PO Box 101 ~ 300 Memorial Drive, South Bend, WA 98586
(360) 875-9340 Office ~ (360) 875-9341 EOC ~ (360) 875-9342 Fax

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency to Participate in Cascadia Rising


South Bend, Washington – The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency has a long history of advocating for individual and community preparedness and endeavoring to educate the residents of Pacific County on how to prepare for a major disaster such as, a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and subsequent tsunami. In June, PCEMA will be participating in a Functional Exercise to gauge the agency’s level of preparedness and its ability to support a response to such an event. A functional exercise differs from a full scale exercise, in that, during a full-scale exercise there are actual “boots on the ground” carrying out specific missions.

The Cascadia Rising Functional Exercise, which will be conducted June 7-10, 2016 will give the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency the opportunity to evaluate its ability to coordinate a response to a Cascadia Subduction Zone event.  Individuals from nearly every branch of Pacific County Government will staff the Emergency Operations Center in South Bend on June 8th and June 9th and will coordinate with response partners from all over Pacific County, as well as the National Guard, the Washington State Emergency Management Division, various military, and the United States Coast Guard. On June 7 and on June 10, the Pacific County EOC will operate with PCEMA staff only to support operations in other agencies and areas.

Communication will be supported by the Pacific County RACES, a robust group of amateur radio operators that may be able to establish communications when all traditional methods of communication have failed. Not only is this group capable of establishing communication with civil authorities around the state, they have also been developing an ability to communicate directly with the military. The RACES group has proven to be an invaluable part of the PCEMA team.

The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency encourages individuals to take the time during this exercise to discuss (with your family, neighbors, and friends) and evaluate your personal preparedness and how you would respond to such an event. Please use the checklist below, provided courtesy of Chuck Wallace at Grays Harbor Department of Emergency Management.




CASCADIA RISING
June 7-10, 2016

Scenario: A 9.0 magnitude earthquake lasting 4-5 minutes with numerous large aftershocks.  A minimum of 4 tsunami waves, 4-6 feet of subsidence and major liquefaction issues.

Do you truly know and understand the impacts to your community?

1.       What is the expected damage and status of infrastructure (e.g., buildings, roads, schools, police and fire stations and utilities)?

2.       What are expected damages to residential and business structures?

3.       Communication - How will you accomplish it and to whom will you speak?

4.       Are you and your neighbors aware of the dynamics and possible site specific impacts of earthquake and/or tsunami?  Have you considered multiple aftershocks, landslides, subsidence, liquefaction, or severe weather?

5.       Have you identified possible safe havens, assembly and/or shelters, along with possible alternative sites?  Does your family, friends and neighbors know this information? What will you do with your pets?

6.       Have you discussed the possibility of casualties in your community due to earthquakes? How and where will the injured be cared for?

7.       What essential services do you believe will be available (if any)?

8.       What is your expectation of time needed to restore these services?

9.       What community resources might be available to use? (CERT Teams, faith-based groups etc.)

10.   What resources do you believe you will need on day 1, day 4, day7, day 10 & 15 at your location? (Consider food, shelter, generators, fuel, and medical)

11.   What is your expectation of a time period before assistance begins to arrive?

12.   Based upon your answers, what kind of training and/or assistance would you like to see offered in your community to help prepare for disaster?
           
After discussing with your friends and neighbors, please send your responses along with your name and a contact number or e-mail to:   Scott McDougall, Deputy Director smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us or FAX to (360) 875-9342

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

AHAB Siren Updates: Volunteers Sought

PCEMA Deputy Director Scott McDougall and Jessica Rowlett the PCEMA AmeriCorps Service Member visited North Cove yesterday to monitor and verify that the AHAB Sirens in the North Cove area activated properly as part of the monthly test that occurs on the first Monday of each month. Each month we have a network of volunteers that report on the status of each siren. At this time, we are seeking volunteers to monitor sirens in the North Cove vicinity. If you are interested, please contact Scott McDougall at smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us.

There are 18 sirens located in coastal locations throughout Pacific County. All 18 activated properly during yesterday’s test.  The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency and the Washington State Emergency Management Division monitor these sirens through online silent testing and diagnostic programs on a daily basis and siren maintenance is an ongoing and nearly constant process.

Many people noticed yesterday that four sirens on the Long Beach Peninsula activated “late”. The signal activating the sirens is sent at noon or as close to noon as possible and it is sent only once. Siren activation times depend on the total amount of satellite traffic as well as atmospheric conditions and can vary by a few minutes from point to point.

The question has been raised: does this shorten my time to respond in the case of an emergency? The answer to that question is no. In the event of a tsunami generated by a distant source the AHAB sirens will activate when the National Tsunami Warning Center issues a “tsunami warning” which is planned to provide three hours’ notice, an adequate time for community response. In the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone event do not depend on the AHAB sirens. The ground shaking should serve as your warning.   


It is also important to remember that the AHAB sirens are simply one layer (an outdoor warning) in a tiered warning system that utilizes the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, the Pacific County Emergency Alert System and NOAA Emergency Alert Radios. PCEMA works to ensure that emergency notification is received by several means, recognizing that no system will ever be 100% effective. Nothing can replace personal responsibility and situational awareness.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

National Weather Service to Offer SKYWARN Weather Spotter Training

South Bend, Washington – The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency will host the National Weather Service as they present a SKYWARN weather spotter training class Tuesday, April 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners Meeting Room located at 1216 W. Robert Bush Drive, South Bend.

SKYWARN is a concept developed in the late 1960s that was intended to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and local communities. The emphasis of the effort is often focused on the storm spotter, an individual who is in a position within their community and is able to report wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado. Another part of SKYWARN is the receipt and effective distribution of National Weather Service information.

Since 2008, the National Weather Service has trained 50 local Weather Spotters who are able to provide observations to the PCEMA and the National Weather Service. This information is relayed to a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN program in the local area. Pacific County is served by the Portland Forecast Office. The training will cover:
  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report
  • How to report information
  • Basic severe weather safety
The class is free and will last approximately two hours. If you have any questions please contact AmeriCorps Service Member Jessica Rowlett at (360) 875-9300 ext. 2548 or jrowlett@co.pacific.wa.us


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Free CERT Training

South Bend, Washington – The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency (PCEMA) is offering a free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course in Raymond. Training is scheduled as follows:

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Friday, April 29, 2016 - 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

The course will be held at the Grays Harbor College Riverview Center, 600 Washington Avenue in Raymond. Pre-registration is required and is limited to 24 participants.

The CERT program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your neighborhood in an emergency situation. CERT members receive 20 hours of initial training provided free of charge. Topics include Disaster Preparation, Fire Safety, Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology, and CERT organization. The course is taught with classroom instruction for the first five days and practical exercises during the sixth day. Participants under the age of 18 must have parent/guardian permission to attend. 

To register or for more information, contact Scott McDougall at (360) 875-9338 or email smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us.  

Opportunity to Participate in an Assessment of Community Understanding Of Tsunami Risk


South Bend, Washington – Improving the response capacity of Pacific County and other Washington State coastal communities at risk of tsunami presents an on-going challenge. To meet this challenge Pacific County Emergency Management has supported an evaluation program to monitor and improve earthquake and tsunami education and preparedness programs.

The latest phase of work will involve volunteer focus groups of residents and organizations to explore their understandings of tsunami hazards. The discussions and survey are aimed to quantify people’s understanding of tsunami hazards in Washington State, their knowledge regarding the warning systems, and their preparedness to deal with future events.

A range of groups are sought to ensure that the views of a diverse and representative range of constituencies are canvassed.  Focus group meetings will ideally have between five and twenty people and last 45 minutes to 1 hour.  All focus groups will be taped and transcribed and participants will be asked to complete a very short questionnaire. All information provided will be treated as confidential and no individual will be identified in any way. 

Focus groups are currently scheduled for April 6, 2016 at the South Pacific County Administration Facility located at 7013 Sandridge Road in Long Beach. Several different times are available. Any Pacific County resident or organization interested in participating should contact the PCEMA Office at 360-875-9338 or smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us and indicate morning or afternoon preference.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

NWS Issues High Wind Warning for March 9th and 10th.


South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from 1:00 p.m. Wednesday March 9, 2016 until 4:00 a.m. Thursday March 10, 2016, for the South Washington Coast and the Willapa Hills.

South winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts 75 mph are forecast for the beaches and headlands. Coastal communities and the Willapa Hills will see winds from the south at 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph.  Winds will increase Wednesday afternoon and continue overnight into Thursday morning. The winds may be strong enough to damage trees and cause power interruptions. Expect tree damage and power interruptions. Travel may be difficult due to damaged trees in the roadway.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Headland areas and beaches are vulnerable to very strong wind gusts that may pose a safety hazard for individuals.  Extreme caution should be taken by clam diggers and others using the beaches. Never turn your back to the ocean. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. Trees may fall across roadways with little warning.

Please visit the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov/portland for the most up to date weather information. This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the Southwest Washington area.




Friday, March 4, 2016

NWS Issues Second High Wind Warning of the Week



South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from 9:00 p.m. this evening until 4:00 a.m. Saturday March 5, 2016, for the South Washington Coast. The strongest winds are expected for the beaches and headlands.

South to southwest winds of 40 to 50 mph with gusts 65 mph are forecast for the beaches and headlands.  Winds will increase Friday evening and continue overnight into Saturday morning. The winds may be strong enough to damage trees and cause power interruptions. Isolated power outages are possible, and travel may be difficult due to damaged trees in the roadway.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Headland areas and beaches are vulnerable to very strong wind gusts that may pose a safety hazard for individuals.  Extreme caution should be taken by clam diggers and others using the beaches. Never turn your back to the ocean. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. Trees may fall across roadways with little warning. 

Please visit the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov/portland for the most up to date weather information. This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the Southwest Washington area.

Monday, February 29, 2016

NWS Issues High Wind Warning


South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from 6:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Tuesday March 1, 2016, for the South Washington Coast and Willapa Hills. The strongest winds are expected for the beaches and headlands.

South winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 60-70 mph are forecast for the beaches and headlands. The forecast inland is for south winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts 50 to 60 mph. Winds will increase fairly early Tuesday morning and continue through a good part of the afternoon. The winds may be strong enough to damage trees and cause power interruptions. Isolated power outages are possible, and travel may be difficult due to damaged trees in the roadway.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. Trees may fall across roadways with little warning. 

Please visit the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov/portland for the most up to date weather information. This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the Southwest Washington area.