A motivated group of Aurora residents will wrap up an intensive emergency training program by testing their skills in a mock disaster drill on the Community College of Aurora’s Lowry Campus this Saturday. The exercise is the culmination of six Saturdays of rigorous coursework and hands-on practice by a group of Spanish-speaking community members on behalf of a partnership between CCA and the Original Aurora Community Integration Collaborative (OACIC). The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program trains participants to provide assistance to their community and workplace during disasters when professional responders may not be available.
“It’s been amazing to be a part of this training with CCA, OACIC, the Aurora Fire Department, and the Aurora Police Department,” said Jenny Pool Radway, OACIC program coordinator. “The residents, who have come to Aurora from Latin American countries and are not necessarily familiar with our customs, are now more involved than ever in being a part of, and giving back to, their new community.”
OACIC’s mission is to help both immigrant and long-term residents better understand one another and form a more connected community in Original Aurora. The organization is funded by the Colorado Trust’s Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families Initiative, and the Aurora Mental Health Center serves as fiscal agent for the grant.
Organizers say this CERT group is unique not only because participants are all native Spanish speakers, but that the class was taught entirely in Spanish. “With this unique offering, CCA and OACIC have worked to meet the needs of an important group of residents right here in our community,” said Michael Stanley, education coordinator for CCA’s Emergency Medical Services program.
The mock drill will be held March 26 from 9:30-11 a.m., with graduation to follow. All events will take place at CCA’s Center for Simulation, 9235 E. 10th Drive., Bldg. 859, Denver, CO 80230.