All-County Picnic educates on emergency prep

Posted 8/21/19

With more than 40 interactive booths to cover topics ranging from First Aid, CPR, and emergency food supplies to disaster preparedness, the seventh annual All-County Picnic on Aug. 18 at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum drew attendees for more than just its chimichurri corn on the cob.

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All-County Picnic educates on emergency prep

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With more than 40 interactive booths to cover topics ranging from First Aid, CPR, and emergency food supplies to disaster preparedness, the seventh annual All-County Picnic on Aug. 18 at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum drew attendees for more than just its chimichurri corn on the cob.

Dianna Wiklund, Master Food Preserver with the Washington State University Extension of Jefferson County, reviewed the basics of canning and other methods of food preservation.

Part of the value of canning is that it reduces the oxygen levels to which foods are exposed, which can eliminate many microorganisms, but Wiklund warned that some microorganisms thrive in anaerobic environments.

Temperature is another key factor in food preservation, with Wiklund advising her audience to keep food below 40 degrees or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit to slow microbial growth, since the maximum that temperature-sensitive foods can be kept between those temperatures is two hours.

“If your power goes out, but the food in your freezer still has ice crystals, you should be good,” Wiklund said. “If you re-freeze food, though, the ice crystals can compromise its structure.”

John Crooks, who’s served as coordinator of both the Emergency Operations Center and the Local Emergency Planning Committee for the county’s Community Emergency Response Team, reviewed the essentials of water filtration and purification.

“In an emergency, you need a gallon of water a day, per person,” Crooks said. “If you look at what’s going on in Puerto Rico, a lack of clean water is one of the things that’s really impacting them.”

In Crooks’ tips for boiling water, he noted that the standard requirement of bringing water to a rolling boil for a minute or more should be increased to three minutes for those at altitudes above 5,000 feet, or 1,000 meters.

While Crooks suggested household bleach as another means of disinfecting water when boiling it is not an option, by adding two drops of 6% bleach to 1 quart or liter of water. He warned against using scented or color-safe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners, and said that any bleach older than a year won’t work.

“Welcome back into the world of ham radio,” William McGrath, of the Jefferson County Amateur Radio Club, told Robere Shashinda of Brinnon, as Marie Heins sought to recruit the reporter from The Leader while she was being interviewed.

“It’s a license to learn,” Heins said of the ham operator’s license. “You can get on the air and assist with emergency communications, and you don’t need to know Morse code, or even much more than middle-school math, to be able to do it.”

The Jefferson County ARC was collecting email addresses of those interested in becoming ham radio operators during the All-County Picnic, so that once the ARC had enough names, it could schedule its next training class and licensing test.

“The class is basically a cram session for the test,” Heins said. “Everyone in my class passed the test.”

While ham radio operators can obtain licenses to talk to other people around the world, Heins is more concerned with keeping in touch with her local neighbors in case of a natural disaster or other crisis event.

Registered nurse Sarah Schadler and Bill Hunt, emergency management coordinator for Jefferson Healthcare, demonstrated how to apply bandages to a wound, hang an injured arm in a sling and tie a tourniquet, all while dispensing 30-day pill containers.

“As the county’s Department of Emergency Management has said, if there’s some sort of disaster or other major event, we all need to be able to sustain ourselves for 30 days, on our own,” Hunt said. “What we’re really pushing here, though, is the same ‘Stop the Bleed’ classes we offered to faculty and staff at the Port Townsend and Chimacum schools, because major trauma is one of the leading causes of death, and every little bit that you’re able to staunch the bleeding buys you extra time.”

Hunt and Schadler agreed that most would-be Good Samaritans are too cautious in attempting to treat a wound, so in addition to bolstering their knowledge, Hunt hopes that “Stop the Bleed” classes will help build their confidence.

“If you’re out hiking and you don’t have sterile gauze, you can still use a bandana or a T-shirt to cover a wound,” Schadler said. “You can worry about infections later.”

“If you’re too afraid of doing the wrong thing to act, that’s all the more reason to get trained,” said Hunt, who recommended contacting your local fire department, hospital or Department of Emergency Management to find out when the next classes are to teach you to “Stop the Bleed.”

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