Frist blood drive since Sept. 11 draws well

On Wednesday, Hood River held its first blood drive since the terrorist attacks on the East Coast and donors were out in force. In fact, days before the drive local Red Cross workers scrapped the usual mix of pre-set appointments and walk-ins and went to a walk-ins only regimen after the call volume for scheduling donor appointments became too heavy.

"The phone was ringing off the hook," said Hood River blood services chairman Margo Parker. The Sept. 26 blood drive had been scheduled before the terrorist attacks.

The drive started at 1:30 p.m. and by 2 p.m. there was already a half-hour wait. "We had 57 people come in during the first hour," Parker said. "So we were backed up from then on."

Parker said it was great to have so many willing donors, but the wait combined with limited Red Cross staff made it hard for everyone who wanted to donate blood to do so.

"Some people just didn't have time to wait that long," Parker said. The Red Cross collected 107 units of blood at the drive and signed up many who had to leave before donating for the next scheduled drive on Oct. 31.

Parker said she signed up 19 first-time donors -- more than she'd ever seen in a one-day blood drive during her 10 years with the Red Cross in Hood River. "The most we've ever had before was six," she said.

According to Red Cross consultant Jon Rabe, the nation's blood supply is the "best we've ever seen it." The blood supply in the Northwest -- and much of the nation -- had been on a "critical alert" status since last December, meaning that there was less than a half-day supply of blood in regional banks.

Immediately after the attacks, donors flooded Red Cross offices and drives and, according to Rabe, the critical alert was brought to an end in one day.

But Rabe and Parker both stressed the need for blood donations on an ongoing basis -- not just after a disaster like the terrorist attacks.

"Sixty percent of the population is eligible to donate," Rabe said, "but only slightly more than five percent actually do." He said the goal of the Red Cross is to establish and maintain a five-day blood supply -- something that, even with the flood of donors in the last couple of weeks, has not been accomplished.

"Hopefully this will raise the awareness," Rabe said.

The next Red Cross blood drive is scheduled for Oct. 31 at the Armory. Donation appointments can be made by calling Margo Parker at 387-3669.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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