Atusa Baghery and Jim Johnsen: Disaster training

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The Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder County last year forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 residents, destroyed about 170 structures and burned almost 6,200 acres. Many were involved in the relief efforts, including the Medical Reserve Corps of Boulder County. The Medical Reserve Corps volunteers escorted victims to find services, permits and information about site cleanup. They assisted with a tetanus clinic for returning homeowners. Moreover, during long-term recovery efforts, they conducted intake interviews with fire victims utilizing their psychological first aid training.

Northwest Colorado also has a Medical Reserve Corps unit, the Northwest Colorado Volunteer Reserves. We are committed to being prepared for any incidents that might affect our community. The Visiting Nurse Association manages our organization, and we invite you to join us in making our reserves a strong and valuable asset for our Northwest Colorado community. Whether you have one hour per month to volunteer, or you want to take on a more involved and active role, we want you on our team.

There are many benefits to joining, including:

■ Free trainings that include CPR/first aid, disaster behavioral health, Incident Command System, local emergency and health procedures, trauma response techniques and the use of specialized equipment

■ Participation in emergency preparedness exercises, events and drills

■ Helping our community with public health initiatives including child obesity prevention, health promotion campaigns and vaccination clinics

■ A great networking opportunity

■ Ensuring our community is prepared for wildfires, floods and other emergencies

All are welcome to attend a free presentation and training from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 24 at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. We will have speakers talk about their personal experience and expertise responding to incidents like wildfires that required the use of the Incident Command System. Jim Johnsen, the all hazards training coordinator for Northwest Colorado, will train you for activation and deployment so you can respond to declared disasters in our community. You also will learn the necessary steps to become alertable through the Colorado Volunteer Mobilizer. We can answer any questions you have about volunteering for the organization. We will provide food and refreshments. RSVP to Atusa Baghery by calling 970-871-7648 by March 17.

Our organization continues to be an important asset for protecting our community, and we need to be prepared. If you are interested in volunteering or you just want to learn more, contact us and join us at our free training.

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