Friday, January 29, 2010

Story about Major Earthquake in Pac NW

The following link is to a story in the Willamette Week regarding what we can expect with a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. The interview is with our friend James Roddey, earth sciences information officer for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI).

Quake-Up Call

There’s a massive earthquake in Portland’s future—and a government “prophet of doom” will tell you all about it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Six Ways to Plan for Earthquakes

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

Six Ways to Plan Ahead

  1. Check for Hazards in the Home
    • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
    • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
    • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
    • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
    • Brace overhead light fixtures.
    • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
    • Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
    • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
    • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.

  2. Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
    • Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
    • Against an inside wall.
    • Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
    • In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.

  3. Educate Yourself and Family Members
    • Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes. Also read the "How-To Series" for information on how to protect your property from earthquakes.
    • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
    • Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.

  4. Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
    • Flashlight and extra batteries.
    • Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
    • First aid kit and manual.
    • Emergency food and water.
    • Nonelectric can opener.
    • Essential medicines.
    • Cash and credit cards.
    • Sturdy shoes.

  5. Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
    • In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
    • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

  6. Help Your Community Get Ready
    • Publish a special section in your local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and hospitals.
    • Conduct a week-long series on locating hazards in the home.
    • Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
    • Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.
    • Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities.
    • Work together in your community to apply your knowledge to building codes, retrofitting programs, hazard hunts, and neighborhood and family emergency plans

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Columbia County Quake Shake 2010

Columbia County Quake Shake 2010: A Countywide Earthquake Drill

Geologists have told us that there is a great likelihood that Columbia County will have a major earthquake in the next hundred years. In fact, since they occur roughly every 300 years and the last one was in 1700, we are OVERDUE!

Please take a few minutes on Monday April 26th at 10 AM or anytime to practice your earthquake plans in your homes, at work or school.

For more information phone: 503-366-3905 or email

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wildfire Reduction Grants for Columbia County

The Oregon Department of Forestry currently has grant funds available to assist land owners in Columbia County in reducing their wildfire risk around homes and property. Financial assistance opportunities exist in both rebate and cost-share form depending on individual needs and interest. These projects will focus on mitigating wildfire hazards for those who live in communities at risk. A free home assessment starts at the home itself, and moves outwards through the “home ignition zone” (HIZ). The concept of this HIZ has been developed to describe interactions between wildfire and structures. Your HIZ will vary from 30 to 200 feet depending on vegetation and topography. There are also cost-share opportunities for more traditional non-commercial fuels reduction projects to help create community fire breaks.

The local Columbia City ODF office is administering these grant funds in cooperation with rural fire districts, Columbia County Emergency Management and the Columbia County Board of Commissioners. The goal of this program is to make our community more aware of the risks associated with living near wildlands, and the simple tasks individuals can do to help protect themselves and their families. There are many different ways that individuals can participate in making our community and forestland more able to survive a catastrophic wildfire.

To sign up for a free comprehensive HIZ inspection and to start the grant application process contact:

Kevin Nelson, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, Columbia City (503) 397-6361