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Rural & Ready

Held August 2nd and 3rd at the Kewadin Casino Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, the Rural & Ready Conference aims to enhance the response capabilities of both American and Canadian First Responders, Medical Providers, and all others involved in emergency planning and response in rural communities.

Nursing, EMS, MCOLES and Firefighter CEUs pending.

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Conference Presenters:

Jim Etzin:Collaborative Response to Active Violence

Jim Etzin has served on the Farmington Hills Fire Department since 1994, where he currently supervises a training currently supervises a training division serving a 120-member fire department that provides fire suppression, technical rescue, hazardous materials response, advanced life support, emergent transportation, and risk reduction to a 33.4 square mile Metropolitan Detroit community with approximately 85,000 residents and nearly 12,000 calls for service. In the 29 years he has been on the department, Mr. Etzin has distinguished himself by receiving numerous Life Saving Awards for successful out-of-hospital resuscitations of Cardiac Arrest, Chain of Survival Awards for outstanding patient care, Unit Citations for extraordinary rescues, and letters of appreciation. He has also been named Recruit of the Year, Career Firefighter of the Year, American Legion Firefighter of the Year, and the paramedic on the department’s award-winning international vehicle extrication team. In addition, he is the former President of Local 2659 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and often speaks to adolescents and teenagers throughout Southeastern Michigan about suicide prevention and the dangers associated with substance use and abuse. Prior to his work with the Farmington Hills Fire Department, Mr. Etzin had a distinguished military career as Naval Corpsman serving in various United States Marine Corps commands. Mr. Etzin’s military services included deployment to Operation Desert Storm providing advanced life supported to approximately 180 Marines as part of the Second Marine Division, service in the Weapons and Field Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, serving approximately 15,000 Marines and 750 Naval personal while assigned to the First Marine Division medical training section. Throughout his services Mr. Etzin obtained numerous certifications and attended special operations medicine-related training programs. Mr. Etzin continues to attend special operations training programs and provides consultation, training, and occasional operations support to numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

Special Agent Nathaniel Han: Human Trafficking & Evidence Response

SA Nate Han has been in the FBI since 2016. SA Han is part of the FBI Human Trafficking Task Force based in Southeast Michigan and has participated in the recovery of dozens of juvenile and adult human trafficking victims. SA Han is a member of the SWAT team and also a Sniper instructor for local police departments in Michigan. Prior to the FBI, SA Han was an Army Officer and deployed to support the efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. SA Han is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Maria Nerat: Adult Intensive Crisis Stabilization

Maria Nerat gained her BSW and MSW degrees from Michigan State University and has worked in community mental health for 15 years the last 10 of those at Northpointe Behavioral Health. She is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy and is Infant Mental Health level II endorsed. Ms. Nerat has works as a case manager for children’s outpatient services, started a children’s home-cased program and served as Northpointe’s county director for Menominee County and then as tri-county Director of Acute Services. Ms. Nerat is trained in Assertive Community Treatment, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.

Suzanne Brzykcy: Adult Intensive Crisis Stabilization

Suzanne Brzykcy is a limited licensed clinical psychologist with training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. She is therapist on the Intensive Crisis Stabilizations Services team at Northpointe Behavioral Healthcare Systems and a member of the Menominee County Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team. Ms. Brzykcy sits on the Board of Directors for the Suicide Prevention Network for Marinette and Menominee County as well as A Place for Max, a non-profit organization for adults with special needs.

Christina Kakuk: Adult Intensive Crisis Stabilization

Christina Kakuk is a licensed social worker with over 20 years of experience providing services to individuals with disabilities. In her current role she serves as a Case Manager on the Intensive Crisis Stabilization Services team at Northpointe Behavioral Healthcare Systems. Ms. Kakuk earned a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Northern Michigan University and a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Wisconsin – Stout. She is trained in outpatient emergency services, motivational interviewing, and is certified to administer MoCA cognitive assessments.

Frank Claeys: Gaylord Tornado Response & Lessons Learned

Frank Claeys has been a member of the Gaylord Police Department for 26 years, serving in the role of Chief of Police for the last four and half years. During his time with the Gaylord PD, Chief Claeys has served as Board Chairmen for the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement team, Vice Chairman of the Michigan Township Participating Plan Law Enforcement Committee, and as a board member for the Ostego Chapter of Families Against Narcotics, the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, and the Ostego County Fire Board.

Jon Deming: Gaylord Tornado Response & Lessons Learned

Jon Deming has spanned many years serving the needs of the Ostego County community by being involved in Emergency Medical Services since 1975, and full time since 1992. Mr. Deming has been the Emergency Manager for Otsego County for 20 years and is a team leader for the Region 7 Haz Mat Team. In addition to his long-time career serving the community as Emergency Manager and EMS Chiefs, he has been on the State EMS Board for 10 years. He served as Michigan National Guard Crash Rescue Firefighter for 7 years and Vanderbilt Fire Chief for 10 years.

Greg Postma: 800 mhz Radio Use & Capabilities

Greg Postma currently serves as the Director for Chippewa County Central Dispatch and Emergency Management. Greg has been working in this position for over a year. Prior to his appointment to Director at Chippewa County Central Dispatch, Greg worked with the Chippewa County Sheriff Office. During his time there he served as School Resource Officer, Road Patrol Deputy, Det/Sgt, Departmental Accident Reconstructionist, Departmental Evidence Technician, was a member on the Chippewa County Child Death Review Team and ended his time with the Sheriff Office as the Undersheriff.

Ed Miller: 800 mhz Radio Use & Capabilities

Ed Miller has spent over 30 years as a Firefighter and Paramedic including supervisory roles as Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, and Assistant Fire Chief for Sterling Heights Fire Department. He currently serves as the Fire Chief for the city of Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Additionally Chief Miller has taught EMS and Fire Training at Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College. Over the course of his career Chief Miller has served in several leadership roles including as the President of the Macomb County Fire Chiefs Association, the Michigan Task Force 1 Rescue Squad Officer, City of Sterling Heights Safety Committee Chairman and as a member to the Michigan Public Safety Communications Commission, Interoperability Board.

Mike Bitnar: Fentanyl Response and Current Drug Trends

Michael Bitnar is the Sheriff for Chippewa County, Michigan. Sheriff Bitnar obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice through the Lake Superior State University Police Academy and began his career in law enforcement in 1991 with the Chippewa County Sheriff’s office. Since beginning with the Sheriff’s department, Sheriff Bitnar has served on the Uniform Division, worked undercover for the multi-jurisdiction drug team SANE, and served as Undersheriff. In 2016 he was elected Sheriff, and continues to serve in that role today. Additionally, Sheriff Bitnar is a founding Executive Board member of the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Taskforce (TRIDENT) and a Board Member of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Taskforce (UPHTTF).

Rural & Ready planning is a collaborative effort between MyMichigan Medical Center Sault; Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Bay Mills Indian Community; Lake Superior State University; Chippewa County Emergency Management; US Coast Guard; US Customs and Border Protection; Chippewa County Health Department; Sault Area Hospital, and the Region 8 Healthcare Coalition

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