CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

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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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From Our Director – Thank You

The second week of April has been set aside as National Public Safety Telecommunicators week.  Initially established in 1981 this weeklong event is a time for us to recognize, celebrate and thank those who have dedicated themselves to helping others and truly serve as the first link in our Public Safety Response system.

Public Safety Dispatchers serve as the critical link between the callers and the responding agencies.   Working as an effective team, they provide pre-arrival instructions and calm reassurance to the callers while giving important information and updates to the responding units. We are blessed with Dispatchers who take their responsibilities seriously and who care deeply about the community we serve as well as the officers, fire fighters and medics they work with each day.

We expect a lot, asking them to get it right each and every time.  Over the course of the last year, I have had to opportunity to listen to many of our Telecommunicators.  In each case, I am impressed and proud at how they skillfully gather vital information from callers; many who are scared, confused, and dealing with traumatic events as they unfold, often not sure where they are, or what to do next.   In a precise fashion, they determine a priority and dispatch the appropriate help.  All while listening for, and sharing information to the responding to Police, Fire and EMS units.  Last year here at CRESA they did this more than a thousand time a day.

Our community is fortunate to have some of the best in the industry and it is my honor to be able to work with them on a daily basis.  They stand prepared 24 hours of the day, seven days of the week, “Always Here, Always Ready.”

This year is special in the fact that congress has proposed legislation which would appropriately reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators with other “Protective” occupations (as opposed to administrative/clerical occupations) in the Standard Occupational Classification.  The 9-1-1 SAVES Act is currently being reviewed in the US Senate and could use your support.

Please join me this week and take the opportunity to thank them and show your support for the great job they do each and every day.

Dave Fuller

Director, Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency

What Would I Do… If 911 Didn’t Answer?

Have you ever wondered what you would do if 911 didn’t answer?  Unfortunately, it’s pretty likely that in the last 5-8 years 911 service or your telephone service has experienced some type of outage.  If you were lucky, you didn’t need 911 during those outages – but what if you did?  The voice and data systems that provide wireline and wireless services to consumers and the 911 system form a complex network that supports your 911 call from the device you call from all the way through to the 911 call taker – we like to refer to this continuum of service as “from call maker to call taker”.

With so many providers, networks, hardware and software playing a part in your phone call to 911 it’s not surprising that there might be an outage of some sort.  Who is affected and what services are affected can be very difficult to isolate and identify – and this is where you come in.  Depending on the circumstance you may have different options.  Below we identify some options for you to try depending on the circumstance:

If you have an emergency and reach for your phone to call 911 and don’t have a dial tone or are unable to make the call –  what can you do? 

  • Ask someone else to call on a different line or device / phone.  Your phone may be damaged or out of service, so asking another person to try can help identify if the issue is isolated to you.
  • Use a different service provider to make the call.  If your cell phone can’t get through, try your landline.  Or ask your friend or coworker, who has a different cell phone provider, to make the call.  Sometimes one provider is having an issue, but others aren’t.
  • Try texting to 911.  Sometimes a voice call won’t work, but a text will.

If you have an emergency but when you call 911 it rings but no one ever answers – what can you do?

  • Don’t hang up!  Remember that our 911 call takers and dispatchers can get very busy and while we prioritize incoming 911 calls as the first ones to answer, you may have to wait.  Our telephone system is designed to put you into a queue if we are unable to answer the phone at around 45 seconds.  You will hear a message if this happens.  Hold on the line and wait for the call taker to pick up.  I know it seems like a long time, but trust us, we are doing the very best we can.

If you have an emergency but when you call 911 you hear ringing for a minute or so, this may be a situation where your phone is ringing but the call actually hasn’t made it into the 911 center.  Sometimes service providers will play a ring sound to you even when the call isn’t ringing here at the 911 center.  What can you do?

  • Try the steps above:  ask someone else to call, try a different service provider, or text 911.

If you have an emergency and all the above fails – what can you do?

  • Call our ten digit emergency number – 360-696-4461.  We have a restricted number of calls we can take at one time on this line, so you could hear a busy signal when you call.
  • Call 311.  Remember 311 is our non-emergency line, but these calls are delivered on a different network than our 911 calls, so if 911 is down we may be able to receive calls on 311.
  • Call the ten digit equivalent to 311 – 360-693-3111.  Sometimes the 311 short code doesn’t work for certain areas or certain providers.  If you can’t get through dialing 311 you can try the ten digit line instead.

Did you notice how all of the circumstances above started with “if you have an emergency”?  If you would like help determining what is an emergency check out our post: When To Call.

But if you call 911 and can’t get through or don’t get an answer and it’s not an emergency, try again later.  We may have experienced a really high volume of calls due to traffic accidents, fires, or other major events.  Waiting 30 minutes or more can help relieve the demand on the center during those high volume events. 

Whenever you experience any type of service outage, check with your service provider, news outlets, and social media for up to date information.  For notifications about events here at CRESA follow us on Facebook , NextDoor, and @CRESATalk on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to also sign up for emergency notifications at Clark Public Alerts.

In the complex world of voice and digital networks we can assume there will be outages, we hope this can be a resource for you to be prepared so you will know what to do should you need us but can’t reach us.

Here at CRESA and even your service provider might not be aware of an outage when it first occurs. Once there is awareness, we most likely don’t have an accurate description of the outage and its impacts right away.

By Katy Myers, ENP

Technical & Suupport Division Manager, CRESA

National Telecommunications Week 2019

During the coming week, we will focus on several topics near and dear to our local dispatch staff and what they want you to know to help CRESA help You!  We will of course also highlight our awesome staff and the amazing job they do 24/7.

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators.  It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (CA) Sheriff’s Office in 1981 after the Sheriff overlooked telling Dispatch that he was taking the administrative support team to lunch.  By the early 1990’s the national APCO organization convinced congress for a formal proclamation that was signed by President Bush in 1992.  To read more about how Patricia got the movement started you can click here.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week helps recognize the more than 500,000 telecommunications specialists nation-wide for an amazing job done in providing excellent public safety.

Marking the 1972 Tornado

Destruction of the Peter S. Ogden School, April 1972 tornado.

Washington and Oregon average about 1 or 2 tornadoes a year. Each usually are relatively weak, and do minimal damage. That was not the case on April 5, 1972 when a devasting F3 tornado struck Vancouver killing 6 and injuring 300. It is by far the worst tornado in Pacific Northwest History.

As we mark the anniversary, we thought we would ask a couple members from our staff who endured that 1972 storm and hear their memories from that day in their own words.

Tamie Cody – Emergency Management Coordinator – “I was 12 years old in 1972 and going to Minnehaha Elementary School. Of the eight kids in my family, six were at Minnehaha. The other two were at Lewis Jr High School. Mom and Dad both worked in Portland. I remember the teachers running around. They looked worried. When the sirens at the school went off, it scared us all, not knowing what was going on. The teacher told us it was a little wind storm and that we would be evacuating into the basement of the school. We lined up and headed to the basement with all the other kids in the school. About 500 panicked kids were running and falling down as we made our way down the congested stairwell. Once we were there, they told us that a tornado had hit and as soon as the buses could get there, we would all be going home.

There was no structure for this evacuation, parents were running in looking for kids and buses were arriving hurrying us to load. It felt like a madhouse. Kids were scared, crying and then dropped off blocks from our regular stops because of storm damage. The bus driver wasn’t sure if it was safe. I found my dad driving around trying to locate us. We listened to the radio for information on the storm. We were one of the few homes on our street with a basement. Dad scooped up a bunch of the neighbor kids, as their parents were not home yet, and took us all down into our basement until their parents could arrive where he felt it was safe. Power lines were down, and the neighboorhood was without power. Dad made popcorn in the fireplace which we all thought was cool. The mother of one of the kids that stayed with us, was killed at the Sunrise Bowling Alley on 4th Plain when it was hit by the tornado. That family – forever changed. “

Cindy Stanley – Emergency Management Coordinator – “This started off a nice and sunny spring day.  I was in 9th grade in Orchards at Cascade/Covington Junior High.  First reports came from the hand-held small transistor radios that were so popular in 1972, as everyone cool seemed to have one.  Radio announcers made it sound like the world was coming to an end, as their own voices rose with fear.  Wild, unbelievable reports were coming in of destruction and most certainly injured people.  I was worried about my family and my horses.  Being in 1972 Clark County I don’t remember much for emergency procedures.  But, there was a teacher from the Kansas or Oklahoma area there.  She told us to quickly move across the room, to the inside opposite wall of the windows.  We could see that the sky was very strange and dark.  She had us bend down and place a binder to cover our heads. Luckily, our school wasn’t damaged but we were as safe as you could be in that situation. 

Probably scariest was the radio report that another tornado was spotted on its way to Orchards.  For some reason that was worse.   Everyone knew someone that was affected from the Tornado.  There were plenty of hero stories that day. 

I was disturbed with my Mom as she had told me we don’t have Tornadoes here.  She was probably upset herself that her beliefs were shattered too.  Poor thing, here she was at 36 with four kids that she needed to protect.    

Driving around days later and seeing the devastation was horrible.  Up off Mill Plain, west of Andresen there were several houses destroyed.  One house was gone and the next door house looked fine.  How could that happen?

As a 15 year old, I didn’t want the bedroom light turned off for a week.  Looking back at it now, this deeply affected me.  Some of us were still damaged from the 1962 Columbus Day Storm so living through another storm just brought fresh physiological wounds.  Although I’ve learned to calm my fear of big wind, it’s not completely gone.” 

I think about this as an example to reunite my family in an emergency situation.  A Communications Plan is most important.  How will you get in touch with each other?  What is the Local Area Networks are down?  Does everyone have an outside area contact to text that they are safe?

The Rescue and Recovery- Twenty ambulances from Clark County and from Portland converged on the damaged areas, assisted by four Army National Guard and two Air Force Reserve helicopters.  The injured were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Vancouver Memorial Hospital, while rescuers remained on the scene throughout the afternoon and into the evening, searching the ruins with their bare hands to insure no one remained trapped in the rubble. 

The Vancouver tornado has the dubious distinction of being the deadliest tornado recorded in the United States in 1972. Six people were killed and at least 304 were injured seriously enough to be taken to area hospitals for evaluation and treatment. Property damage exceeded $5 million.  Today, the tornado remains the deadliest in Washington state history.  Thanks Tamie and Cindy for sharing your memories of that day!

Reported CenturyLink Outage Impacting Parts of Vancouver, WA

3/5/2019 6:45 pm The Outage has been resolved. At this time we have no further information. Thank You…

3/5/2019 6pm There is a reported CenturyLink outage in parts of Vancouver. This outage may impact the ability to reach 9-1-1 in an emergency.

  • 911 Systems in Clark County are functioning properly.
  • The impact is to CenturyLink Customers only and affects both non-emergency and 911 calls.  Other carrier systems, including cell phones and landlines are working.
  • If you are a CenturyLink Customer and cannot get through to 911 use a cell phone or another landline to call 911
  • Please do not call 911 to test your lines.

We have no additional information at this time. CRESA will send an update when the system is restored.

Local Flooding Road Closures

We are starting to see some local flooding on the west side of the county. As a reminder, please do not drive through water covered roadways.

We are working on an updated list of closures…

Clark County:

Old Pacific Highway between La Center and Woodland) as of 2:30 pm (Long-term due to washout)

City of Ridgefield:

Ridgefield Road Closure Map 

WSDOT Road Closure Map

To report water on roadways if not an emergency please call the following numbers:

Clark County Public Works – 360-397-2446
City of Vancouver Public Works – 360-487-8177
City of Battle Ground Public Works – 360-342-5350
City of La Center Public Works – 360-852-5177
City of Washougal Public Works- 360-835-2662
City of Ridgefield Public Works – 360-887-8251
City of Camas Public Works – 360-817-1563

Sand Bag Locations Throughout Clark County

Sandbag Locations In Clark County

Below are confirmed locations of sandbag fill locations throughout the county if needed. 

Clark County:

  • 78th Street Operations Center 4700 NE 78th St.   PLEASE only take what you need, not what you might need.  (BYOS)

City of Battle Ground:

  • The City of Battle Ground is providing self-service sand and sand bags for city residents at the Public Works Ops Center located at 1308 SE Grace Ave.

City of Camas:

  • Sand and sand bags are available for Camas residents here:   Camas Operations Center, 1620 SE 8th Avenue  or 4010 NW Astor Street

City of Ridgefield:

  • Sand and empty Sandbags will be available for self-service at Abram’s Park.

City of Washougal:

  • Public Works Operations Center 2201 C Street  or 2300 Block of North L Street  8am-4:30 pm

City of Vancouver:

The City of Vancouver has set up small, temporary sand/sand bags stations station (Must bring your own shovel!)  just outside the perimeter fencing of the locations listed below for Vancouver residents and businesses concerned about localized flooding potentially affecting their property.

  • East Fourth Plain Boulevard, east of General Anderson/Dairy Queen, near the site of the former Golden Skate building.

BYOS = Bring Your Own Shovel

Sand and Sandbags Available if Needed

Over the past 24 hours as the National Weather Service issued a Flood Watch for the Portland Metro Region, including Clark County.  Our 9-1-1 and Emergency Management Divisions have been getting calls regarding locations for sand and sandbags if they are so needed by residents.   

Below is a list of where Sand and Sandbags can be located in Clark County if you need them.  

Clark County:

  • 78th Street Operations Center 4700 NE 78th St.   PLEASE only take what you need, not what you might need.

City of Battle Ground:

  • The City of Battle Ground is providing self-service sand and sand bags for city residents at the Public Works Ops Center located at 1308 SE Grace Ave.

City of Camas:

  • Sand and sand bags are available for Camas residents here:   Camas Operations Center, 1620 SE 8th Avenue  or 4010 NW Astor Street

City of Ridgefield:

  • Sand and empty Sandbags will be available for self-service at Abram’s Park.

City of Washougal:

  • Public Works Operations Center 2201 C Street  or 2300 Block of North L Street  8am-4:30 pm

City of Vancouver:

The City of Vancouver has set up temporary sand/sand bags stations (BYOS*) just outside the perimeter fencing of the locations listed below.

  • East Fourth Plain Boulevard, east of General Anderson/Dairy Queen, near the site of the former Golden Skate building.
  • East Public Works Operations (English Pit), 912 NE 192nd Avenue

BYOS = Bring Your Own Shovel

Please note: The sand and bags are being made available for Vancouver residents and businesses concerned about localized flooding potentially affecting their property.

The National Weather Service advised a flood watch in effect from late Monday (12/17/18) through Wednesday Afternoon (12/19/18) for Clark County and the surrounding region.  Periods of heavy rain starting Monday Afternoon through Tuesday will result in sharp rises on many rivers and creeks in SW Washington, and minor flooding is possible.  Rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches in the in the Cascades.  1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain are expected across inland valleys.  Heavy rains over a 12-18 hr window along with gusty winds are likely.

29 Years Later

Today marks the 29th anniversary of the  1989 Loma Prieta Quake that happened in Northern California.  I remember exactly where I was that night as we were tuned in the watch the World Series “Battle of the Bay.”    The quake registered as a 6.9 shock responsible for 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries.  It caused the collapse of a double decker freeway structure in Oakland, California.  Liquefaction was also a significant issue, especially in the heavily damaged Marina District of San Francisco.  For emergency managers, this is good reminder of the importance of being prepared and what can happen here.

In the past few years, here in the Pacific Northwest, we have talked extensively about our own risk for earthquakes, primarily a Cascadia Subduction Zone quake which historically has caused an 8.0 or higher quake when the fault releases.  Currently we are within the “window of time” of this fault line releasing what would be a chatostrophic event.

Everyone know’s about Cascadia’s cousin in California: the San Andreas Fault.  Its been a movie star for years.  The truth is, San Andreas is a lightweight compared with Cascadia…. and a completely different type of fault line.  San Andreas is a transform fault meaning two plates are “rubbing” up against each other and slip against one another.   The Cascadia fault line has the Explorer, Juan de Fuca and the Gorda Plates sliding east and under the  the North American Plate.  As this happens, the lip of the Northern American Plate catches on those plates slipping underneath until… it finally springs back releasing energy 30 times that of the San Andreas.

However this is not the only fault line we have in the Portland metro area.  On the Washington side of the river, we have the Lacamas Lake Fault line which according to the USGS could cause a 6.7 magnitude quake.   There is also the Portland Hills Fault line which according to USGS could cause a 7.0 quake.  These two fault lines are similar to the San Andreas and could cause the same type of damage.

Tomorrow is the Great Washington Shakeout, where we take a moment to practice what to do in during an earthquake.  We encourage you to join us:  Drop, Cover and Hold On until the shaking stops.  Being prepared, and having the knoweldge to know how to survive an earthquake can mean the difference and save your life.

Cooling Center Options

 The following is a list of Cooling Centers in and around the area. Locations and hours are posted for your convenience:

Stay Cool! Beat the Heat.

Firstenburg Community Center
700 N.E. 136th Ave.

Monday-Thursday: 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday: 5:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Marshall Community Center
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

Monday-Thursday: 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday: 5:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Water Resources Education Center
4600 S.E. Columbia Way

Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: Noon – 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Firstenberg Tower Lobby 

400 NE Mother Joseph Pl #201, Vancouver

Hours: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm

Battle Ground Cooling Centers: 

Battle Ground Community Center

912 East Main Street Battle Ground

Hours: 8 am – 3 pm


Camas Library is available until 8:00 pm during the week.

25 NE 4th Ave Camas, WA


City Hall:

Hours  –  Monday – Friday:  8:00 am – 5:00 pm

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


Remember to avoid extenuous activity during the hottest times of the day!

Heat related illnesses:

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

Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke may include a body temperature above 103°F; red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.If you see any of these signs, have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Place the victim in a tub of cool water or in a cool shower, or spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the victim fluids to drink.Less severe heat related illnesses include heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.


In Portland, go to Help When it’s Hot