HAHRC BEATS: Have a safe summer by the water

We live in an area surrounded by beautiful water.

When the weather is warm, people are drawn to the water to cool off, splash around and swim— regardless of whether they know how to swim.

Here are some tips to help you have a safe and fun summer by the water:

Learn to swim! Learning to swim can help you to stay safe.

Drowning is the leading killer of American children, and can be prevented.

Swimming offers a full-body workout without any joint impact. It helps to build muscle and make your heart stronger. It can help people with arthritis or overuse injuries to relieve stiff joints and muscles.

It improves mood in both men and women.

Always swim with a buddy. Swim in safe areas marked for swimming, and follow the rules for that area.

Pay attention to any possible hazards, such as depth changes, currents and any hidden obstructions.

Always enter water feet-first.

Know your limits and the limits of your children and set rules based on those ability levels. For example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in shallow water, and they should wear an appropriately sized lifejacket.

Use common sense and avoid swimming in bad weather or water that is too cold.

Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District offers swim lessons for all ages in group or private lessons. Call the Aquatic Center at 541-386-1303, or visit www.hoodriverparksandrec.org for times.


What should you do if someone gets in trouble in the water and becomes a distressed swimmer?

If a lifeguard is present, alert him or her.

If no lifeguard is present, call an adult to help.

If you are alone with the person, reach or throw something to help. But don’t go in because it could put you in danger as well. There are many things that might be appropriate to use to help save a life, such as a noodle, lifejacket, stick or pole, rope, cooler or ball.

If you want to train to be a certified lifeguard, American Red Cross lifeguard training is also available at the Aquatic Center (541-386-1303).

Be safe out there by the water. Have fun, and make sure to wear your sunscreen!


Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. It promotes wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change. HAHRC provides a monthly column for Mind, Body, Spirit.

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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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