Volunteers make a big difference to build and maintain a strong community!
Hundreds of volunteers in the SLV train regularly to assist you in your time of need.
The more prepared you are, the more likely it is that you can help out in a disaster instead of being one of the people who need help. Consider joining your local volunteer Fire Department or Emergency Medical Service.
If you are interested in helping out through other local volunteer programs, here are some links to point you in the right direction:
American Red Cross: Apply to be a volunteer on line. If you have questions about local training opportunities call the San Luis Valley Representative: 719-588-5812.
SLV Citizen Corps Council Organizing and planning for disaster response.
Programs include the Community Emergency Response Teams, Neighborhood Watch and Medical Reserve Corps. Contact Sue Davis 719-588-2481.
What is a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)?
What is a Neighborhood Watch program?
San Luis Valley Medical Reserve Corps Medical and non-medical volunteers needed.
Psychological First Aid
Learn Crisis Counseling and Psychological First-Aid
Contact the San Luis Valley Mental Health Center: 719-589-3671
Emergency “Ham” Radio Communications
The value of having emergency radio communication during a disaster cannot be underestimated. The ARES website explains more about this service and has training resources on line. Contact Phil Schechter 719-256-6789 to find out more or to join the KD0QPG Crestone Amateur Radio Emergency Services Club. They provide Emergency Services Coordination and manage a DStar repeater.
Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue Teams in the San Luis Valley can be contacted through your County Sheriff’s Office
Are you interested in becoming a Storm Spotter?
The National Weather Service has two national SKYWARN spotter training modules on COMET's MetEd web site. You must sign up for an account in order to take the training. It’s easy to sign up through the links below! (Select “Weather Enthusiast” under Affiliate Organization.)
The first class is Role of the SKYWARN Spotter which is a one-hour module, providing basic training for all spotters. Through multiple scenarios, procedures for making spotter reports, including communication and storm report criteria, are modeled with best practices for maintaining personal safety outlined.
The second module is SKYWARN Spotter Convective Basics.
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan.
- How would you get to a safe place?
- How would you contact one another and get back together?
Create plans for what you would do in different situations and make checklists to help you. We may not think clearly when frightened or excited and we may forget the basic things we need and want. Practice your plan until you are thoroughly familiar with the procedures you need to follow if the event occurs.
Children and Disasters
Preparing for and Caring for Children in a Disaster
FEMA school and workplace plans.
Fun Weather Experiments for Kids
FEMA: How to counsel kids after a disaster
Coping With a Disaster or Traumatic Event Resources for parents, families, teachers, and schools
Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults
Make an Emergency Evacuation Checklist for Your Family.
Know where you are going. Listen to instructions from official sources. Know two routes out of your neighborhood. If there aren’t two routes make sure you receive timely warnings and plan on evacuating early. “Waiting” can put your life or the lives of first responders in danger!
FEMA Evacuation Planning
Emergency Evacuation Checklist
Family Communication Plan
Download the Ready.gov Family Emergency Plan [PDF]
Print the pages and fill them in offline. Then keep the copies in your home and each car, and give copies to your close friends and family. More formats for the Family Emergency Plan
Before a disaster strikes, make copies of your most important papers and put them in a bag to take with you if you have to evacuate your home. Your important papers might include your home insurance polices, copies of medical records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, deeds, wills, home inventory, etc… You may want to keep copies of these papers at a friend’s house outside your neighborhood.
Pets & Livestock
FEMA Caring for Animals in An Emergency
FEMA [PDF] Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense. Get Ready Now
Keeping your pets safe during disasters
Power Outage/ Blackout
Every household should store several flashlights and the batteries that go with them. Store the batteries outside the flashlights to prevent corrosion.
If the power goes out keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
Home Use devices: How to Prepare for and Handle Power Outages for Medical Devices that Use Electricity [PDF]
What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Food Safety, Carbon Monoxide
Special Needs Individuals
Aiding family members with access and functional needs
Home Safety for Special Needs Kids
Emergency Preparedness Information for People with Disabilities
ASL Videos, Braille and large print documents, many resources
Situational Awareness Tips
- Know how to get information so you can take action to protect yourselfDownload the "Are You Ready" guide
- Make a communication plan for your family and friends
- Keep at least one phone at home that does not require electricity (in case of a power outage)
- Learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and the appropriate ways to respond
- Be aware of the specific needs of your family members
- When you are driving in the Valley scan the roadside ahead of you for wildlife
More Information - In Depth
Alerts & Warnings
In the event of an emergency you need to receive timely and accurate information. Public safety officials will communicate directly to your telephone, through radio and television stations, and sometimes through local sirens, a public address system or door-to-door.
Receive Emergency Alerts
The San Luis Valley E 911 Authority Board has upgraded the San Luis Valley emergency notification system. In an emergency, public safety officials record a message for citizens in a targeted area to receive emergency information and take action to safeguard life and property.
Click here to sign up to receive emergency alert notifications in the San Luis Valley.
Even if you signed up before, you need to sign up again as our carrier changed in October of 2012. We are sorry for this inconvenience. It is easy to sign up using your e-mail address and you can check your home phone number, add your mobile phone, TTY/TDD phones and a number where you can receive SMS text messages! Once you sign up please remember to update your information any time any of your telephone numbers change, or if you move. Please take a few minutes and sign up now!
- Depending on the nature of the emergency, the system may attempt to leave a voicemail if you do not answer.
- If you have a “land-line” – a phone wired into your house, then your home phone number is already in the system.
- Update this information any time your telephone numbers change, or if you move.
- If you do not use e-mail please call Pam at 719-587-6712 to update your emergency contact information. You can leave a message with your name and address and the information you want to add, or just leave me a message and you will get a call back.
- On your mobile/cell phone if you use a “ring tone” (music that plays before your call is answered) the system WILL NOT reach you.
There are three Federal Alert Programs which may work in some areas of the San Luis Valley:
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is a new free service which sends text messages to your mobile device during an emergency in your area. WEA (pronounced “wee”) messages include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice. Many mobile devices, especially older ones, are not WEA-capable. When you buy a new mobile device, it probably will be able to receive WEA messages. (Check with your wireless carrier.) Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message if you enable this feature in your mobile device.
- The Emergency Alert System (EAS) can address the entire nation on very short notice in case of a grave threat or national emergency. These alerts come through both radio and TV stations including KALQ, KRZA and KSLV, Channel 11 Pueblo www.kktv.com and Channel 13 Colorado Springs/Pueblo www.krdotv.com.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide radio network broadcasting continuous weather information to special NOAA weather radio receivers. These special radios can sound a tone or alert when severe weather threatens in your area. Some areas of the valley do not receive this signal.
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Backcountry weather and travel information can be found at the Colorado Avalanche Center. If you are skiing in avalanche country, use a personal emergency beacon.
Here are some hiking and backcountry tips to keep you safe
- Weather conditions can change quickly. Check the local forecasts and if you are traveling above the treeline be sure to watch for storms which often bring life-threatening lightning. Many hikers prefer to hike early and be off the mountains before afternoon storms roll in.
- Be prepared! Take plenty of water, snacks and a first aid kit. Dress for expected and unexpected weather. Know how to build a safe campfire. Even though it will not work in many areas, take your cell phone with you. You might be able to use it in an emergency or rescuers may be able to find you if you have it switched ON.
- Stay within your own abilities.
- Tell someone where you are going and leave a note on your car saying when you expect to return. Include your cell phone number. Include a contact number for a relative.
- Purchase hunting, fishing and hiking stamps. Your purchase supports Search and Rescue Teams in the state.
- Ask local people about the area and route you are taking. Take a good map and a compass (and a GPS unit if you have one).
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Never drive into flowing water! Two feet or less of flowing water can carry your car away. Turn Around Don’t Drown: Select Flooding, and then up on the right side select “Turn Around Don’t Drown”
- Beware of walking into flowing water. Only six inches of flowing water can knock you off your feet. Use a long stick to make sure you are stepping onto firm ground.
- Be careful driving at night when it may be hard to see flood dangers.
- If you are camping near a stream, listen to weather forecasts for storms affecting upstream areas. Move your campsite to higher ground.
- Flash flooding can occur without warning, even on a sunny day, when rains swell waterways upstream.
- Be aware of rising water levels and plan an escape route. Even very small streams and low-lying areas can flood quickly. Move to higher ground - even if it means not getting home right away. Water may rise slowly or quickly.
- Flood waters can carry hidden hazards, gasoline, sewage and disease. Stay out of flood waters unless absolutely necessary.
- Never let your children or pets play near flooded areas or waterways.
- If your home is damaged by flood water get instructions from your local health department regarding mold and food and water safety. Repairing Your Flooded Home
- Electricity and water are a dangerous combination! Be careful.
- Purchase flood insurance if it is available in your area. Check with your insurance agent.
- Store your valuables up high in your home if you live in an area that is at risk of high water.
More Information on Flooding:
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If you suspect that a hazardous material spill or release has occurred, take steps to move UPHILL and UPWIND so you are less likely to be exposed. “Upwind” means moving towards the direction the wind is coming from so that you are not near any hazardous materials or vapors. In any case, do not get closer to the hazardous material! Stay far away! Public safety officials may ask you to “shelter-in-place” (stay where you) are to protect you from exposure. Follow the instructions you are given from the proper authorities. Bring pets inside with you.
More Information on Hazardous Materials In and Around Your Home
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Emergencies aren’t all disasters – more often, little things happen that require the assistance of emergency first responders – an accident, a fire, a gas leak. Prevention is the best strategy to ensure a safe home.
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The terrorism threat for the San Luis Valley is low. Citizen reporting of suspicious circumstances should be made immediately to the Colorado State Patrol Communications Center: Dial 911 or 719-589-5807
When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to give the most accurate description possible, including:
- Brief description of the activity
- Date, time and location of the activity
- Physical identifiers of anyone you observed
- Descriptions of vehicles
- Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone
- Your name and contact information (optional)
Counter-Terrorism Education Learning Lab in Denver
Bioterrorism, Facts About Potential Threats (poster, .pdf)
Bioterrorism in Perspective (poster, .pdf)
Suspicious Packages (.pdf)
Safer Internet Use: How to configure your security settings
Report something to the FBI
Report a suspicious activity directly to the Colorado Information and Analysis Center: Call 1-877-509-2422
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Public Health, Flu, Influenza, Infectious Disease or Pandemic
Information About Seasonal Flu
Information for Pregnant Women, Caring For Loved Ones, Vaccine Awareness
An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that causes serious illness and spreads easily from person to person worldwide. The main difference between “seasonal flu” and a “pandemic flu” is that humans usually have some natural resistance to the seasonal flu. A pandemic flu occurs rarely but when it does even healthy people may be at risk for serious complications. Many people could die. Health care resources could become overwhelmed.
Keep your immune system strong and practice “social distancing” – stay four to six feet away from any person suspected of being ill. Wash your hands often.
Colorado Health Emergency Line for the Public
Colorado’s toll-free hotline for up-to-the-minute public health information
- What to do in public health emergencies
- When and how to provide care at home
- Answers to common questions
- Foreign language translation available
General Safety and Popular Topics US Centers For Disease Control (CDC)
Many Topics Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
Various Emergency Health and Safety Topics
Food, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Information for Use Before and After a Disaster or Emergency
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Road Conditions and Winter Driving
Check winter driving conditions before you go
Dial 511 or 877-315-7623
All about Winter Weather Safety
FEMA: Winter Storms and Extreme Cold – Before, During and After:
What you need in your car with you
If you get stuck in your vehicle in a winter storm:
- Stay in or very near your vehicle – people become disoriented quickly in white-out conditions. Run the engine for about ten minutes every hour for heat. Open the window a little to allow fresh air in to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Make certain the exhaust pipe is not blocked before you run the car.
- Make yourself visible to rescuers – tie a bright cloth to your radio antennae or door. Turn on inside lights when you are running the engine every hour.
- When the weather clears raise you engine hood to indicate that you need help.
- Exercise by moving your arms and legs vigorously from time-to-time to keep blood circulating.
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Weather and Lightning
Severe weather can occur without warning in the high elevation communities in the San Luis Valley.
Sign up for FREE to receive local weather alerts by e-mail
National Weather Service Safety Information on MANY topics
Comprehensive Weather Information: National Weather Service
Severe Weather Stories
National Weather Radar and Forecasts
National Weather Pictures and National Radar Loops
Last 7 Days over 2.5
Space Weather Can affect communications systems
Sign up for space weather alerts to your e-mail
Wind Map of the U.S.
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Due to the geography of the San Luis Valley, much of the area is at risk of catastrophic wildfires. In dry periods, the fire danger is especially high. You can make your home safer by taking steps to clear weeds and debris from around your home and other buildings.
Take a Quiz on Wildfire
Information for Everyone:
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