some snow is likely this afternoon starting around 2-5 pm for Clark County through Wednesday evening.
    • Snow.  Some snow, 1-3” is likely down to the valley floor in Clark County expected around 2-5 pm on Wednesday.  Snow showers may continue past midnight.    There are three scenarios, described to us:
      • The most likely scenario is for 1-3” of snow in our area with a worst case of 3-5” and a Dusting-1” best case.  The eastern parts of our county can expect the heavier accumulations, as you would expect.
      • Our heaviest snow is expected after  2-5  pm and through the evening commute,  snow may continue past midnight, as it tapers off into the east side/gorge.  East county may continue a bit longer.
      • The temperatures are expected to remain cold, and anything on the ground is likely to stay around Thursday and Friday.
  • Freezing Rain/Sleet is not currently forecasted for our area.
  • East Winds will continue through the event, gusting 35-45 mph in the eastern portions (Camas/Washougal) of our county.  There will be less wind as you move west.

Here are a few Winter Driving Tips from our friends at WSDOT.

Approaching Storms – What You Need to Know

We are expecting the arrival of a one, two punch with two  storms bringing heavy winds and heavy rain.  The first storm is expected to hit Thursday and the second storm to hit Saturday.

Check back here for the latest updates.

**A Message from area Public Works**

High Winds and Heavy rain expected  –  The National Weather Service expects up to 4 inches of precipitation in the next five days.   Below are some items to consider:

  • Most of flooding we may see will be because of leaves clogging storm drains, not because of waterways surging over their banks.
  • Please DO NOT rake, sweep or blow your leaves onto roadways where they can clog storm drains, causing flooding and create driving hazards.
  • Clark County and and the City of Vancouver  offer coupons for free leaf disposal.  These are available on both agencies websites.
  • If you see an urgent problem, call 911.  If you see an issue that does not pose an imminent threat to public safety, call Clark County Public Works for incidents outside the City of Vancouver and other city limits.  (Those numbers are listed below.)
  • Clark County does have sand and sandbags available for emergency situations.  Please see locations below based on your location.
  • Report down trees by calling 360-397-2446.  Crews can use chain saws to cut up trees and limbs and clear obstructions.
  • The one exception is where power is involved.  Clark Public Utilities needs to respond to those incidents.

Current Weather Information

We rely on the National Weather Service to provide us with the most up to date forecasts and detailed weather information.  This information will be updated as weather changes.

National Weather Service Forecasting Office

Current Forecast for the Region 

General Flood Warning & Precautions

  • Turn around don’t drown! Just 12 inches of rushing water isdownload enough to wash away a small car.  NWS Turn Around Don’t Drown
  • Clear street drains in your neighborhood throughout the storm.  Cleaning them just once may not be enough as the rain may wash more leaves onto the drain. Clark County Residents should not try to clear storm drains on busy streets. Call Clark County Public Works at (360) 397-2446 to report clogged storm drains or flooding outside of city limits. 
  • Keep gutters clean, watch for drainage issues around your home
  • Tips from Clark County Public Works Before, During, and After A Flood

Sandbag Information

  • DO NOT call 9-1-1 to request sandbags or inquire about public sandbag locations
  • Most large hardware and home improvement stores carry material needed for sandbags
  • Some area Public Works agencies may provide public sandbag assembly areas:
  • Sandbags are available from Clark County Public Works (2 locations)
    • 78th St Operation Center 4700 N.E. 78th St.
    • 149th Street Operations Center 11608 NE 149th St.
    • Sandbag assembly required, remember to bring your own shovel
    • Do not reuse sandbags from previous flood
  • Sandbags are available to residents of the City Of Vancouver (2 locations)
    • In front of fence near the sign at the former Golden Skate site, 4915 E Fourth Plain Blvd
    • Near the driveway access at Vancouver Public Works’ East Operations site, 912 NE 192 Ave
    • For More information from Vancouver Public Works click here.
  • Sandbags are available for residents of Battle Ground (Self-serve)
    • Flex Use Building, 1308 SE Grace Ave
  • Sandbags are available to residents of Camas   (2 locations)
    • Operations Center 1620 SE 8th Ave
    • 4010 NW Astor Street near NW 38th Ave.
    • For More information on Sandbags in Camas click here.
  • Sandbags are available to residents of Ridgefield
    • Abrams Park  End of Division off of N 5th Ave.

    Sandbags are available to residents of Washougal  (3 locations)

    • 2300 block of North L Street
    • Silver Star Search & Rescue 13th & A Street
    • Public Works Operations 2201 C Street

Road Status: Closed or Restricted Roads

Information about flooded, impassable, or restricted roads will be posted here as information becomes available:

There are no current closures

Information Telephone Numbers & Links

PulsePoint Down in Clark County for System Maintenance

download-10Early Tuesday, October 11th, the PulsePoint App will be down in Clark County for system maintenance.

This maintenance will not affect individuals needing to call 9-1-1.   “It doesn’t change business as normal for the public,” said Katy Myers,  Technical Services Manager, “to the public, calling will not be effected.”

CRESA will be making notification of PulsePoint availability when all systems are back online and made available.  

Battle Ground Comcast Customers Unable to Reach CRESA 911 Directly

UPDATE:  11:42 AM   Comcast has informed us this issue has been resolved…   We have no information at this time on the cause.

Please do not call 911 just to test your lines.

Thank You

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Comcast customers in the City of Battle Ground Comcast are not currently able to reach CRESA 911 Directly.  Comcast VOIP (Voice Over Internet Phone) lines are currently experiencing a disruption that does not allow individuals to directly reach 911 in the Battle Ground area.

Residents are encouraged if they need to call 911 during this time to use an alternative phone or call 360-696-4461.  Other carrier systems, including cell phones and landlines appear to be working.

If Customers in Battle Ground try calling 911 directly, your call will be routed to a national call center that will transfer you back to Clark County.  There is however a 2-3 minute delay in the this process.

 

Comcast is investigating and  have no additional information at this time. CRESA will update when we have more information regarding the system being restored.

Again… If you have an emergency in Battle Ground and need to call 911, please use an alternative phone or call 360-696-4461.

 

 

CRESA 911 Adds Voice Prompt When Calling 911 in Clark County

images-3In the event you call 911 in Clark County and your call rings for more than ten seconds, you will now hear a recorded message advising you to stay on the line, and the next available call taker will be with you in a moment.  PLEASE do not hang up if you do not get an immediate answer.

 

Due to increased call volume, CRESA has implemented this voice prompt to ensure callers their calls will be answered as soon as possible.   “Callers will typically hang up between 8-14 seconds of ring time,” says Kris DeVore, Operations Manager at CRESA,  “That hang up requires a call taker to dial the number back and wait for an answer on the line, thus increasing workload, leading to longer ring times, and more abandoned calls.”

 

Implementation of this 911 voice prompt will keep calls ringing into the 911 center, while decreasing the work load related to calling callers back, and ensure callers receive the fastest response possible.  Once a caller is on the line with a call taker, please answer the questions by stating your emergency and KNOWING YOUR LOCATION so that correct response can be directed.

 

For police related calls not needing an immediate life and safety response, callers are reminded to use Clark County’s non-emergency law enforcement number 311 or 360-693-3111, however 911 should be called for ALL fire or medical complaints.

CRESA Introduces Text to 911

911 Centers in Washington and Oregon are currently working on upgrading their systems in order to accept Text to 911.  CRESA along with seven other 911 agencies in the region are pleased to announce that the ability to text to 911 is now available in the Portland Metro Region including Clark County.

Why is Texting 911 Important? 
Texting is intended to benefit people that may not be able to speak due to an emergency such as a home invasion or abusive partner, as well as individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have limited speech capabilities

Who Has Text-to-911 Capability in Oregon & SW Washington?
As of August 2016, Text-to-911 is available in the following counties in Oregon and SW Washington:

  • Clatsop County (Oregon Coast)Text-to-911 is now available in-Astoria (OR)Cla (1)
  • Clackamas County (Lake Oswego east to Mount Hood)
  • Columbia County (St. Helens and county northwest of Portland)
  • Clark County (Vancouver and Southwest Washington)
  • North Marion County (Woodburn and Valley corridor)
  • Multnomah County (City of Portland, Gresham)
  • Washington County (West of Portland to to the north Oregon Coast)

You can see the map of which 911 agencies this initiative covers by clicking here.

Does Text-to-911 replace voice 911 calls?
Texting should ONLY be used when you are unable to make a voice call to 911. If you are able to place a voice call, we are able to gather information more quickly from you about the emergency, your location and what hazards responders may encounter.  If, however, you are unable to place a voice call, Text-to-911 is an option you can use to share this same information.

The key thing to remember is Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t.

Here is a video from our 911 friends in Vermont to illustrate why Text-to-911 can be especially useful for the deaf and hard of hearing communities

For more information regarding text to 911 in SW Washington and NW Oregon, please visit: www.nwtext911.info

For more information regarding text to 911 in Washington State, visit: http://mil.wa.gov/emergency-management-division/e911/texting911

 

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CRESA Introduces Smart 911 for Clark County

CRESA has recently begun working on introducing Smart 911 for Clark County.  As CRESA works behind the scenes to bring this service for residents of Clark County, it’s not too early for you to do your part and create your Safety Profile. Visit Smart911.com and start your Safety Profile today!

What is Smart911?

Smart 911 is a service that allows residents to create a free Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and first responders to have in the event of an emergency.  Then, when anyone in that household dials 9-1-1, from a phone associated with their Safety Profile their profile is immediately displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker providing additional information that can be used to facilitate the proper response to the proper location.  At a time when seconds count, Smart911 provides details that could impact response the second an emergency call is placed.  which could be the difference between life and death.

How does Smart911 work?smart911-screenshot

 

How Can I sign up?

You can sign up for Smart911 at Smart911.com and create a Safety Profile for your household to give 9-1-1 valuable information about yourself, family members, your home, pets and even vehicles that will display automatically on the 9-1-1 call takers’s screen when you make an emergency call.  It’s private, and secure and you control what information is in your profile.  These details can save seconds or even minutes during an emergency.

READ MORE »

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