Red Cross volunteers head south

The Hood River Chapter of the American Red Cross has sent five experienced disaster volunteers to help with the relief efforts as a result of last week's storms in the southeastern United States.

Volunteers who have been dispatched to the South are:

Charlotte Valdivia, a logistics specialist with the chapter who has served as primary driver for the chapter emergency response vehicle known as "HARV";

Henry Parle, a member of the technology committee; n Stephanie Powell, a logistics specialist who trained with the chapter shortly after 9/11 and was later assigned to the New York area relief effort;

Lee Davis, a family service specialist who serves as an Armed Forces Emergency caseworker for the local chapter;

Ruth Maionchi, a licensed mental health professional.

"Springtime is the beginning of the tornado season in the Southern U.S. and damage results from both the physical impact of the tornado and the floods that usually accompany the heavy rains that help spawn the tornados," said Interim Chapter Executive Annie Simonds.

More than 3,000 homes have received damage and to-date the Red Cross has opened a total of 28 shelters and served more than 2,000 meals. In addition to the five people the local chapter has sent, three more have been requested.

"When I first started with the chapter, we only had one person who had the training to respond to this type of large-scale disaster," Simonds said. "Now, we have 17 volunteers who can respond to major disasters and the Red Cross average for chapters of our size is four."

To support the work of the American Red Cross, donors can make financial contributions to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013, or to the Hood River Chapter, 1100 E. Marina Way #103, Hood River, OR 97031. Internet users may make secure online credit card contributions by visiting

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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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