Red Cross volunteers aid fire relief

Henry and Cynthia Parle, Charlotte Valdivia, Ken Mattox, Nick Denton and Susan Hoffman, RN, all affiliated with the Hood River Chapter of the American Red Cross and national disaster responders, provided service this past weekend at a shelter set up at St. Mary’s Academy in The Dalles, and at the statewide Red Cross fire relief operations headquarters.

Red Cross shelters are open throughout the state in support of both voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders and the relief operation is being managed as a Red Cross national disaster relief operation with a headquarters location in Bend.

Henry and Cynthia Parle have been working at the St. Mary’s shelter in The Dalles since it was opened last week. This is Henry’s third national disaster relief operation assignment this year and he had most recently been assigned to the Illinois flood recovery operation in May. Cynthia Parle has served on multiple national relief operations and has experience in damage assessment, records and reports and family services.

Charlotte Valdivia is assigned to logistical support to The Dalles relief operations and among other things, Charlotte will be delivering meals in the ERV to the shelter, firefighters, and relief workers during her assignment. Charlotte’s most recent Red Cross national disaster assignment was in connection with Arizona fires and has only been home from that assignment for one week.

Ken Mattox has been working at the St. Mary’s Shelter this past week. Ken came to the Red Cross as a volunteer as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and has seen service in New York during the relief effort and most recently with the Kansas City ice storms last winter.

Nick Denton, one of the chapter’s most experienced members, is a logistics officer for the statewide relief effort and has been assigned to the Bend headquarters location. Nick has served with both the International Red Cross in places such as Albania and India, and with the American Red Cross in more than 25 national disaster relief assignments serving over 700 days on assignment since 1994.

Susan Hoffman, RN, has been involved in over 25 Red Cross disaster relief operations since 1994 including two separate assignments to New York in connection with 9/11. Corey Nygaard, a former Hood River chapter volunteer, who is now a full time disaster director with the Mid-Valley, Oregon, chapter of the Red Cross is also serving with the local relief effort in The Dalles.

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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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