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City gets ready for security threats

— No community, no matter how small, should forego preparedness in the face of so many threats to the nation’s security and political instability overseas.

That is the message of a veteran first-responder from Ohio, who will explain in a forum Tuesday how a town the size of Steamboat Springs can learn from New York City’s reaction to 9/11 and the measures it has taken to prepare for a similar event.

Mike Bahun is a former police officer, emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter. He put together an emergency safety preparedness plan for the General Motors plant in his hometown of Kettering, Ohio. He currently serves on the Kettering City Council and on the National League of Cities Homeland Security Task Force, a 22-person organization of mayors and city council members from across the country.



He is coming to Steamboat Springs Tuesday to share his knowledge of preparedness and responding to natural disasters and manmade emergencies.

His presentation is not only for people who respond to emergencies in the county, but also for residents who want to know more about those agencies’ roles, should terrorism hit home.



Bahun has carried his message to various civic and governmental organizations.

“Preparedness is the name of the game,” he said.

He stresses the importance of strengthening regional, as well as local, preparedness. Communities accomplish more when they collaborate on action plans, he said. Regional agreements also net more federal dollars to subsidize programs that enhance security.

“If you live in a town with five or six other towns close by, if you can pool your resources and projects and ask for funding based on those larger numbers of people, you have a much better chance of getting the money,” Bahun said.

There is only so much money to go around, he added.

Bahun will offer some helpful information about getting funding from organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Routt and Moffat counties have already found there is strength in numbers. Law enforcement, emergency service and public health officials from both counties have been meeting regularly to develop strategies for dealing with homeland security issues on a local level.

The Northwest Colorado Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee put together a plan to immunize residents against smallpox in four days if the disease was discovered locally.

The dozen or so physicians, nurses and medical technicians from Routt and Moffat counties have received the first round of vaccinations and training on how to administer the vaccine in the event of a smallpox outbreak.

A potential smallpox outbreak is only one of many threats the committee has considered.

Steamboat EMS Battalion Chief Mel Stuart said the county is also seeking grant money to purchase equipment for first responders.

Colorado Mountain College, Steamboat Fire and Rescue and Routt County Emergency Management are hosting the free presentation, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Centennial Hall.

— To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com


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