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"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
– Edward Abbey  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 9 September 2019  

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  Ambulance updates and emergency preparedness
  By Robin Widmar

   Ambulance service updates
   Falcon Fire Protection District personnel are continuing to work diligently on implementing the district’s Advanced Life Support ambulance transport service. Delivery of two four-wheel drive ambulances is expected in October following a manufacturing delay. Required licenses and certifications are being or have been obtained. Polices and procedures are being drafted and finalized. Transport service is expected to begin by the end of 2019.
   
   September is National Preparedness Month
   El Paso County has seen its share of natural disasters and emergencies in recent years, ranging from wildfires to flash floods to blizzards. Successfully preparing for disasters goes beyond stockpiles of food and water, however. It is also about having a preparedness mindset.
   
   September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.” Preparing a family for a serious emergency can be a daunting prospect, especially for those with small children, elderly people or special needs family members. But planning for the unexpected does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. Enlist the entire family to help so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency. Break the project into smaller chunks by completing a few tasks every week.
   
   Here are some suggestions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For complete lists, go to: https://ready.gov/september
   
   Sept. 1-7: Save early for disaster costs
  • Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does not cover flood damage. Learn more about flood insurance at https://FloodSmart.gov
  • Snap photos of important documents and personal belongings to help with insurance claims.
  • Keep some cash on hand in case of emergencies, since ATMs and credit card readers won’t always be available. Cash can help pay for immediate expenses like lodging, food and gas: https://ready.gov/financial-preparedness

   
   Sept. 8-14: Make a plan
  • Make an emergency plan today and practice it: https://ready.gov/plan
  • Practice evacuating animals so they are familiar with the process when it is time to evacuate.
  • Learn how to turn off residential utilities such as natural gas, water, and electricity: https://ready.gov/safety-skills
  • Be prepared for extended power outages by having enough food, water, and medications to last for at least 72 hours: https://ready.gov/kit

   
   Sept.15-21: Youth preparedness
  • Teach children what to do in an emergency if they are at home or away from home. https://ready.gov/kids
  • Have a family meeting to review emergency communications plans with the kids.
  • Get children involved in building their own emergency kit: https://ready.gov/kids/build-a-kit

   
   Sept. 22-30: Get involved in community preparedness
  • Community Emergency Response Teams train volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face. For more information on the Pikes Peak CERT and upcoming classes, go to https://publicworks.elpasoco.com/office-emergency-management/cert/
  • Take classes in lifesaving skills such as CPR/AED and first aid.
  • Check in with neighbors to see how everyone can help each other before and after a storm.

   
   Register for emergency alerts
   Part of being prepared for an emergency is knowing when one is occurring. The El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority’s Emergency Notification System issues alerts for evacuations and other emergencies, but residents must be registered to receive them. (These notifications are different from other alerts such as Amber alerts or severe weather messages received on mobile phones.)
   
   To register for emergency alerts through the ENS, go to https://elpasoteller911.org/ and click on the button labeled “Sign Up for Notifications.” New users may create an account and specify their preferred means of receiving alerts. Users can also designate different locations (home, work or school; for example) for which they would like to receive notifications.
   
   Users already registered should periodically log in to verify or update the information on file. Anyone who signed up prior to July 2013 may need to create a new account due to system upgrades. Go to the link above and click on the button labeled “Login to Edit Your Account.”
  
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  Safety Tip
  Drive safely around school buses
  By Robin Widmar

   A recent video shared on local Falcon community Facebook pages shows a driver speeding past a D 49 school bus that was stopped with its warning lights and stop sign activated. Comments about the video indicate that this dangerous –- and illegal –- behavior happens more than people might think.
   
   According to the Colorado Drivers Handbook, drivers are required to stop their vehicles at least 20 feet before reaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing, whether it is on the driver’s side of the road, the opposite side of the road or at an intersection the driver is approaching. Colorado law (CRS 42-4-1903) also requires drivers to stop for school buses loading or unloading passengers, even if those vehicles are not required to be equipped with visual warning devices.
   
   Drivers must remain stopped until the flashing red lights are no longer operating. Drivers are not required to stop if the school bus is in the opposite travel lanes of a roadway that is separated by a median or other physical barrier.
   
   Violating school bus traffic laws is considered a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor offense. Drivers can be fined up to $300 and/or face jail time in addition to losing points on a driver's license. A second offense within a five-year period can result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment.
   
   The Drive Smart Colorado website offers additional safety tips when driving in neighborhoods with school zones:
  • Watch for children traveling to or from school. Children can be unpredictable in their actions, so drivers must anticipate and prepare to react to what they may do.
  • Drive slowly and watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
  • Watch for children playing and gathering near school bus stops.

   Stay connected with the FFPD
   Website: http://www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
   NextDoor.com
  
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