Emergency Preparedness & Response

All local public health agencies are required to prepare and respond to emergencies with a public health or environmental health implication in coordination with local, state and federal agencies, and public and private sector partners. SJBPH Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) can serve as, or support, the Emergency Support Function 8 (Public Health and Medical Services) lead for the county, region, or jurisdiction.

SJBPH Regional EPR staff serve Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties and provide support to the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes.

CodeRED, La Plata County

CodeRED sends voice or text updates on your cell phone, or voice-over-Internet phone, from local emergency response teams in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts.

Sign Up | La Plata County Alerts

Citizens Alert, Archuleta County

Nixle Alerts can be sent via text, email, voice, web, social media, and the Nixle Mobile App to alert residents in real-time for localized emergency situations and relevant community advisories.

Sign Up | Archuleta County Alerts


Regional EPR Coordinator | 970.335.2017


Are you and your family prepared for an emergency? SJBPH promotes community preparedness by communicating steps that can be taken before, during, or after a disaster. What does it mean for you and your family to be prepared for an emergency? Have you considered how you’d communicate with family members during an emergency, or planned where to meet in the event of an evacuation? Have you considered what to take if you had minutes to gather belongings?

Regional EPR staff also serves as the Chair of the Southwest Colorado Healthcare Coalition (SWCHCC). The SWCHCC serves as a multi-agency coordination group (MACG) that assists Emergency Management and Emergency Support Function 8 (Public Health and Medical Services) with preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities related to healthcare organization disaster operations.

Are you a healthcare facility interested in emergency preparedness and response? You are welcome to participate in the SWCHCC: https://www.swchcc.org

The SJBPH Emergency Preparedness & Response (EPR) program participates in All-Hazards planning, training, exercises, and response activities within the local jurisdiction.

  • Regional staff participate in Southwest Regional All Hazards planning meetings that involve other community and county partners, such as the Office of Emergency Management and public health and medical service partners.
  • All SJBPH staff are trained in Incident Command System (ICS) 100 and National Incident Management System (NIMS) 700 courses concerning a standardized system of command used to integrate with other emergency management personnel, with management staff pursuing further training.

SJBPH implements an emergency communication strategy to inform the community and to activate emergency response personnel in the event of a public health crisis.

  • Our Regional Emergency Preparedness & Response (EPR) Coordinator is the lead for Emergency Public Information Officer (PIO) functions working in tandem with our Communications Director, Assessment and Planning Director, Regional Epidemiologist, and Executive Director.

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals, as well as other community members without healthcare backgrounds. MRC units engage these volunteers to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities and build community resiliency. They prepare for and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and floods, as well as other emergencies affecting public health, such as disease outbreaks. They frequently contribute to community health activities that promote healthy habits. Examples of activities that MRC volunteers participate in and support include:

  • Emergency preparedness and response training
  • Sheltering
  • Disaster medical support
  • First aid during large public gatherings
  • Veterinary support and pet preparedness
  • Health screenings
  • Vaccination clinics
  • Health education and promotion

To sign up with the MRC, register on the Colorado Volunteer Mobilizer (instructions here*).
*For the COVID-19 response efforts, the requirement for ICS 100 & 700 has been waived.

For questions about volunteering with the Southwest Colorado Regional MRC, contact Lori Zazzaro at 970.335.2017 or lzazzaro@sjbpublichealth.org.

Equity in Emergency Preparedness Program

At San Juan Basin Public Health, we believe that everyone should have the ability to adequately prepare for emergencies, regardless of their circumstances. SJBPH created the Equity in Emergency Program (EEP) to increase equitable access to emergency preparedness and promote increased resiliency in an emergency for all individuals in La Plata and Archuleta counties.

EEP understands that everyone has different needs, especially during an emergency. For this reason, the EEP team is committed to using more inclusive language surrounding our whole community.

Rather than labeling individuals as having “special needs” or “vulnerable populations” the EEP program refers individuals with C-MIST needs. C-MIST is an inclusive acronym that stands for:

  • Communication: Will officials speak the same language as me and will my language be understood?
  • Medical: Will I have access to my prescriptions or other medical necessities?
  • Independence: Will I be able to do everything as I normally do on my own?
  • Transportation: Will I be able to get where I need to go?

C-MIST identifies people’s actual needs during an emergency rather than labeling them as “special needs.” It is also more inclusive as it identifies people with temporary needs or those who do not identify themselves as having a disability.

Every person’s needs are different, and therefore preparation efforts need to account and be prepared to meet those needs. We talk about emergency kits and the basic items you should have in them but also highlight that everyone’s kit will look different because the needs of your family might not match the specific needs of my own.
This grant gives SJBPH the opportunity to talk about equity at an entry-level. Allowing people to start analyzing what community means to them and if that includes all populations.

The hope is to get the public to start thinking in terms of equity. That serving each individual’s needs in an emergency looks different person to person and hopefully understanding the message of equity in emergencies we can get people to carry it with them beyond the scope of an emergency.

La Plata County

Office of Emergency Management

Archuleta County

Office of Emergency Management