Thursday, July 31, 2014

Do you know what to do when the "big one" hits?

The "Great Oregon Shakeout" on Thursday, Oct. 17 will test the readiness of individuals, schools, businesses and organizations for a major earthquake. At 10:17 a.m. people are encouraged to practice the "duck, cover and hold on" rule for surviving earthquakes – drop to the ground, get under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on for at least 60 seconds.

The Shakeout is designed to promote preparedness by educating the public how to reduce hazards in their homes and workplaces, prepare emergency kits and take other measures. To learn more go to www.shakeout.org/oregon. People can register as Shakeout participants to be tallied as event participants, but registration is not required to take part.

As part of the Shakeout exercise, two emergency notification systems will be tested: Clatsop County's ClatsopAlerts! and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's IPAWS.

Designed to provide local citizens with immediate information and warnings about storms, floods and tsunamis, water contamination alerts, missing persons reports, road closures and other events, ClatsopALERTS! sends out recorded voice or text messages to citizens' home phones, cell phones, pagers and email addresses, alerting them to the emergency and providing important response information.

The first county-wide ClatsopAlerts! message will be sent out at 10 a.m. Thursday. At 10:15 a.m. the National Weather Service will send out an IPAWS message.

IPAWS – Integrated Public Alert and Warning System – is an emergency-only notification system that gives local emergency agencies the ability to send messages to cell phone users in Clatsop County regardless of whether they are signed up for ClatsopAlerts! This provides the ability to reach visitors with severe weather warnings, evacuation notices, Amber Alerts and other emergency messages.

All land-line telephone customers in the county are automatically registered with ClatsopAlerts! – citizens can also sign up to receive messages through cell phones, email and pagers. Registration is available online at www.co.clatsop.or.us.

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