Young hero: What did Julisa Ramirez know that we all should know?

As they say, “Out of the mouths of babes …”

Julisa Ramirez, 8, screamed “Mom, fire!” on March 17 and saved three lives plus her own when she did this and also told her family to go to their outdoor “safe place.”

This Parkdale second-grader provides lessons for us all, and Parkdale’s Mike McCafferty has reason to be the proudest fire chief in Oregon: He presented Julisa with the department’s first-ever Hero Award (article, page A1) and got his volunteers together to present Julisa with teddy bears to replace the one she lost in the fire.

McCafferty knows that there can be a real impact from the fire prevention and response education that his department, and all others in the valley, provides to school children.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Ted Megert attended the assembly and read a letter of commendation from State Marshal Mark Wallace, which read, “The Oregon office of State Fire Marshal commends you for your lifesaving actions on March 17, 2013, when you bravely remembered your fire safety training and put into action resulting in saving the lives of your parents and 1-year-old sister.

“In recognition of your initiative, bravery and action the office hereby awards you this certificate of commendation.”


Julisa Ramirez learned about the “safe place” four years ago, as a preschooler, and the family talked about it and made it a part of their awareness. That foresight paid off.

Statewide in 2012 there were no child deaths due to fire, according to Wallace’s office. It’s the first time that has happened since ODFM started keeping track.

That statistic, and Julisa’s quick thinking, leads to the question we can all ask: Will we know what to say and do when fire hits our home or business?

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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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