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News Releases
June is Search and Rescue Month in Oregon: Prepare, be aware and stay safe while exploring the great outdoors this summer - 06/20/24

SALEM, Ore. — June 20, 2024 — Warmer weather has arrived, and Oregonians are eager to hike, camp, boat, climb and explore. In recognition of Search and Rescue Month, several state agencies are sharing best practices on how to keep outdoor adventures safe for people and Oregon’s scenic landscape.

“Oregon is one of the best places in the world for outdoor adventure, and we want everyone to get outside and discover all our state has to offer,” Governor Tina Kotek said. “We encourage everyone to prepare for their adventures to stay safe and minimize their impact on the communities they visit. Please stay safe and have fun exploring!”  

On average, more than 1,000 Search and Rescue (SAR) missions are conducted each year in Oregon, and during the last decade, 99% of people needing SAR assistance lived outside the county where they were rescued. Lack of preparedness was often the common denominator.  

“Our SAR teams rescue many folks who are often inexperienced, overconfident and unprepared for the reality of the situation,” said State SAR Coordinator Scott Lucas. “We find people who set out for a hike wearing flip-flops and shorts and carrying no water. They might take an unmarked trail, get disoriented or take a fall, and they could be lost for days.”

Whether traveling for a few hours or a week, people should know their physical limits and plan for activities that won’t exceed their experience. Before heading out, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management recommends the following best practices:

  • Know the trail and conditions – research the trail thoroughly and get accurate directions to the trailhead.
  • Make a plan and tell someone – make sure they know your route, the exact trail name, possible side destinations and when you plan to leave and return. This information is vital for search and rescue if they need to come looking for you.
  • Practice situational awareness – stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on trail markers and landmarks so you can provide those details in an emergency. (This includes Oregon Beach Access Numbers on the coast).
  • Listen to your body – know your limits when selecting hikes and when you’re on the trail.  
  • Watch for hazards – if you see signs of bad weather, wildfires, dangerous wildlife activity or other potential hazards, adjust your plans. Never feel bad about turning around early. Have a plan B.
  • Stay on marked trails – straying off the path or following social trails increases the risk of getting lost or injured. It also increases the risk of fatal falls.  
  • Respect trail closures – safety signs and barriers. They are placed there for your safety. Disregarding them can have deadly consequences.
    • Exercise caution when crossing streams or navigating steep terrain – never climb on logs or turn your back on the ocean.  
  • Pack the Day Hike 10 Essentials – include proper equipment, extra food, water and supplies.
  • Follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace – minimize your impact.
  • Stay in touch – There might not be cell coverage and reception on the trail.  
    • Enable Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on cell phones.  
    • If you are using your cell phone, keep the battery fully charged and switch to airplane mode to conserve battery until you need it.
    • Consider a personal locator beacon (PLB) like InReach or SPOTS, if you need to call for help.
  • Prepare for the weather – layer up, wear appropriate footwear for the terrain and carry an emergency blanket. 
  • Practice water safety – before you go out, plan ahead and check water levels, obstructions, tide information, local regulations and boating access before heading out. The Oregon State Marine Board’s (OSMB) website has a lot of planning resources
    • A map of life jacket loaner stations to borrow if you don’t have your own.  
    • Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.  
    • OSMB recommends people recreate with others so they can provide aid more quickly if the unexpected happens.  
    • In 2023, there were 13 recreational boating fatalities where 11 victims were not wearing life jackets; seven were paddlers, one in a sailboat, and six were in motorized boats.

The Oregon State Park system is one of the most popular in the U.S. with more than 52 million day-use visits per year, so it’s no surprise it sees an uptick in visitors throughout the summer months. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) recommends that visitors stay on designated trails to stay safe. Following social trails or forging your own increases the risk of getting lost, getting injured or experiencing a fatal fall.  

“Even the most beautiful landscapes can be hazardous. We encourage visitors to stay on designated, marked trails to avoid injuries and potentially deadly falls. It’s also important to respect safety signs, trail closures and barriers to enjoy parks safely and responsibly,” said OPRD spokesperson Stefanie Knowlton.”

Oregon State Parks post notices online for park and trail closures as well as tips on how to hike safely.  

Oregon’s SAR program supports the broad spectrum of search and rescue operations throughout the state, including coordinating state and federal agencies involved in search and rescue activities and providing on-scene search and rescue efforts when requested. There is no charge for SAR calls, but if community members would like to help support SAR teams, they can purchase a 1-year or 5-year Oregon SAR card. Purchases help fund search and rescue training, equipment and missions across Oregon by contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund. The fund is managed by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.  

As always, in case of emergencies, dial 9-1-1; most Oregon counties also accept texts to 9-1-1.

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You can get this document in other languages, large print, braille, or a format you prefer. For assistance,  
email oem_publicinfo@oem.oregon.gov. We accept all relay calls, or you can dial 711.

Read more about hiking safety tips on the Hike Oregon Blog: https://bit.ly/3XsL2XJ or on the National Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/articles/hiking-safety.htm 

The Safety and Security Impacts of Houselessness on Businesses and Organizations - 06/07/24

Join industry leaders for the second session of the four-part 2024 Public-Private Partnership Security and Resilience Seminar Series.

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) invites you to the second session of the 2024 Public-Private Partnership Security and Resilience Seminar Series, titled “The Safety and Security Impacts of Houselessness on Businesses and Organizations,” on Thursday, June 13 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

This 90-minute session will feature insights from experts in government, the private sector and non-profit organizations. Speakers will share lessons learned and best practices from businesses that have developed innovative and socially engaging programs to address the complex issue of houselessness.  

This session will help businesses create forward-thinking plans and initiatives to tackle the challenges houselessness presents for their operations, customers, employees and the communities they serve. Attendees will learn how small businesses to Fortune 500 companies have proactively addressed issues related to mental health, public safety, substance abuse, poverty and equity.  

Featured Speakers:

  • Julissa McWashington — The senior manager of global social impact for Starbucks, McWashington has been with the company for 13 years. She has worked across various teams, including Global Coffee, Marketing, Food and Latin America. Currently, she leads the Community Resilience team, overseeing local Outreach Worker Programs and Community Resiliency Funds nationwide. Passionate about community service, McWashington serves on the boards of Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and After-School All-Stars. She also co-chaired Starbucks’ Hora Del Café a Latino Employee Resource Group (ERG).  
     
  • Dr. Jillandra Rovaris — A psychologist and Founder and chief executive officer of the Supply Chain Project, Dr. Rovaris brings more than 35 years of experience to her role. She has served as director and executive director for Student Health and Counseling Services at various universities. Dr. Rovaris is currently the assistant vice-chancellor/provost - executive director of Student Health Services and Counseling Services (SHCS) at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Her holistic approach to mental therapy and wellness focuses on treating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. She is also a subject matter expert for the California Board of Psychologists.  
     
  • Steven Robinson — The founder and chief operating officer of the Supply Chain Project, Robinson is an award-winning supply chain and operations executive with more than four decades of experience. He has led multi-billion-dollar global operations, strategy and supply chain transformations for some of the world’s largest companies. His expertise spans procurement, strategic planning, manufacturing, transportation and international logistics. Robinson previously served as the head of global supply chain for Walmart and Starbucks. Passionate about mental health, Robinson aims to democratize wellness for students globally. 
     
  • Laura Ellsworth — Ellsworth has served as the public policy and engagement manager for the Council for the Homeless in Vancouver, Washington for the last six years. Ellsworth has spent her entire career working in the nonprofit sector, and has extensive experience with advocacy, public policy, and community engagement around homelessness, healthcare and organ donation.  
     
  • Don Lynn — Lynn is the director of crisis and business continuity management for Albertsons Companies. With more than 20 years of experience in the food sector, Lynn specializes in crisis and business continuity management. His diverse background spans law enforcement, power and telecommunications—focusing on national security and emergency preparedness. 
     
  • Cara Steele — A crime and intelligence analyst with 23 years of experience, Steele is renowned for her collaborative work with community members and law enforcement to solve crime and enhance safety. At the Oregon DOJ’s retail theft unit, she uses her expertise in data analysis to combat high-level retail theft. Steele’s background includes work on drug and criminal organization investigations, making her a seasoned professional in her field. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University and is a certified crime analyst through California State University, Sacramento.
  • About the Series:  

Sponsored by the Idaho Office of Emergency Management, this series is a collaborative effort with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Albertsons Companies. It involves volunteer speakers with firsthand experience in key business and industry security and resilience topics.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • Session 2: June 13 – The Safety and Security Impacts of Houselessness on Businesses and Organizations
  • Session 3: September 12 – Safely Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace
  • Session 4: October 10 – Emerging Cybersecurity Threats: Preparing for the Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence

Each course can be taken individually and counts towards continuing education with Continuing Education Unit credits.

Register Today!  

To register for the series, please click here. For questions or more information, contact training@ghinternational.com. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your organization’s preparedness and resilience.

Click here for a recording of Session 1 of this Seminar Series. For recordings of the 2023 seminar Series, please click here

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Oregon Department of Emergency Management shares evacuation resources and best practices to help people stay safe during wildfire season (Photo) - 05/28/24

SALEM, Ore. – May 28, 2024 – The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) encourages Oregonians to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season by staying informed, having an emergency plan and packing a go-kit. People can find an evacuation checklist, live wildfire and evacuation maps, and wildfire preparedness and prevention tips at wildfire.oregon.gov.

“Oregon follows a three-level evacuation notification system structured around the readiness need and threat level,” said OEM Director Erin McMahon. “People should be familiar with the ‘Be Ready, Be Set, Go Now’ evacuation levels and their meaning. They should also evacuate anytime they feel unsafe, as conditions can change rapidly. Being prepared and knowing what to do when you receive an evacuation notice can help keep you and your household safe during a wildfire or other disaster.”

Level one (green on a map) means BE READY to evacuate. Be aware of the danger in the area and prepare to evacuate.

  • Sign up for local emergency alerts at ORAlert.gov to be notified of an evacuation.
  • Check phone settings to ensure wireless emergency alerts are turned on.
  • Have an emergency plan that names an out-of-area contact, a meeting place outside of the hazard area, and how to contact each other if separated.
  • Put together a go-kit of essential health and safety supplies and identification for each person and pet.
  • Call 211 or visit 211info.org for shelter options.
  • Use TripCheck.com or call 511 to map out evacuation routes.
  • Older adults, families with children, people with disabilities, livestock and pet owners, and those with limited access to transportation should consider evacuating at level one.

Level two (yellow on a map) means BE SET to evacuate. There is significant danger in the area and people should be ready to leave with short notice.

  • Continue to stay informed; check for updates through local city and county websites, social media, TV and radio.
  • Consider relocating to a safe place outside of the affected area.
  • Inform loved ones of plans and destinations.

Level three (red on a map) means GO NOW – Leave Immediately! There is extreme danger, and it is unsafe to stay.

  • Grab the go-kits.
  • Follow the emergency plan.
  • Leave as fast as safely possible; do not stop and gather belongings or protect the home.
  • Emergency responders may not be available to help those who choose to stay.
  • Do not return to the area until officials announce the area is safe.

OEM offers a statewide evacuation service that provides greater situational awareness of impacts on communities and lets people view estimated populations affected by evacuation. View this GIS StoryMap to learn more and visit Oregon.gov/oem for additional preparedness information.

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Image caption: Graphic of Oregon's three-level evacuation system, courtesy of Oregon Department of Emergency Management 

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