Volunteer emergency responders from Colton Rural Fire Protection District #70 acted on 600 emergency calls in 2021. According to the data, approximately 60% of the 911 calls were for medical emergencies, and numerous calls were for public assistance, which often require medical training to complete.
Jodi Kuhn saw a need within that data.
In July 2021, Kuhn, a volunteer emergency medical technician with the district, approached Colton Fire's Interim Chief Todd Gary and asked about the possibility of having a state certified Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) class for local volunteers.
The idea was approved and Kuhn started the long and arduous process of developing the syllabus, bringing on instructors and organizing the classes.
At the start of this year, the Oregon Health Authority certified Kuhn to teach for the fire department. With the help of paramedic Aaron Myers, who volunteers with Colton Fire, and Val Codina, paramedic and emergency medical services instructor for Molalla Fire District, the 12-week course began.
Kuhn led the lectures while Myers and Codina, who both have many years of medical emergency response experience, provided the hands-on training through real-life scenarios during the lab portion of the classes.
The EMR class consisted of 10 Colton volunteer emergency responders: Zach Boots, Mike Decristoforo, Doug Dolney, Daniel Dunn, Dave Hernandez, Nate Kulland, Justin Oberlander, Jacob Phillips, Daniel Snyder, Josh Steele, and two Molalla volunteers, Kim Duvall and Stephanie Huff, each committing more than 80 hours to the program; 55 hours were in classroom and lab (hands-on training) hours with an additional 25-plus hours given to online training.
"I am so impressed with the level of commitment and dedication from these volunteers," Kuhn said. "Many have young families, full-time jobs, and personal commitments, yet they took the class very seriously. They spent a significant amount of time at the station and formed study groups to practice the hands-on EMS skills."
On April 9, the training culminated with a state licensing test to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to save a life. Kuhn brought in five proctors who often work at Clackamas Community College to ensure the testing met the highest state standards. The result was 100% passed and were certified as EMRs.
"Our community has 10 new EMRs who will be responding to emergencies and helping people in their time of need," CRFPD EMS coordinator Lt. Brad Kuhn said. "Some may go on to do more medical training and look back at this class as the place that got them started. And some will one day have the opportunity to save another person's life using the skills they learned here."
Another way fire district helps
Ten-year-old Kenzie Kuhn was moved by the tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine.
"I was watching the news one night," Kuhn said. "The war in Ukraine was on with pictures and videos of kids crying. They were having to leave their homes; they were so scared. Watching it made me sad and then I felt a little anger, and I knew I had to do something to help."
Kenzie said in the past she noticed kids having car washes as fundraisers, so she went to Colton Interim Fire Chief Todd Gary to ask if she could hold a car wash there to raise money for the kids in Ukraine. She said he agreed immediately, and she started planning it. Jacob Dunn, son of Colton firefighter Dan Dunn, was in Ukraine, so she knew she had a safe avenue for the money.
"I want to raise money for food and bedding for the kids who had to evacuate," Kenzie said.
On April 23 Kenzie, with help from friends Quentin and Chase Decristoforo, washed cars and so far have raised more than $350 for Ukraine. There is still a way to donate on Venmo. Contact the Kuhns by leaving a message at the Colton Fire District office.
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