911 Calls
7:50 am
Mon August 18, 2014

What Happens When Callers To 911 Speak No English?

Dispatch supervisor Brenda Faxon and director Mark Buchholz in the Willamette Valley 9-1-1 Communications Center in Salem.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English. Correspondent Tom Banse takes us inside a 911 call center to find out what happens then.

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Carlton Complex Fire
6:31 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Central Washington Fires Shut Down Power As Uncertainty Grows

Community members file in Sunday night to a meeting in Brewster, Washington.
Credit Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

The most destructive wildfire currently burning in the Northwest has left thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration. It’s closed most gas stations and shut down ATMs in north-central Washington. Okanogan County currently estimates 150 to 200 homes burned to the ground. The County Utility District says its electrical system is almost a complete loss. Meanwhile, in Brewster last night, incident commanders of the region’s biggest and most destructive wildfire briefed residents Sunday night. Correspondent Courtney Flatt spoke with residents who are coping without power, and reports from that tense Brewster meeting.

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5:16 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Text-To-911 Coming, But Dispatchers Prefer Voice Calls

The FCC has been pressing cellular companies and emergency comm centers to accelerate text-to-911 rollout.
Credit ICMA Photos / Flickr

This week, the four biggest mobile carriers met a voluntary deadline to be ready to allow consumers to text to 911. But don't try that in an emergency just yet, because 911 dispatchers in the Northwest don't have the capability to receive your text for help. The necessary upgrades are coming slowly all around the country.

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Century Link 911
8:42 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Century Link Explains How 911 Call System Failed

Century Link has given the state an explanation for the 9-1-1 service outage earlier this month. 4,500 emergency calls did not go through during the outage, which hit most of the state.

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Oregon Emergency Management
5:33 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Oregon Office of Emergency Management Seeking Amateur Radio Operators

Oregon has roughly 700 licensed volunteer radio operators.
Credit feesta / Flickr

This weekend Oregon's Office of Emergency Management coordinated the largest test ever of the state's emergency communications network. While the exercise was considered a success, it also shed light on one of the system's vulnerabilities, a lack of qualified amateur radio operators east of the Cascades. 

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Tsunami Warning Siren
6:24 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Tsunami Warning Sirens Phased Out In Coastal Oregon County

A tsunami warning sign in Seaside, Oregon.
Credit Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Most of the tsunami warning sirens in one Oregon coastal county will go silent in the New Year. Communities up and down the West Coast are phasing in more modern forms of emergency alerts. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Spokane 911
6:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Citizens Will Wait Less, Use Texting, With Spokane 911 Changes

Spokane County’s 911 staff will soon grow, in order to speed up answering time. Paige Browning reports six call receivers will join the call center in the new year.

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Cle Elum Fire
6:02 am
Mon August 20, 2012

More Good News Than Bad From Kittitas Wildfire Frontlines Today

Smoke from the Kittitas wildfire. The fire has destroyed an estimated 48 homes.
Photo courtesy Wash. Deptartment of Natural Resources

Fire bosses at the scene of a destructive wildfire in central Washington gave an upbeat progress report at a community briefing in Cle Elum Friday. Firefighters targeted full containment of the nearly 23,000 acre blaze by Sunday. Reporter Courtney Flatt is on the scene. She says the mood at the community briefing was more curious than anything else.

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Cle Elum Fire
5:51 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Cle Elum, Wash., Continues To Battle Wildfire

An aerial view of wildfires outside Cle Elum, Washington.
Photo courtesy Wash. Department of Natural Resources

A large wildfire in the remote mountains of Central Washington state has burned 22 thousand acres . The Northwest News Network’s Anna King reports the fire has destroyed at least 60 structures from Cle Elum.

Nearly 800 firefighters have been battling the wind-whipped fire for several days. 18-year-old Tyler Oversby stared as giant plumes of smoke crept closer to his hometown.

Hot Weather Risks
5:49 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Health Officials Say Take Steps to Stay Cool in Hot Weather

Health officials are urging people to take steps to stay cool during the hot weather. Forecasters have issued a heat advisory for the next few days. Temperatures are expected to peak in the low-90s in Western Washington. Ruby de Luna reports Young children, elderly people, and those with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable.

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