CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Request Records

Would you like to request 9-1-1 or other Public Records? Visit the CRESA Public Records Portal to submit your request.

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When to Call 9-1-1

and when not to! It is important to know when you should or should not call.

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Prepare, Be Ready

and get involved! Learn how to be prepared for an emergency.

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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.

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CRESA Says Goodbye to Director Pendergrass

 

2016 has already bSONY DSCeen a year with many long time CRESA staff members beginning the next chapters in their lives as they retire.  This week we say good-bye to another as Director Anna Pendergrass  joins the ranks of retired.

Anna joined CRESA in 2004 when she was recruited as the Operations Manager.  In that position she oversaw the day-to-day functions of the emergency dispatch center, where 9-1-1 calls are received and where operators send police, fire, and medical experts in response.    She also oversaw employee training and continuing education programs, as well as performance quality assurance and accreditation for the agency and dispatchers.

Anna took over as CRESA director in June of 2011 being selected for her experience, intelligence, historical knowledge, her rapport with employees, partners and responding agencies.

Anna’s legacy here at CRESA will be long lasting.  Under her direction, CRESA moved from a controlled approach, where “safe” actions were often taken to avoid negative repercussions, towards an innovative and “Lean” approach, where ideas advancing CRESA and the industry in new directions are encouraged.  Managers and staff are empowered to develop and try new ideas.  Anna has a unique strength in reducing difficult-to-understand ideas, mechanisms, program or processes to their basic parts, embracing the concept of “less is more” to “keep it simple.”

As CRESA prepares for Anna start the chapter of her life, we asked her a few questions reflecting back on her career in Public Safety.

 

Fondest memory:

Anna met her husband (Alan) on the job.  They have been  and married for 37 years!  Anna also shared she has enjoyed being able to watch and help people grow and be successful.

 

Hardest moment on the job:

Watching and supporting staff when an officer/responder gets shot or injured.   Anna had only been at CRESA a couple weeks when Brad Crawford got killed.  Seeing the impacts on employees was the toug_MG_5260hest.

Another tough moment was while at the first agency where she started her career, a dispatcher committed suicide.

 

Biggest change during your tenure:

Anna mentioned there have been many changes but she remembers when she started dispatching in 1976, there were no computers, dispatchers wrote everything on radio logs and complaint cards.  They then typed up daily activity (event) logs. Today disAnna HSpitchers sit in front of 5 monitors helping them organize each and every call in real-time.

The other big difference…  There was NO 9-1-1 nationwide at this time.  Individuals had to call the response agency’s 7-digit number, (yes 7 digits, people didn’t have to dial the area code at that time).  There has been a huge change in how people call with now a majority of calls coming into the center via cell phone.

 

What you will miss most:

The people…….  They are amazing, supportive of each other and really do care about their community, the citizens and officers/responders they work with.

 

Plans for your next chapter:

Anna has some amazing plans for the next chapter of her life including taking time to smell the flowers.  Anna is an avid gardener and [plans to spend plenty of time “parking” my yard out.

Anna also enjoys the outdoors and plans on spending time cycling, hiking, sailing, and traveling.  Two incredible trips include climbing Kilimanjaro and a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti.

I need another lifetime.   Enjoy life to its fullest, be happy, don’t take things too seriously.  Life is to short and keeps marching on!

 

Anything else you would like to share:155CRESA0912

Anna has a great perspective on life as she shared this wonderful tidbit on life.   “Enjoy life too its fullest, be happy, don’t take things too seriously.  Life is too short and keeps marching on!”

 

Well from all of us here at CRESA Anna, we wish you the very best as you enjoy a well deserved break.  You will be missed, and we will keep “marching on!”  Thanks for your time at the helm!!

 

 

 

Fireworks.. What Ya Need To Know

The 4th of July is once again just around the corner, and in many parts of the county, fireworks go on sale June 28th.  Now, just because they are on sale, doesn’t mean it is legal for them to be discharged.  It seems each year there are a few new changes regarding when and where they can be discharged in Clark County, so here is our best effort to catch you up on this year’s important information.

Please do not call 9-1-1 to report noise or inappropriate violations.

From CRESA 911: Please call 3-1-1 (360-693-3111) regarding a complaint of individuals using fireworks outside approved dates/hours, or loud/illegal fireworks. Only call 9-1-1 if someone is injured or something is on fire.

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.Untitled picture

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.  

From Clark County:  Clark County has also added a new online tool that can be found on their website.   www.clark.wa.gov/community-development/fireworks  “This new resource will help take the confusion out of when  and where fireworks legally can be set off this July 4 season, whether you live in the unincorporated area or with a city,” said Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway.  “It also works on mobile devices, so people can find the the legal information anytime, anywhere.”

From the City of Vancouver:  Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli also stated the VFD will have fireworks patrols out.   More information can also be found on the City of Vancouver’s webpage including helpful information if you are uncertain if you live within the city limits.  www.cityofvancouver.us/fireworks

FIREWORK Discharge Times: Fireworkdishargetime

Fireworks may be discharged in unincorporated Clark County  NORTH of 219th Street between: June 28 through July 3rd from 9 am to 11 pm; July 4 from 9am to Midnight.

Fireworks may be discharged in unincorporated Clark County  SOUTH of 219th Street: July 4 from 9am to Midnight.

Fireworks may be discharged  in the City of Vancouver:  July 4 from 9 am to Midnight 

Time to Sign Off!!

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Janie and Greg Chaney on Janie’s last day at CRESA

Today marks the last for one long time Dispatcher at CRESA.  Today, after 40 years of taking 911 calls in Clark County, Janie Chaney officially hangs up her headset as she and her husband Greg (who retired for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office last week after 30 years) begin the next chapter of their lives.

When Janie hangs up her headset at the end of today she will putting an exclamation mark on a 40 year career that has seen many changes in emergency dispatching in Clark County.  Through name changes, automated systems, and countless upgrades, Janie has been witness firsthand how 9-1-1 dispatching has changed.   Listen in to Janie’s Farewell Radio Broadcast from this morning.

AttacFullSizeRenderhed is Janie’s Farewell Radio Broadcast from this morning.

Here at CRESA, Janie will leave some big shoes to fill.  Her knowledge, dedication, and respect among first responders is something that cannot easily be replaced.  As Janie walks out of our doors for the last time, we want to thank her for the years of service and dedication, and wish her and Greg the best as they start the next chapters of their lives!!

 

 

 

Have You Heard of Cascadia Rising?

download (25)Next week, CRESA Emergency Management will join with our partners from across Washington, Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest for one the largest earthquake exercises ever in the state’s history.  “Cascadia Rising” simulates a 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami along the Washington and Oregon coast.

Thousands of people including military personnel, will be participating to test joint response efforts to one of the most complex disaster scenarios facing the Pacific Northwest.    In fact we will see some national guard troops participating in our region.

 

 

Here in Clark County, the Emergency Operations Center will be open as we would be in any emergency as we test some of our local capabilities.  Our main task will be to coordinate the disaster recovery efforts and figure out ways to communicate with individuals in the county following the mock disaster.

As for any exercise or drill, our focus will be in identifying what works well in our plans and where we may have gaps that we can fix or address better.

CRESA has been working  with amateur radio operators in preparation to this exercise. Communication in any emergency is always a difficult situation.  In a wide spread catastrophic disaster like a 9.0 earthquake, that task will be even more difficult.  Sharing critical informatiimage2on about shelters, where to find food, water, medical assistance, and information about loved ones will become an even more daunting challenge.   We talk  regularly about the high likelihood of micro islands within the county, as the main communication infrastructure will likely be knocked down, amateur radio operators will be needed.

Still government can’t do it all.  It doesn’t matter how much government prepares – following a Cascadia event, there simply won’t be enough manpower to immediately reach everyone that has been impacted.

As we gear up for this exercise to test our capabilities to respond to a major disaster, we ask you to test your own personal preparedness! We urge you to develop a family communication plan, prepare an emergency kit including water, food, and other essentials for your family and home.

Spend some time getting to know your neighbors, learning about the needs and resources you may have in your neighborhood, and even consider taking a few steps to map your neighborhood.  Work with your neighbors to determine your own resiliency plans.  Don’t forget about pets.  Take a couple small steps to prepare today!!

Launched Public Alert for Missing Teen

UPDATE:  At 4:15pm we issued an all clear for this missing teen.  If you have any questions, please contact the Vancouver Police Department.  Thank you…

 

Just a little after 3pm this afternoon CRESA was requested to launch a reverse notification (Public Alert) for a missing teen in the area of 3100 E Mill Plain.  If you live in that area, you may have received the following message.

“This is a message from Vancouver Police Department and CRESA 911.  Please do not hang up.  Vancouver Police is asking for your assistance in locating a missing endangered teen believed to be in your area. The missing is child is 14 year old Gustavo Mendoza. He is 5 feet 3 inches tall and 180 pounds.  He has short brown hair and brown eyes. He is likely wearing a gray hoodie, gray pants, and white shoes. If you see him or know where he is, please call 911.  Thank you.”

A 911 Ending…

The life of a 9-1-1 dispatcher usually means never knowing the end of the story.

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The Lindborg’s felt it was fitting that it just happened to be Super Hero Day

9-1-1 Dispatchers are trained to take an initial call from someone on their worst day,  gathering critical information from the caller, relaying that information to the appropriate first responders, and then move onto the next call.  Very rarely do dispatchers get to hear the outcome of the call, and in even fewer instances get to meet the people they talk to over the phone.

On April 17, 2016, Jessie Lindborg left the family home for just a couple minutes to grab a gallon of milk.  While she was gone, the Lindborg’s autistic son figured out the safety locks on the house and took off.   When Mrs. Lindborg returned home, she was frantic when she realized their son was gone.  Jessie called 9-1-1 where Dispatcher Kelly calmly gathered information needed.  Dispatcher Kelly stayed on the line with Jessie, helping keep her calm while she tried to locate her son.

At the same time, another call came into CRESA 911 from an individual who had located a young male in the street.  Dispatcher Allison was able to gather information and by piecing it together, realized it was Mrs. Lindborg’s son.  Dispatchers Allison and Kelly worked together in relaying information of the young man’s location so Mrs. Lindborg could safely pick up her son.

It wasn’t until Mrs. Lindborg had located her son and made sure he was safe that Dispatcher Kelly hung up the phone, and moved onto the next 9-1-1 call.  While Dispatcher Kelly was on the line with Mrs. Lindborg she shared information about Safety Net of Clark County formally known as Project Lifesaver.  Safety Net/Project Lifesaver applies tracking technology for individuals with cognitive disorders.  For more information click here or contact the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

 

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Mr and Mrs Lindborg meet Dispatcher Kelly(Pictured L to R, Jessie Lindborg, Dispatcher Kelly, Bob Lindborg)

Today we welcomed Bob and Jessie Lindborg to CRESA 911.  They wanted to thank in person the dispatchers that helped them through one of those worst day calls.  The Lindborg’s believe the dispatchers truly saved their son’s life that day.  The Lindborg’s brought cards and treats for Dispatcher’s Kelly and Allison, as a small token of their gratitude. Because of scheduling Dispatcher Allison was unable to be present during the visit.  Bob also shared that they have since updated the locks on their home to hopefully ensure this doesn’t happen again.

 

You Accidentally Called… No Worries… Don’t Hang Up!

Ever get a call from a loved one or good friend, and when you answer there is no one on the other end?  You can hear them giggling or chatting away… but its not to you!  I’ve heard friends singing at full volume… out of tune… to the radio unaware that I can hear them also.  You too then have been a victim of a “Pocket Dial.”

This recent phenomena, waccidental callshich may cause a little embarrassment to the caller and a little frustration or entertainment to the call receiver, has also become a problem when that number dialed is 9-1-1.I am sure like me, you have seen people store cell phones on their bodies everywhere.  Anywhere from pockets, and socks to even bras.  Yes people have become resourceful in how they keep this modern day life line with them at all times.

Or how many of you have given your old phone to your child to play with?  Did you know, that as long as that old phone has a battery charge, it can still call 9-1-1?  If you do decide to let your child have your old phone, take out the battery.

These accidental calls now make up about Twenty Percent of all calls to CRESA 911.  That may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in that by state law CRESA 911 needs to call you back, to verify there actually is not an emergency it starts to reallaccidental2y add up!!  In 2015, CRESA received 405,000 911 calls.   62, 047 of those calls were accidental or incomplete that required a dispatcher to call the caller back to verify there was not an emergency!  1,812 of those accidental calls ended in 911 dispatch sending law enforcement to check on the caller.   Just think of the time involved in OVER 62,000 calls answered, and then having to be called back.

What Can You do to be Part of the Solution?

  • Use your cellphone’s key lock to help prevent accidental calls
  • Protect your cellphone by locking and storing it carefully
  • Don’t allow children to play with your phones
  • Programming 9-1-1 into your phone may cause accidental calls.  Instead, teach children how to dial 9-1-1.

What Can You do if You Accidentally call 9-1-1?

Stay on the line, and tell dispatchers that it was an accident. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have.  Staying on the line helps ensure that you are OK.  It also helps save time by not having to call you back or the sending of a law enforcement officer to verify you are alright.
Recording: Cathy Field – Mason County, Roxanne Castleman – Pierce County 
 Radio Station: KGHP – 89.9 FM Gig Harbor, Washington 

We Need More Heroes

If you were like me growing up, at one point in time, when asked what you wanted to be growing up, you probably answered a “Super Hero.”  I think most young boys and girls at some time in their young lives have tied a towel around their necks, and with arms outstretched have run around as if we could take flight and single-handedly capture the bad guys and save the day.

Even in the world of comics, there are Super Hero Crime Fighting Teams working together to catch the bad guy.  From Justice League, Avengers, Watchmen, and even the PowerPuff Girls, teams have worked together to save the day.

Our Crime-Fighting Team Begins With You

Truth be told, even in the real world, it takes a team working together to fight crime and making sure our little corner on this planet is safe.  Most may think that team begins with dispatchers or first responders, but actually that crime fighting team begins with you… when you call 9-1-1!

You become our eyes and ears, to what is happening, and ensuring 9-1-1 Dispatch sends the right people to assist.   As part of this crime fighting team, we need you to use your special skills and keep calm, to be able to answer the questions asked.  Dispatch Staff may seem stern and rude at times, but in fact they are there to guide you through the information they truly need.  In a crisis situation, as humans, we have a tendency to start to ramble.  The Dispatcher is there to keep you to the facts, to get the right help to you as soon as possible.  Please understand they are trained “Super-Hero’s”  doing their part, just as you, to support that crime-fighting team.

We Need More “Super-Heroes”!

Do you think you have what it takes to join our Super Hero Team?  Are you able to react in a “flash” and calmly during an emergency?  Do you have excellent communication skills on a phone and are a “wiz” on computer keyboard?  CRESAimages (3) is looking for you!  We are currently hiring 911 Call Taker-Dispatcher, no experience required since we offer a training academy.

9-1-1 Call-Takers answer and process 9-1-1 calls and perform Emergency Medical Dispatch for callers with medical response needs. CRESA Dispatchers also dispatch police, fire and medical services. Call-Taking and Dispatching work requires extensive computer skills, data entry, critical thinking and independent judgment. Call-Takers and Dispatchers must handle calls from angry, scared, depressed or impaired callers. Candidates must think quickly and make correct decisions in stressful and life-threatening situations. *Please refer to the JOB DESCRIPTION that has all the specifics including the ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS & MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS on our website www.cresa911.org

APPLICATION PROCESS

Step 1: Application on CRESA website (Required) – ongoing

Step 2: Take the ECOMM test (Required) – ongoing.  E-COMM is a video-based job simulation test focusing on candidates’ judgment, decision making, prioritization and logic. Test scores are valid for up to 1 year.  Candidates register for the ECOMM test at https://nationaltestingnetwork.com/publicsafetyjobs/

Where would you like to take the test?

  • April 27th 1pm at Clark College Columbia Tech Center
  • May 11th 1pm at Clark Corporate Education

What Super Hero Are You?

We’ve included a couple fun links for you to think about your inner Crime-Fighter.  Take the Super Hero Quiz we found to see what kind of Super-Hero you would be.  If  you are like me and have thought about creating your own Super-Hero… We found this site for you.  Click Here.  Lastly,we have also included some fun reading about Super Hero Crime-Fighting Teams.

Bonus points: if you read this to the end and took the quiz… Be sure to share with us via Facebook or Twitter what Super Hero you are!!

We Say THANK YOU To Our Own

Here At CRESA we are Very proud of the awesome staff that makes up all of CRESA’s four divisions.  This week, we highlight our largest department, 9-1-1 Operations.  Below are a few words from CRESA Director Anna Pendergrass in regards to this awesome team….   We’ve also created a video highlighting their awesomeness!! 

Greetings,

Please join me in paying tribute to our 9-1-1 Dispatchers here at CRESA as we celebrate National Telecommunicators Week April 10th – 16th.

Our dispatchers work 10, 12 and sometimes 14 hour days and serve 25 police, fire and medical response agencies in Clark County.  Dispatchers received over 405,000 calls in 2015.

Not many people are able to handle the long hours, rollercoaster stress, multi-tasking and emotional toll it takes to keep the citizens and first responders of Clark County safe. However, this is the life of a public safety telecommunicator, better known as the 911 dispatcher.

A 911 dispatcher plays many roles: therapist, doctor, lawyer, teacher, psychic, weatherman or -woman, sounding board, guidance counselor, parent, priest, secretary, politician, peacemaker, repairman, phone directory and negotiator. Each dispatcher on a daily basis deals with angry or frantic citizens, terrified victims, suicidal people and sometimes grouchy officers. These dedicated individuals are expected to gather information from agitated callers (many of whom either can’t remember answers to the questions or just simply can’t understand why they are being asked any questions at all), type everything into a bank of computers, assess priority, dispatch appropriate help, continue gathering information, listen for calling officers, keep officers and field personnel safe and field all sorts of non-emergency calls — all at the same time.

These professionals sit at a bank of computer screens with a headset and a phone for a 10 to 14-hour shifts, speaking with people whose faces they will never see, being taken for granted, criticized or sworn at, rarely receiving accolades or even a thank you and usually only getting the beginning of a story, as there is rarely any closure. Don’t forget that it’s a 24/7 operations, meaning they also work weekends and holidays. Every dispatcher is expected to be the calm or sanity in any storm, have the patience of a saint, answer every question, be an encyclopedia, ignore his or her own stress and emotions, have the speed of “Flash” and above all, be perfect all the time.

I am very PROUD of the men and women who sit behind the mic 24/7/365 and “Answer The Call”!  These individuals truly represent our CRESA Values:

  • Dedication is a commitment to our task and purpose. We are dedicated to the organization, each other, our families, and the community we serve.
  • Integrity is the cornerstone of our profession. We value ethical conduct and public trust. We are people of character and principle that are committed to upholding our position of trust.
  • Creativity is thinking broadly and strategically. We are inventive and innovative yet practical when creating solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Passion is driven by a desire for excellence. We care deeply about the people that need our help. We inspire the best of our colleagues and ourselves.
  • Communication is required to effectively serve. We are part of a community. We consider all to be valued partners in our drive to fulfill our mission.
  • Concern is a desire to support others. We know others may depend on us during times of high stress and naturally give them our support.

 

These public safety telecommunicators, each talented and unique, deserve much more than simply a week in their honor!  Please take a moment to reflect on the great job they do and if you get the opportunity please tell them “THANK YOU”!

 

Anna Pendergrass, Director of 911 & Emergency Mgt

March 2017
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