Disaster preparedness class to be offered online

Jim Kusz will be teaching an online class called “Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest” on Feb. 2 and 4, which is being offered by Oregon Coast Community College.

All registration fees will be donated to fire victim support fund

An online class called “Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest” is being offered by Oregon Coast Community College and will feature instructor Jim Kusz. The two-part class will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, Feb. 2 and 4. The cost is $15, and the class will be delivered live via Zoom. People can register for the class at oregoncoast.edu/communityed.

Kusz retired from North Lincoln Fire & Rescue last year, but fire prevention is still near and dear to his hear. For his upcoming disaster preparedness class at Oregon Coast Community College, he’s inviting Jenna Trentadue, national fire plan coordinator from the Oregon Department of Forestry, to speak about FireWise, a program supporting creation of defensible spaces around homes in fire-prone areas. Another guest speaker will join Kusz’s two-session class. Dr. Lesley Ogden, CEO of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital and Pacific Communities Hospital, will talk about COVID-19, and how pandemics and other health risks can be incorporated into the list of circumstances coast residents may wish to be better prepared for in the future. 

Kusz would normally be paid for his instruction through OCCC’s community education program, but he’s donating his compensation to the Echo Mountain Fire Relief Fund. The community college is following suit, donating 100 percent of all registration fees to the same fund. 

About the class

In 2015, “The New Yorker” published a cover story, “The Really Big One,” that detailed the risks to the west coast of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The risks of a “Cascadia Event” and the tsunami it would/will cause, were laid plain in stark, sobering language. 

As a result, attendance in Oregon Coast Community College’s disaster preparedness class, already a popular recurring course in OCCC’s community education program, ballooned. Sellout crowds gathered to hear Kusz, at the time a captain with North Lincoln Fire & Rescue, explain how to craft appropriate “go kits” for home and autos, and how to be prepared to ride out the earthquake, tsunami and the days or weeks of isolation that would likely follow. 

Many of these students were surprised when each class began with the same refrain from Kusz: “The wildland fire is going to get us long before the tsunami will.”  

In fact, some of those who evacuated from the Echo Mountain Complex fire last summer did so in cars equipped with “go bags” inspired by their participation in Kusz’s class. 

The upcoming class will summarize some of the fundamental risks that threaten to strike the Northwest at any time, and Kusz delivers the content in a casual, friendly manner. The class isn’t about fear or panic; it’s about confidence and preparedness.  

This two-session class will be recorded, with the link made available to all registrants, even if they cannot attend the live classes. 

Anyone who has attended one of Kusz’s classes in the past can expect this one to be updated and informed by 2020’s many challenges. For people who cannot attend the class but who would like to make a contribution to the Echo Mountain Fire Relief Fund, deposits can be made at any First Interstate Bank. The fund’s tax ID is 85-3034665, Oregon Registry No. 171985196.

Other non-credit community education courses are available via Zoom this winter, including a live cooking class coming this March, and a series of astronomy-related courses. The lineup also includes a personal finance class, as well as courses designed to prepare one to become a licensed real estate broker or a licensed real estate property manager in Oregon, among others. 

To register for a class, visit oregoncoast.edu/communityed, or find the online “Catch the Wave” course schedule at bit.ly/wintercatch. Or, register by phone, at 541-996-6222.


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