Hood River and Parkdale Fire receive training funds


News staff writer

December 27, 2006

Two of Hood River County’s fire departments have received grants for training through the efforts of Rep. Greg Walden.

“I’m always pleased to see responsible federal investments being made for public services in our communities,” Walden said.

The Parkdale Rural Fire Protection District received a $19,413 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Dec. 20, which it will use to develop new training programs and acquire curriculum resources. Those materials will help Parkdale firefighters and integrate with training efforts by bordering districts and departments.

Parkdale Fire Chief Mike McCafferty said the grant helps his department with developing more realistic training programs based on actual situations.

“The grant will help the department considerably to make advancements, particularly since our training budget is otherwise just $5,000,” he said.

In November, the Hood River Fire Department received a $26,514 grant through the same program of the Department of Homeland Security. Hood River will use its funds to help the department develop training and fitness programs. Assistant Chief Devon Wells said the money assists Hood River on keeping programs current for firefighters’ fitness.

“Cardiovascular problems are the leading causes of fatality among firefighters,” Wells said. “This grant-funded program enables the department to promote each firefighter’s health and have an immeasurable impact on safety.”

The federal program that funds the grants is designed to help both local firefighters and emergency response personnel with their needs, including training and other resources such as equipment or vehicles.

Both McCafferty and Wells said Walden’s support of their program over the years has been helpful to the fire departments.

“I really appreciate all of Congressman Walden’s longstanding support,” McCafferty said. “It has made a big difference to our efforts.”

Walden wrote in April 2006 to the DHS headquarters in support of both applications.

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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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