Safe keeping: Preparedness, among families or agencies, is a year-round thing

Spring in to safety.

The start of the new season underscores a variety of points about public as well as private safety.

With the (promise of) warmer weather in the coming week, and no school in session for spring break, young people will be out and about in greater numbers throughout the day.

We hope, for the sake of their overall wellness, that the kids get some active outside time. But with that comes greater exposure to things such vehicle traffic.

Combined with the reality of frigid temperatures persisting at times and places in the valley, it’s good to stay vigilant for young pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders as they get out and about during their week’s vacation.

This leads to the matter of the annual children’s safety fair, March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at Jackson Park. (See KidSpace, page A10, for details.)

The event, dovetailing with the community Easter Egg Hunt, is a great opportunity for families to have fun and learn safety tips at the same time.

There will be swag — stickers, pencils and even bicycle helmets — and the chance to meet some of the firefighters and other people who work hard to keep the community safe.


On that note, kudos to the volunteer and paid individuals who collaborated in Thursday’s emergency services drill. Nurses and paramedics, law enforcement, public works crews, American Radio Emergency Services operators and many others, including “victim” volunteers, were involved.

The event was a broad-based test of the ability of agencies to work together and maximize resources in times of large-scale trauma and emergency. It’s part of an ongoing process of preparation that local agencies seem to be taking seriously.

The next steps will be to take the feedback from the evaluators and continue to review procedures in order to make emergency management run as smooth as possible. But under guidance of county officials, including Emergency Services Manager Karl Tesch, the spirit of cooperation is alive and well.

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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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