Colorado Springs Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Steve Dubay has been in demand since the Waldo Canyon Fire. He's made several presentations and will speak in Reno, Nev., this month at an international conference.
A short version of his lessons learned:
1. Waldo's magnitude overran departmental policies such as the emergency call-back policy. It's being revised to more efficiently manage a department-wide emergency call-back.
2. Communications can be enhanced by conveying more information to citizens as to what is happening and why. In addition, internal communications are critical to keep employees informed and also should be improved.
3. More documentation during the incident helps to know later what happened "when and how." The city and the CSFD are considering the use of volunteers from the Community Advancing Public Safety program to shadow decision-makers and those working in the Emergency Operations Center to better document decisions, deployments and incident developments. (To volunteer, contact Jean Kraus at 444-7735.)
4. Politics will enter into the decision-making process, and you should plan for visits from political dignitaries during the incident. (Both Gov. John Hickenlooper and President Barack Obama visited during the Waldo Canyon Fire.)
5. If you think you have enough equipment and supplies stored, you probably don't. Either store more or know where to get more.