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Monday, October 10, 2016

Red Cross Disaster Academy in San Luis Valley

Training material for the SLV disaster academy
Photo by  Ayesha Williams/Red Cross
By Bill Fortune

The American Red Cross of Western Colorado hosted a disaster training academy in Alamosa, CO from Friday, Oct 7 through Sunday, Oct 9. More than 20 volunteers were trained in a variety of topics ranging from managing a disaster response to CPR and AED certification. Bill Werner, the disaster program manager, coordinated the training academy.  "Our goal is to bolster the Red Cross volunteer team in the San Luis Valley so that we can respond when people need us," He said in between training classes. "We need all kinds of people to help us provide the services that people expect from the Red Cross."

Students learn more about sheltering at the SLV
disaster academy. Photo by Vilate Thacker/
Red Cross

The volunteers in the San Luis valley respond regularly to home fires where they provide direct assistance to the people affected. That assistance might be in the form of replacing personal hygiene items, medications, help with temporary lodging or helping them deal emotionally with a loss. The volunteers are also trained to open shelters if needed, provide support to wildland fire activities and provide preparedness education.

Recently, volunteers hosted a class for students in grades 3-5 called The Pillowcase Project. Students learned how to protect themselves and respond to various emergencies. Another important campaign in the Valley is the Home Fire Campaign. Volunteers partner with fire departments and organizations to install free smoke alarms in homes in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires.

If you would like to be part of the Red Cross as a volunteer, anywhere is Colorado, go on line to redcross.org/colorado and click on Volunteer.

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