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City focuses on emergency preparedness

During the past two years, the city of Milwaukie has increased its focus on emergency preparedness.

Under the guidance of police Capt. David Rash, assigned as the city’s emergency manager in 2010, the city’s Emergency Operations Plan was revised, and city staff have participated in drills and completed a series of federal FEMA/NIMS training courses. The Community Emergency Response Team has also been active, increasing its volunteer base to more than 50 active and reserve members and a dedicated coordinator, Linda Hedges.

“The city would not be at the level of preparedness it is now if it had not been for the dedication and efforts of city staff, CERT volunteers and community involvement, such as the American Legion taking steps to become a shelter through the American Red Cross Oregon Trail chapter,” Rash said.

Community groups have also ramped up preparedness. The Island Station Neighborhood Association has created an emergency network system. Residents maintain an emergency supply cache, which is stored in a safe and central location for easy access. They practice drills of setting up the tents and supplies, and they have a tested phone tree system to ensure everyone in the neighborhood is contacted in the event of an emergency.

In April 2012, Mayor Jeremy Ferguson kicked off the monthly “Mayor’s Emergency Preparedness Speakers Series,” which features presenters who speak on a variety of issues.

The series is designed to engage and educate the community on how to prepare oneself, family and community for an emergency. The first talk was given by James Roddey, a well-known expert on earthquakes, often referred to as the “Prophet of Doom.”

The series has since addressed “Winter Preparedness” and “Together We Prepare Oregon,” both by the American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter; “Thrive Away From Home” and “Cooking in the Dark” by Simple Safety; “Finding Common Ground Before Disaster Strikes” by Alice Lasher Busch, emergency management coordinator for Multnomah County Human Services; and “Practical First Aid and CPR” by Gregg Ramirez, emergency manager for Clackamas Fire District No. 1.

The series continues on Feb. 12 as Rash will present the city’s Emergency Operations Plan. On March 12, Police Officer Ulli Neitch will present with the help of a four-legged friend. Neitch has a niche for working with animals. A volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society, she participates in animal search and rescue missions and recently joined forces with others in New York to assist with displaced animals of super storm Sandy.

Neitch will talk about how to prepare an emergency disaster kit for family pets, and show a PowerPoint presentation on how to read canine and feline body language. She will also briefly discuss how organizations such as OHS, ASPCA, and others assist in sheltering animals during emergencies.

The Mayor’s Emergency Preparedness Speakers Series is held at the Milwaukie Center, 5440 S.E. Kellogg Creek Drive. Talks are 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 and March 12.




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