Garfield County Health District


To report a public health emergency or a notifiable condition, please call Garfield County Health District: (509) 843-3412.

After hours call the Sheriff's Office: (509) 843-3494

Contact Information:                                Hours:

121 South 10th St.                                            Mon.-Friday: 8:00-12:00pm
P.O. Box 130                                                                       1:00-4:00pm
Pomeroy WA 99347
email us at:

Health Alerts and Advisories

Vaccines Required for School Attendance

Is Your Child's Backpack Too Big, Too Heavy?

Facts About Backpacks

Used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry all the books, supplies, and personal items needed for a typical school day. Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body's strongest muscles. However, backpacks that are too heavy or carried incorrectly can injure muscles or joints and contribute to back pain and problems.

The Proper Backpack is:

  • Worn no higher than the user's chest.
  • Worn no higher than the base of the neck.
  • Worn no lower thean 2 to 4 inches below the waist.
  • Supported by a waist or chest strap.
  • Made of lightweight material.

A Good Backpack has:

  • A padded back.
  • Several compartments.
  • Side compression straps.
  • A waist or chest strap.
  • Reflectors.
  • Two wide, padded shoulder straps.

How to Use a Backpack

To Load it:

  • Keep it light - pack only what is needed for the day.
  • Place the heaviest objects so they will be closest to your back.
  • Use compartments to distribute the weight and keep things from sliding.
  • Hand-carry heavy books to avoid excessive weight in the backpack.
  • Clean it our daily.

To Wear it:

  • Facing the backpack, bend your knees, hold the packpack with both hands and straighten your knees to lift it to waist height.
  • Apply one shoulder strap at a time.
  • Always use both shoulder straps.
  • Snugly adjust it between your neck and the curves of your lower back using the shoulder straps (the closer the backpack is to your body, the less strain it will cause).

Backpack Weight:

If a backpack forces the wearer to lean forward, it's overloaded and some items should be removed. Carrying an overloaded backpack can cause discomfort and, over time, lead to back problems and other problems.

If the backpack weighs more than 15 percent of the carrier's weight, it's too heavy. To determine the proper maximum weight for a backpack, multiply the user's body weight by 0.15. If a heavier load is unavoidable, consider using a backpack with wheels.

Carrying too much weight or wearing a backpack the wrong way can lead to:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Poor posture
  • Painful shoulders
  • Back and neck pain.
  • Injuring from tripping and falling

For more tips on the perfect backpack for your child, visit Shriners Hospitals for Children website at

Our Mission

We are committed to professional, caring services that motivate individuals to a higher level of physical, mental, and environmental health awareness and responsibility.

Roles of Public Health

  • Monitor health status to identify community health problems.
  • Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
  • Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  • Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
  • Assure a competent public health and personal health care workforce.
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
  • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

 Public Health and Safety Laws

For more on Public Health and Safety Laws click here.