Police focus on motorist safety

Hood River City Police will be on the look out for travelers who don't buckle up during a six-day safety blitz that begins on Feb. 11.

"We feel every motorist should have the opportunity to have a future," said Lieutenant Jerry Brown.

City officers will join state and county law enforcement officials in the first of three annual crackdowns that will take place from Feb. 11-16. Their goal is to bring Hood River's compliance rate up to 92 percent, slightly higher than the state average.

According to Oregon State Police (OSP) reports, Oregon is currently ranked number two in the nation for seatbelt usage, second only to California. Brown said, based on tickets issued during the 2001 enforcement actions, motorists using seat belts in Hood River jumped from 63 percent at the start of the year to 87 percent.

According to the OSP, since a Safety Belt Diversion program was implemented last August, more than 860 people have been educated about the importance of using safety harnesses. Under that program first time offenders can have their citation waived by paying to attend a special class.

During the heightened alert, police will also be watching for violators of Oregon's new law that requires booster seats for children between the ages of four and six, regardless of weight, and children between 40 and 60 pounds, regardless of age.

Last year, funds collected through the local seat belt diversion program were used to provide more than 200 child seats to low-income families in Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman and Wasco counties.

The National SAFE KIDS Campaign urges parents to buckle children of all ages in the back seat where they are out of reach of airbags.

In addition, they warn that children over 60 pounds who are no longer in a booster seat should not to place shoulder belts behind their backs. SAFE KIDS said lap and shoulder belts should fit low over hips and upper thighs and snug under the shoulder to provide maximum safety benefits.

In addition to the seat belt and booster seat enforcement, Hood River officers will also be extra vigilant for DUII offenders on Saturday Feb. 9 and one week later on Feb. 16.

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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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