Healthy Fourth

Don’t misfire this weekend

With most holidays come the inevitable safety risks, and the Fourth of July is no exception. In fact, as the Hood River Fire Department pointed out, this year could pose even greater risks than usual.

Be it with fire or water, anyone planning a party or outing this July Fourth weekend can benefit from a the following safety tips:

According to Fire Marshal Devon Wells, Oregon is facing an extreme fire season this year, and caution should be exercised when celebrating with fireworks.

In any summer outdoor activity, keep a shovel and bucket of water handy, West Side Fire Department has reminded the public for weeks now, via its prominent signboard on Tucker Road. Use the shovel and bucket to quell misfired or spent fireworks.

Fireworks should only be purchased in Oregon if they are to be used in Oregon, and an adult should always be present when using them. Label directions should be followed carefully, and fireworks should be used outdoors and away from dry grass and wooded areas.

Light one at a time and move away quickly. Do not point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings, and keep them away from small children. Do not alter fireworks or attempt to make your own.

For more information about fireworks safety, contact Wells at 386-9458 ext. 12.


Independence Day weekend also means busy rivers and lakes across Oregon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is encouraging the public to practice safety while enjoying their outdoor recreation.

When boating, know the “rules of the road” and check your boat for required safety equipment. For information on Vessel Safety Checks, visit:

Consider the size of the boat, the number of passengers and amount of extra equipment — be careful not to overload the boat. Wear your lifejacket, and leave alcohol behind. Check the weather forecast, and file a float plan with a member of your family or a friend.

Know your state laws, and visit the Coast Guard Federal Regulations governing boating at:

When anchoring, use lines that are five to seven times the depth of the water. Be sure to use a float, and lower the anchor carefully to avoid tangles. Anchor only off the bow.

If you fall into cold water, remember not to discard clothing, which provides warmth that may assist you in fighting hypothermia. Wear a life jacket at all times when near water, and never rely on toys like inner tubes and water wings to keep you afloat.

Swim in designated areas and never alone. Reach or throw, but don’t venture into the water to help someone in trouble.

Finally, never dive into lakes and rivers, which hide rock outcrops and shallow water. Keep an eye on small children, and if you plan to have fun near or in the water, don’t drink alcohol, which accounts for over half of all drowning fatalities.

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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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