CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Posts in category emergency notification

CRESA EOC partially activated

CRESA EOC has partially activated and have opened our call center 360-992-9229 for individuals requesting information regarding the Archer Mountain / Eagle Creek fires and the current health risk.

Current information from Skamania County can be found on their Skamania County Sheriff’s Office page.

To sign up for reverse notifications in CLARK County, please sign up here:

Skamania County Emergency Notifications please sign up at

Current health advisory for Clark County is to act in this event as you would in extreme heat by staying indoors and people with respiratory issues take care.

Would you like to be informed of an emergency?

When it is appropriate, we want to inform you during certain emergencies when yours or others public safety is in jeopardy. We have received three requests so far this week from our local law enforcement for assistance by issuing our “CRESA Alerts” Emergency Notification. Instead of you calling 9-1-1 during an emergency, we call (or email) you to inform you of an emergency situation in your neighborhood that affects public safety, often times with further instructions.


The types of emergencies that we have issued CRESA Alerts have been for the following:

  • Lost or endangered children and sometimes adults who have been last seen in your neighborhood
  • Urgent police actions that affect your safety with instructions to stay (Shelter-in-Place) or evacuate your home
  • Hazardous materials spills or releases, again with further instructions to stay or evacuate

By default, our system uses traditional landline phone numbers tied to your Clark County address. If you do not have a traditional landline phone but use services such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) or Comcast phone service you need to register your phone number and address with us to be included in the registry.

Also, you need to register your wireless phone numbers to tie it back to your home address, regardless whether you have a separate landline phone or not.

So, now it’s up to you to register. CRESA ALERTS SIGN UP HERE

Register for Emergency Alerts in Clark County

Did you hear that the City of Portland is having a big emergency notification test today? This has created quite a buzz as people scramble to get registered. Do you live or work in Clark County and want to receive emergency notifications for your address? Register your cell phones or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone numbers now.

Although Clark County is not participating in this test we want to ensure that you get notified of actual emergencies in your neighborhood. Examples of situations where we have notified our neighbors of emergency situations include hazardous materials spill, urgent police actions or incidents, lost children and sometimes a lost or endangered adult. You may be asked to evacuate your home immediately, to remain safely inside your premises or be on the lookout for a lost person who was last seen in your neighborhood. Please remember to always keep a pen and paper handy by your phone to record important information that may be relayed and to communicate with your loved ones of these important instructions.

Are you ready to evacuate in an emergency?

Have you registered your cell phone with your Clark County address?

Today, CRESA prepared and sent an emergency message to some Washougal residents on behalf of the Washougal Police due to an urgent potential life-threatening police and fire emergency. The residents were told to “evacuate immediately” away from this area. Anyone that could not safely evacuate was told to secure their home, stay low and away from the windows. Would you know what to do if you got this message? Here are some tips.

  1. Register your wireless phone with your address so that we can keep you informed (see CRESA Alerts below).
  2. Always keep paper and pen by your phone to accurately record the instructions.
  3. Although it may be cute, never let small children answer the phone.
  4. Be prepared to evacuate and leave your home immediately, if instructed.
  5. Keep an emergency kit in your car, including food, water and blankets.
  6. Keep your important medication ready to evacuate with you.
  7. Inform your family members after you have been evacuated of your current location and situation.
  8. Follow the instructions of first responders on how to keep informed of the situation.

CRESA Alerts. Could we notify you of an emergency in your neighborhood on your cell or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone? Register your cell phone or non-traditional land line phone numbers with your home or business address today. If you have a traditional land-line phone there is no need to register.


Those simple little letters could make the world of difference for you and your loved ones in an emergency. What is your next step when a disaster occurs and you can’t contact your family because cell phone systems aren’t working or overwhelmed? The answer could be as easy as sending a Short Messaging Service (SMS) or “Text” message. Do you think texting is just for teenagers? Think again.

Although the east coast earthquake this week wasn’t necessarily devastating, the panic that thousands of people felt was real. Many reached for their cell phones to let their loved ones know they were safe, but that service wasn’t available. Those that knew how to generally got through with text, as it uses different technology than making a regular wireless phone call.

Hundreds of thousands of folks are gearing up right now to protect themselves from Hurricane Irene. Staying informed before and during a disaster is worth its weight in gold – but, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. What is it worth to you to know that your family is safe? According to Verizon Wireless, most phones are capable of texting even if you don’t have a texting plan. It could cost you as little as a few pennies or as much as a quarter per call.

Before disaster strikes let your loved ones know what your plans are to stay connected. Call your family today, tell them you are practicing text messaging and send them a message that says “I M OK. R U OK?”. Have them reply with those simple little letters “I M OK”. There are plenty of adults and teenagers that can help you learn to text and the internet is full of articles that will help you learn. The Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA) has a webpage developed to learning texting as well as WikiHow.

We recommend taking these additional steps to stay informed and connected before any disaster.

  • Establish a Family Emergency Contact outside your area (and not within your same potential earthquake zone)
  • Register your address with your mobile phone or email address to receive emergency message directly relating to your neighborhood or business with CRESA’s Emergency Community Notification Sign-Up.
  • Use other social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to stay connected to your loved ones.

Emergency Alert System: the Present and the Future

This morning we issued an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message to warn the public about a telephone outage at our 911 center (see last blog). Some TV watchers would have seen a message scroll across the screen that said “Civil Authorities have issued a Civil Emergency Message for Clark County, Washington”. Radio listeners may have just heard the EAS data bursts and the attention tone. What everyone should have also heard was a brief voice message from Scott, our duty officer today, warning of the problems with our phone system. Unfortunately, because of a technical problem, this voice message was not included in the warning. This creates understandable confusion and we’re working to resolve the problem and make sure that the system works right the next time.

There have been a few instances over the years where EAS has had problems. This system relies on a partnership between broadcasters, cable providers, the National Weather Service, and emergency managers and on a complex web of radio and data technologies. At any point, any link in this chain can have a problem which can generate faulty alerts. To ensure its reliability, EAS is tested on a weekly basis by all broadcasters. We also do regular live tests with broadcasters to ensure that the whole system works. Still, problems occur.

The important thing to remember is that EAS has worked for us and it can save lives. For the tornado that tore through Clark County early this year, the first warning that most people got was from the EAS warning issued by the National Weather Service. Around the country EAS has been used many times to let people know about tornados, hurricanes, chemical spills, and other life-threatening emergencies. To augment EAS and to add to our warning capabilities, CRESA also has a telephone warning system and we rely on, a rapid media notification service.

Starting late next year, you may start to see some improvements to EAS as we begin implementation of the Common Alerting Protocol. Without going into technical details, CAP is a simple standard for the creation and delivery of warning messages that will make it so we can accurately and quickly issue warnings via EAS, telephones, highway message boards, text devices, NOAA Weather Radio, media notification services, blogs, and other web messaging tools. Eventually, new CAP-compliant systems may completely replace the current EAS system.

In the mean time, stick with us and please be patient as we work to continuously improve our ability to warn you of emergencies. If you see warning information that doesn’t make sense, the best first step is to check your favorite radio or television news station for further information about the alert. We do our best to provide information to them quickly. Most of all, please avoid calling 911 unless you have a real emergency.

Weather Alert Meanings and Important Links

Are you concerned about missing information that may save your life and the ones you love?

When a hazardous weather threatens, how do you receive time critical messages and alerts?

Through your NOAA weather radio, on TV and the radio, you will hear alerts from the National Weather Service regarding these events. It is important to understand what the alert classifications mean in order to adequately prepare your loved ones to survive an event.

According to the National Weather Service website, “NOAA’s National Weather Service uses a four-tier approach to alert the public for the potential for severe weather or high fire danger. This four-tier approach consists of outlooks, advisories, watches and warnings.” These four classifications can be very useful if you understand their meaning. We’re here to help you!

1. Outlook – The chance of hazardous weather looks to be developing within the next 3 to 7 days.

2. Advisory – The chance of hazardous weather has increased but many factors are still uncertain. Advisories are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before potential impact.

3. Watch – The hazard will occur and poses significant inconveniences. A watch does not pose a general threat to life except for those traveling.

4. Warning – The hazard is occurring or imminent and poses a threat to life or property.

For recommendations on actions to take when these alerts are issued, visit the local National Weather Service web page by clicking here.

How the Clark Regional Emergency Operations Center receives hazard warning and notifications

Here in the Clark Regional Emergency Operations Center, we need access to quality, timely hazard warnings and notifications. We developed a list of hazard warnings and notification phone numbers and website links we use on a regular basis. Since it a priority for our community to have access to reliable information, we have included this document for you.

Access Clark Regional Emergency Operations Center’s Hazard Warnings and Notification Links.

Everything about blogging at CRESA

Blogging! Back in July, our agency introduced blogging about Emergency Management here in Clark County. Our goal is to provide direct communication with local residents and support agencies within Southwest Washington. Like many of you, we’re still learning about this fantastic technology and figuring out how to best “get the word out” about topics like preparedness, emergency actions, and real time information you may need to know in event of a disaster.
In event of a major emergency, we’ll still use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for commercial radio and television broadcast of important information. We also can call you using Emergency Community Notification System (ECNS), often referred to as “reverse 9-1-1”. Our CRESA website lists all the methods we use to “get the word out” to keep you informed. This Blog is just the latest method to do just that.

Weekly Blogging:
If no immediate emergency is happening, our staff will write a “timely” tid-bit Blog entry in Emergency Management. This is the first of this series.

The RSS feed:
The RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) is a nifty way to keep informed when this blog (or any other you follow) adds a new blog posting. If you’ve found this blog more than once, you may be here because you subscribed to it. When you enter your e-mail address in our “subscribe” box, it is delivered a RSS publisher called “FeedBurner“. The RSS feed is a feature that helps readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.

You can use this feature in many ways. You can keep track of all you Blog’s by subscribing to iGoogle. If you also have a newer copy of Microsoft Outlook (e-mail client), you can also keep you RSS feed information saved there. You might also try another Internet browser like Mozilla Firefox. That browser has many RSS feed features to try.

Tuning in to Emergency Alerts

Many people are familiar with the Emergency Alert System which provides emergency information on our NOAA Weather Radios or crawls across a television screen after some tell-tale tones.

But did you know that there are a number of other “alerts” that you can receive to plug-in to available information within our local community?

Locally, within the Portland metropolitan area, Flash Alert is a way to have press releases (both emergency and non-emergency) sent directly to your email or pager. Flash Alert provides information about local school closures, criminal activity and a number of general news items that may be of interest to you. Simply sign-up for this service and tune into news that is pertinent to you!

Another way to receive information, particularly health and weather alerts, is through Emergency Email. You can designate what counties you’d like to receive reports from and when something occurs in our local area or is of national interest, you’ll receive an email.

Finally, one of my favorites which should be saved as a “favorite link” on any emergency responder’s list of regularly visited sites, check out this real-time emergency map of all of the hazards and disasters underway throughout the world.

A Day in the Life of Emergency Management

Welcome to the CRESA Emergency Management Blog. In the past 24 hours, we have received a surge of over 150 new subscribers to the blog thanks to recent coverage in the Columbian. We appreciate the community response and sincerely hope the trend continues so that we can quickly reach out to you with key information about emergencies and preparedness relating to our local community. So, share this blog with your friends and family and continue to help us get the word out.

Today is only Tuesday and yet there is so much that I could share with you…..

At 8:35 a.m. this morning, my staff received an “exercise” message informing them of our need to evacuate the CRESA operational facility. Five staff and I packed up everything from paper & pencil to computers, phones and radios and we made our way to our pre-identified back-up location. This was a first back-up center drill to see if we could become fully operational and we were successful. Within 90 minutes (which included a drive time of about 20 minutes), we were able to set up an “Emergency Operations Center” capable of managing a significant emergency incident.

At 10:25 a.m., the planned “exercise” was interrupted by a “real life” emergency support activity. 9-1-1 Dispatch contacted a duty officer to conduct a live community notification of local businesses in the area of 8th and Broadway where an armed robbery had occured at the Bank of America. This “real” opportunity allowed us to test our remote ability to notify the community of some key information regarding suspect identification and the robbery.

If you aren’t familiar with our local Emergency Community Notification System (ECNS), here is a brochure we developed with some additional information about the system.

Emergency Management has also recently produced its July quarterly Newsletter called the “Situation Report” which outlines some of the fun planning and preparedness activities. These newsletters are shared with many of our emergency responders, although likely also contain content that might be of interest to you! Backlog issues are also available on the CRESA website if you are interested.

Cheryl Bledsoe
EM Manager

February 2018
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