Mike Kytta, Chief of Riverside Fire Authority, addressed our ARES group at Monday’s training meeting. Chief Kytta talked about Fire Dynamics and gave the group a refresher on correctly using a fire extinguisher. Both were interesting but the videos he included showing the different kinds of fires and how they react to fuel, heat and air were really amazing.
Riverside Fire Authority is one of our “served agencies” and we are thankful to call them our friends. Chief Kytta and his fire department personnel have done so much for our ARES group. They provide a safe, accessible location for our repeater, allowed us to put the repeater antenna on their Cooks Hill tower and even provided the ladder truck during training to complete the job of mounting the antenna. Comm II, our ARES communications van, is currently stored within Station 5 to keep it ready and out of the weather.
All of our Emergency Management partners have been generous and helpful in making Centralia ARES the success it is.
Thursday, December 11th, Southwest Washington experienced a significant wind event. Predictions indicated we would have sustained winds of 40 mph with local gust of 60 mph or more. These winds, following the three days of heavy rainfall, were enough to topple large trees and cause area wide power outages.
At 2:00pm on December 11th, Fire Chief Scott at West Thurston Regional Fire Authority requested Centralia ARES activate to assist them in their internal Emergency Operations Center for the duration of the wind event. With three operators and a fourth working the computers checking area wind speeds from his home in Centralia, the ARES team used the local BawFaw Repeater to take reports of wind conditions and seek information about local power outages.
Thankfully, the wind event did not, at least locally, live up to its predicted 60 mph gust warnings and the evening passed in relative quiet with isolated power outages and calls of trees into power lines. No lives lost and we enjoyed our first ARES call out to the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.
National Weather Service 1:15pm Tuesday, December 9th:
NWS has issued a flood watch for the Chehalis River near Centralia among other Western Washington rivers. The first of several heavy rain storms has passed and river levels are rising. The second rain storm is expected Tuesday night and should produce heavy rain over Western Washington. All ARES team members are encouraged to monitor Lewis County and Centralia river gauges on the Centralia EOC website.
Remember: PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…
A FLOOD WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR FLOODING BUT
FLOODING IS NOT IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. MONITOR THE LATEST
FORECASTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND BE READY TO ACT
QUICKLY IF FLOODING IS OBSERVED OR A WARNING IS ISSUED.