Keeping Pace: More opportunities for helping our children

Two items are worth appending to our Aug. 30 editorial on child safety, “Fall Pace,” which mentioned the Oct. 5 Family Safety Day organized by local fire departments.

Coming sooner, on Sept. 14, is the American Red Cross “Get Ready Day” at Hood River Fire Department, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We’ll have full details in the Weekend edition, but what’s notable about the event is that the first 100 families to attend will receive free Red Cross emergency kits. Also planned are safety demonstrations, kids’ activities, and materials from local emergency groups, as well as refreshments. There is no need to register: attendees can just show up.


The sad fact is that many kids are without parents who are in a position to bring them to a forward-looking event such as “Get Ready” of “Family Safety Day.”

Some parents are embroiled in legal troubles, or the kids are secondarily victimized either in custody disputes or adjudication of their parents’ alleged criminal behavior.

If you’re in a position to commit to assisting children caught up in these realities, CASA might be for you. CASA volunteers are trained to look out for the interests of children when they or their families become involved in the court system.

Court Appointed Special Advocates plans an informal informational session Sept. 10 in Hood River; turn to page A2 for details.

With CASA there are time commitments for training and the actual service itself, but it’s a program with a proven record of improving children’s lives. CASA volunteers make a difference in the safety as well as peace of mind of children who have been through traumatic experiences.

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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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