City firefighters net large grant

Hood River firefighters will soon be operating even more safely and efficiently — thanks to a sizable federal grant.

The city department is slated to receive $255,000 from the Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The local department is one of 6,400 across the nation that have received almost $478 million in funding allocated for Homeland Security. The money is intended to support the role of the first responder in the neighborhoods and communities where they serve either as paid staff or volunteers.

Hood River Fire Capt. Clay McCrea said the federal dollars will have a 10 percent local match of $28,367. He said the top priority for $189,000 of the funding is to replace 25 of the aging self-contained breathing apparatus packs and accessories. That equipment was given to the department last year when Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue received grant funds to purchase new gear.

In addition, he said $65,000 will be used to install a system to vent exhaust fumes from the station when engines are idling. Another $25,000 will be used to replace a deteriorating sprinkler system inside the buildings and $5,500 will be spent on a new machine to clean smoke-inundated turnouts. The final $7,500 will be added to existing funds for the purchase of portable radios for use by the 18 volunteers and 15 paid firefighters.

“This money definitely comes at a good time, a lot of our equipment is outdated and now can be replaced — it’s not very often that you get a quarter of a million dollars given to you,” McCrea said.

On Sunday, Fire Chief Don Petito will also receive $3,000 from the Hood River Lions Club to buy personal protective equipment for his crew. The latest grant awards follow $28,000 of federal money in 2002 for turnouts and a new tank for the brush truck and $11,700 in 2001 for equipment to aid in the battle against wildland fires.

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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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