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February 16, 1999

Iowa Developing "Crisis Response Teams"

Teams will prepare to respond especially to crime-related disasters,such as the school killings last year at Jonesboro, Arkansas. Iowans are invited to apply for training course April 5-9.

DES MOINES-- Iowa is taking steps to train and create "Crisis Response Teams" to aid communities in responding to disasters -- especially crime-related disasters such as the Jonesboro, Arkansas, school killings last year or the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.


Attorney General Tom Miller said today that a 40-hour training course will be conducted April 5-9 in Des Moines for persons interested in serving on a Crisis Response Team. Creating the teams will be a product of the training.


Information and applications are available from the Crime Victim Assistance Division of Miller's Office (call 800-373-5044 or 515-281-5044.) Applications are due by March 1.


Miller said the training is being organized by the Crime Victim Assistance Division in cooperation with NOVA -- the National Organization for Victim Assistance. The usual $500 fee for participants is being waived, thanks to a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime of the U.S. Dept. of Justice.


"This is an outstanding opportunity for Iowa," Miller said. "We will have the best trainers from NOVA, and we will fulfill a very important need. It makes all the difference to have experienced and trained people ready to help a community through a crime-related disaster or any disaster."


NOVA has sent immediate response teams to help many communities, including Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, when the mayor was murdered and two city council members were injured at a public meeting on Dec. 11, 1986; Sioux City, when United Flight 232 crashed on July 19, 1989; Oklahoma City, when the Federal Building was bombed April 19, 1995; and Jonesboro, Arkansas, when two boys shot and killed a teacher and four students at Westside Middle School on March 24, 1998.


Miller said crisis teams are multidisciplinary groups that include professionals from victim service, mental health, law enforcement, medicine, education, and the clergy. The college-level training course is for professionals who will help establish and maintain a system of Crisis Response Teams around the state.


Crisis Response Teams work closely with other responders to support local care givers and the community as they deal with the immediate crisis and prepare for the long-term effects of trauma.


The usual $500 registration is waived and the training is free, but registrants will be responsible for transportation, accommodations, and meals. Participants must have the support of their employers so they can be available to respond to disasters.


The training will be conducted at the Four Points Sheraton, 4800 Merle Hay Road in Des Moines.

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