First Responder Training Offered

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Ever since the Rodeo-Chediski Fire of 2002, a core group of volunteers has worked to provide the Rim Country with a local Red Cross team.

What began with six members has grown to over 50 in less than four years.

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Unit Coordinator Roxey Bowers and Carol Flowers, volunteer coordinator for the Grand Canyon chapter of the Red Cross, prepare supplies for disaster relief.

"We are community oriented for the Rim Country -- not only Payson, but Pine, Strawberry, Young, down to Roosevelt and all areas in between," said Roxey Bowers Rim Country Red Cross coordinator.

"In a nutshell, we have a goal to double our volunteers (to about 100) by the end of this year," said Lew Levenson, local government liaison and trainer. "More than just numbers, we need volunteers spread throughout the 1200 square mile Rim Country service area."

"As the Rim Country Unit continues to develop their capacity to address larger emergencies, their goal is to be able to initiate shelters capable of serving 20 to 40 evacuees from their immediate neighboring area.

The impacted area would provide startup staffing, to be reinforced by other Rim Country volunteers coming in for different days and shifts.

March is National Red Cross Month and although training is ongoing, for the next few Saturdays, core classes for disaster operations are being offered.

Walk-ins are accepted at the discretion of the instructor based on class size or visual aids/handouts availability, but prior contact with the instructor is strongly suggested. Clothing should be comfortable and appropriate to the season for every training.

"Bring an open, inquiring mind, ready to absorb information, raise questions, and contribute to the overall class experience," said Levenson.

Even if somebody is not a "people person," the Unit can find tasks that make the best use of a volunteer's skills and interests while acknowledging physical challenges.

At least half of the current volunteers limit their activity to the mass care/shelter situation.

The other volunteers provide Disaster Action Team coverage in conjunction with their local fire district.

For more information, call (928) 472-7294.

Red Cross First Responder Classes

Mass Care and Shelter Operations

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 4

Where: Payson Police Department training room

Disaster Action Teams

When: 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. March 11

Where: Pioneer Title Conference Room

Family Service in Disaster

When: 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. March 18

Where: Payson Police Department training room

Logistics Overview and Simulation

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 1

Where: Payson Public Library

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