HAHRC Beats: ‘Change is in our air’

By BELINDA BALLAH

Tobacco prevention specialist

There is a growing move toward protecting our air that we breathe from toxins that are known to cause cancer. In an effort to do this, you may be noticing more signage around our community that promotes healthy living. Within the last six months, Hood River County facilities, parks and forests have gone tobacco- and smoke-free, along with the Parks and Recreation District, the Library District, Mt. Hood Town Hall, the Power Station and all Hood River Chamber events.

By tobacco- and smoke-free policies being adopted, not only are we protecting our air but we are also protecting our youth. We as a community are making the statement that tobacco use is not the norm.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, at current rates 74,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Oregon will die prematurely from smoking. The younger someone starts, the harder it is for them to quit.

Our youth are not the only ones that are affected by tobacco. Nine percent of adults in Hood River County regularly smoke cigarettes, according to the Oregon Health Authority. This may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that $6 million is spent on medical care due to tobacco use, 32 people have died in the last year from tobacco and 620 people suffer from a serious illness caused by tobacco, it is simply too high (Oregon Health Authority, County Fact Sheet 2013).

We in Hood River County are moving in the correct direction to protect our community from tobacco. There is still more that needs to be done and you can be a part of this effort.

If you are a business that wishes to adopt a tobacco smoke-free policy or if you would like to strengthen a policy that already exists, contact Belinda Ballah, tobacco prevention specialist, at belinda.ballah@co.hood-river.or.us or call 541-387-6890.

If you are a current tobacco user and would like information on tobacco cessation, the Quit Line is available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-877-2NO-FUME).

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Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. We promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change. Its next meeting is Jan. 28, 11:30 a.m. at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.

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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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