Category Archives: Health and Safety



Get immunizations updated before School Exclusion Day on Feb. 20

Parents must provide schools, child care facilities with kids’ vaccine records

Portland, Ore. – Feb. 20 is School Exclusion Day, and the Oregon Immunization Program is reminding parents that children will not be able to attend school or child care starting that day if their records on file show missing immunizations.

Under state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations, or have an exemption.

“This year’s School Exclusion Day reminder has taken on added urgency as the Pacific Northwest confronts the worst preventable measles outbreak in more than two decades,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “Immunizations are the most effective way to stop the spread of measles and other communicable diseases that put children and others at risk.”

If school and child care vaccination records are not up-to-date on Feb. 20, the child will be sent home.In 2018 local health departments sent 24,725 letters to parents and guardians informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care. A total of 4,349 children were kept out of school or child care until the necessary immunization information was turned in to the schools or child care facilities. This year letters to parents were mailed on or before Feb. 6.

Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department, or call 211Info—just dial 211 or go to No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines. Many pharmacists can immunize children 7 and older; contact your neighborhood pharmacy for details.

Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website at Follow the Oregon Immunization Program on Facebook.



During the upcoming holidays, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is reminding Oregonians to keep fire safety in mind when cooking and preparing holiday meals.

Cooking was the leading cause of residential structure fires over the past five years (2013-2017), causing an average of 19% of Oregon’s total residential structure fires.  On average, there are 533 cooking-caused residential structure fires per year.

“By following a few fire prevention and safety tips, you can help keep your family safer from the dangers of fire this holiday season. “ says Walker.

Cooking safety tips:

Keep a close eye on what you are cooking, heat cooking oil slowly, and never leave cooking food unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen, turn off the stove or set a timer.

Have a “kid and pet-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.

Keep pot and pan handles turned inward on the stove to avoid bumping them and spilling hot food.

If you have a cooking fire:

Always keep a lid nearby to smother small fires. Smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and don’t move the pan until it is completely cool.

Never pour water on a grease fire; it can splatter the grease and spread the fire.

When in doubt, get out! Call 9-1-1 after you leave.

Turkey fryer safety:

The OSFM discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil. The use of deep fat turkey fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and the destruction of property.

The OSFM urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out a professional establishment, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants, for the preparation of the dish, or consider an “oil-less” turkey fryer.

For more information on cooking safety, visit:

For more information on general home fire safety, visit:

Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.

Emergency Prep Guest Column 10-19-18

In This Segment: Financial Readiness

Disaster victims at all levels face the same challenges when it’s time to rebuild after a disaster or emergency.  Sooner or later the dealing with the issue of finances and managing your personal affairs will need to be addressed.  Having your personal financial, medical, and insurance records organized before disaster strikes will  take off a load of stress when you rebuild after the big event.

FEMA’s website,, offers the following tips for dealing with the business end of a disaster:

Gather all your crucial financial, legal, personal and medical information.  This can mean scanning copies of your insurance policies, vehicle titles, divorce or child custody papers and storing the copies electronically to a flash drive or on on the cloud in an environment you can access from a different computer.  Sometimes it’s just important (and simple) to be able to provide a policy number.

Put aside some cash at home.  Disasters routinely disable ATMs or any means of using a debit or credit card.  Having cash on hand in the form of small bills can help make those necessary fuel, food or supply purchases.  How much cash you tuck away depends on your personal situation.  If you can manage more, tuck away more.  Make sure you save small bills and (I shouldn’t have to mention this, but) keep it confidential.

If you don’t have it, get insurance.  Homeowners, renters, health and life insurance will all help with the process of recovery.  If you already have insurance, be sure to review your policies so you are comfortable with the amount and extent of coverage you have in place.  If you have trouble understanding your policy, go see your insurance agent.  It’s his job to make sure you understand your policies.  That’s one reason you pay those premiums every month.  Also note most homeowners policies do not cover flood damage, so you may need to purchase additional flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program if you live in a potential flood zone.

Here are a few random items you may want to consider.  Veterans, make sure you have a copy (originals are better) of your DD214.  Photos or scanned copies of social security cards, birth certificates, passports, car titles, photo IDs for family members and mortgage information.  The list goes on and on.  Just ask anyone who has lost everything in a house fire how many things there are to replace and you’ll understand your life will be so much easier if you have planned ahead and followed this advice.

If you receive retirement checks through the mail, now would be a good time to have those deposited directly.  If the U.S. Mail isn’t running and you can’t get your check, at least it will be in your bank account on a hassle-free basis.  If you are one of those that doesn’t trust direct deposit, get over it.  I have been having my paychecks and now social security checks directly deposited for 35 years and I have never missed a beat.  It makes things really simple when you’re out of town or can’t get to the bank for some reason.  The deposit has already been made for you.  I can remember delaying travel plans for the simple reason I had to wait for the check to come so I could get it in the bank.  No more.  The twenty-first century is upon us folks, might as well get updated.

Planning your financial well-being isn’t as exciting as buying supplies or even a new gun, but having your stuff together will make you a real hero when the time comes to rebuild after a disaster.

As always email your questions and comments to  Older columns can be found on my blog at  Dave Robinson is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.

SAR Teaches Kids to Stay Safe if Lost


MEDFORD, Ore. – Jackson County Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers are working to educate and empower children who may find themselves lost or separated from their families.  On Wednesday, October 17, 2018, volunteers will present the popular “Lost But Found” program to students at LOGOS Public Charter School, 400 Earhart Street.

The “Lost But Found” program is designed to teach kids simple survival skills to use in the event they become lost.  The presentation will include a SAR K9 demonstration.

SAR volunteers are available to provide the free training to schools, community organizations, and other groups.  Call SAR at (541) 864-8830 to schedule a presentation.

For more information on the Lost But Found program, follow this link: .

State Fire Marshal Urges you to Test Your Smoke Alarms When Turning Your Clock Forward


Sunday, March 11th, marks the beginning of daylight saving time and serves as a good reminder for Oregonians to test their smoke alarms. The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before automatically changing the batteries.

“Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with 10-year batteries and some are tamper-resistant,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “So, I encourage residents to test their alarms before changing the battery, and to be sure to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older.”

Oregon law requires ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered to come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery. Because of this technology, the national slogan

“Change your clock, Change your battery” may not apply to Oregon residents who have these ionization-only smoke alarms.

Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a 10-year battery or a standard-life battery.

“Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family’s safety from a home fire,” adds Walker.

To test your alarm properly we recommend you:
1) Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.
2) When replacing batteries, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct battery type to use.
3) Always retest alarms after installing new batteries.
4) Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.
5) Inspect your alarms to determine if they are 10 years old or older, and replace any smoke alarm
10 years old or older. Look for a date on the back of the alarm. If there is no date, your alarm is more than 10 years old and should be replaced.
6) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regularly cleaning your alarms of dust and cobwebs.

Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, which increase your chances of survival. Additional safety tips:
* Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area (hallway).
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* Use the smoke alarm’s hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
* Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with family members.
* Practice you home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
* Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them.

Press Release from Oregon State fire marshal