Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


The HEART of preparedness

Share

Emergency response team ready to help community in a disaster


CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - HEART members carry a person in need out of building during the teams quarterly training drill.In the event of emergency, after making sure she and her family are safe, Welches resident Bonnie Hayman will be ready to report for duty.

Hayman is one of the 45 certified members of the Hoodland Emergency Action Response Team, or HEART, Mount Hood’s Community Emergency Response Team.

“If anything happens, I know what to do. And I like that,” Hayman said. “Rather than, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ you think, ‘This is what I do.’”

“People were unprepared,” said Cris Crislip, HEART program manager. “They didn’t realize they’d need to evacuate.”

Formed in 1996 following the Sandy River flood, HEART works in conjunction with the Hoodland Fire District. During a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm fire agencies and emergency services, Crislip said.

Formed in 1996 following the Sandy River flood, HEART works in conjunction with the Hoodland Fire District. During a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm fire agencies and emergency services, Crislip noted, and HEART helps to augment their services.

“People were unprepared,” said Cris Crislip, HEART program manager. “They didn’t realize they’d need to evacuate.”

Hoodland Fire covers 45 square miles of rugged foothills southwest of Mount Hood along Highway 26 between Sandy and Government Camp. It has 10 career staff members and 30-40 volunteer firefighters.

“We’re here to fill the gap,” he said. “(Hoodland Fire) only has so many rigs and so much staff. People may be on their own for one day, two days, one week or two weeks.”

Crislip said HEART’s everyday goal is to motivate the community to learn about preparedness for a disaster. If a disaster happens, HEART volunteers will try to do the most for people in the shortest amount of time.

A former certified paramedic, Crislip has volunteered with the Hoodland Fire Department for two years. With his background, Crislip was a good candidate for training HEART members. Eventually, he took over as program manager.

“I do it because I like teaching,” Crislip said. “And I realize that in a disaster, you’re going to be one of two people: either a victim or a rescuer.

“I thought if I got involved, then we’ll have more rescuers and less victims.”

Be prepared

A few years ago, Crislip spoke to the Hoodland Women’s Club about what HEART does. Hayman was listening.

She ended up attending the first meeting and going through the training.

“I feel prepared,” she said.

Hayman said she learned first aid and CPR and has the training to respond if a disaster were to occur.

Although she’s gotten to know the Hoodland Fire staff and is thankful for all they do, she knows she doesn’t need to rely on them.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - HEART members learn to put out small fires, conduct light search and rescues, and treat the three killers: airway blockage, bleeding and shock.

“I’ve gotten to know them and am even more confident in them,” she said. “But if I’m needed, I’m there. It just makes me feel more confident and not fearful.”

One of HEART’s main purposes is to train community members to take care of themselves, their family and their neighbors in the event of a disaster.

A former Gresham resident, Hayman said even though she loves living in the Hoodland area, in a larger city, she felt more secure being surrounded by multiple emergency agencies.

“Up here, it’s kind of just us,” she observed. “(If something were to happen), it’s going to be a while until anybody can get in here. It’s best to be as self-sufficient as possible."

HEART operates with the idea that the community should be ready for any number of disasters, including flooding and winter storms — which can cause landslides — hazardous material being spilled along the highway, an eruption of the Mount Hood volcano and earthquakes.

"I do think the bigger earthquake is coming, and that’s going to be difficult to deal with here," Hayman noted. "I think we need to be ready for that."

Ahead of time, families should do two things: create a family action plan and pack a 72-hour kit, with food, water and medical supplies.

“Those are the two things we stress over and over,” Crislip said. “You have these things in your home. You just need to organize them to take with you.”

Even if your kit is just three bottles of water, five protein bars and a box of Band-Aids, he added, "any kit is better than no kit."

A family action plan should detail what your family would do in case you need to evacuate. Crislip said it should be written, easily accessible and practiced regularly.

Just as with an emergency kit, any plan is better than no plan.

Join the mission

HEART holds a monthly, public training sessions on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Hoodland Fire Department, 69634 Highway 26, in Welches. Its next meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 19.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - HEART program manager Cris Crislip, right, works with his team during a quarterly drill.

After community members have learned what to do for themselves, they are welcome to volunteer to complete a one night a week CERT basic training, which lasts for eight weeks.

Trained HEART members also participate in quarterly drills, held for three hours on a Saturday. They next one is scheduled for Sept. 12.

“It’s a great program,” Hayman said. “Every community, I really think, should have something like it to have to fall back on in case of emergency.”

For more information about joining HEART, call the Hoodland Fire District at 503-622-3256.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.