Local Red Cross chapter announces statewide `Prepare Oregon' campaign

HOOD RIVER -- All fifteen Red Cross chapters in Oregon, along with government officials and community leaders, have announced plans to "Prepare Oregon," a major effort designed to help Oregonians be prepared for an emergency or disaster.

According to local Red Cross officials, whether it's floods, earthquakes, fires, storms or unexpected for the unexpected, whether it's a multiple day power outage or terrorist attack, Oregon faces a number of potential emergencies and the time is now for all citizens to be better prepared. Recent research conducted on behalf of the Oregon Trail Chapter has demonstrated that only one in seven Oregonians feel prepared for a disaster or emergency.

Red Cross officials say because disaster preparedness is vital to the health and well-being of Oregonians, Prepare Oregon will the top priority for the local Red Cross this year.

"The more prepared citizens are, the better job they can do stabilizing their family, coping with and responding to a disaster," said Annie Simonds, interim executive director of the Hood River Chapter. "The likelihood of an emergency happening is not a question of if, it's a matter of when. As a state, the lives and well-being of our families, friends and neighbors depend on how prepared we are."

The local Red Cross has enlisted former Senator Mark O. Hatfield as honorary spokesperson for the "Prepare Oregon" effort. The Red Cross also is teaming up with the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, the Oregon Emergency Management Division and Oregon's Partners for Disaster Resistance to help Oregonians be better prepared.

To Prepare Oregon, local Red Cross chapters are asking all Oregon families and citizens to take three immediate steps, including:

1. Building a disaster supplies kit (please see sidebar);

2. Making a family emergency plan;

3. Getting trained in CPR and First Aid.

Specific how-to information about how to build a kit, make a plan and get trained can be found on the Prepare Oregon Web site at:

www.PrepareForLife.org

Local chapters offer free information, guidelines and advice for disaster preparedness. The Oregon Trail chapter also provides community disaster education programs, ready made disaster supplies kits and online CPR courses.

Prepare Oregon campaign information and information on the Web site also will be available in Spanish. The local Red Cross also will be reaching out to local and community officials to partner together on the Prepare Oregon effort. Exploring new ways to get information into the hands of all Oregon families to help them be better prepared also will be a top priority for local chapters.

"This year has shown us that everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected," said Simonds. "When it comes to saving your own life and the ones you love, there's no better insurance policy than being prepared. Taking these three simple steps will make a world of difference for how prepared Oregonians are, should a disaster strike." The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers, that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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