Monday, April 8, 2013

New EOC just in time for floods, wildfires

Posted By on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Just in time for fire and flood season, Colorado Springs has unveiled a new, accredited Emergency Operations Center.

The EOC is the central office from which all emergency operations — police, fire, etc. — are coordinated. It's been a hot topic since the Waldo Canyon Fire killed two people and destroyed nearly 350 homes during a chaotic evacuation that many blamed on a lack of organization.

Due to drought, Colorado Springs could be facing another season of heavy wildfires. But the burn scar from Waldo Canyon means many parts of the city are also at risk for catastrophic, deadly flooding.

City of Colorado Springs among elite group to achieve conditional accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program

At the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grand Opening today, Mayor Bach’s Chief of Staff Laura Neumann, Fire Chief Rich Brown, and Police Chief Pete Carey congratulated Director of Emergency Management Bret Waters for achieving conditional accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) assessment team. It is anticipated the City of Colorado Springs EOC operations will receive full accreditation next month; making the City of Colorado Springs the 9th municipality in the nation to achieve this elite status.

The City’s EOC is a central command and control facility from which emergency operations can be directed and coordinated. An EOC is responsible for the strategic overview, or "big picture" of the disaster, and does not normally directly control field assets, instead making operational decisions and leaving tactical decisions to lower commands. The common functions of all EOCs are to collect, gather and analyze data; make decisions that protect life and property; maintain continuity of the organization within the scope of applicable laws; and disseminate those decisions to all concerned agencies and individuals.

Ms. Neumann thanked the State of Colorado for their $100,000 financial contribution that made the first dedicated, permanent Emergency Operations Center a reality as well as many city partners including Colorado Springs Utilities, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, El Paso County Public Health, our Military partners, Memorial and Penrose Hospitals, American Red Cross and many others.

Residents who live in or near flood plains are being encouraged to take precautions of their own. One of the best options is attending a meeting in your area to learn about specific flood risks. Residents are also being urged to take advantage of free sandbags and to keep a look out for people in AspenPointe shirts that will be going door-to-door with flood information. Middle schoolers will also being doing that work in Manitou on Thursday.

Your sandbag options:

FREE Sandbags available to residents impacted by Waldo Canyon Fire

Colorado Springs, Colo. — Colorado Springs residents impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire can pick up free sandbags, either filled or empty, to help protect their homes from potential flooding.

Option 1 — Filled sandbags available Saturday at Verizon Building
Pre-filled sandbags will be given away free to residents, through a partnership with the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management and Colorado Springs Together, Saturday, April 13 at the Verizon Wireless building (2424 Garden of the Gods Road) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers will be on site to fill sandbags and help residents load the 50-pound sandbags into their vehicles. Residents picking up sandbags should enter the Verizon Wireless parking lot off of Flying W Ranch Road.
MEDIA NOTE: Media opportunities for the April 13 event will be available throughout the day. On site contact will be Ken Hughlett, 719-208-5930.
Option 2 — Empty sandbags available at select locations now while supplies last Residents who would like to fill their own sandbags can receive free sandbags while supplies last, thanks to a grant from the Colorado Fire Relief Fund. These free sandbags will be available for residents at Colorado Springs Together and the following Colorado Springs Fire Stations:

Colorado Springs Together — 6840 Centennial Blvd. Suite A
Fire Station 5 — 2830 W. Colorado Ave.
Fire Station 9 — 622 Garden of the Gods Rd.
Fire Station 12 — 445 Rockrimmon Blvd.
Fire Station 18 — 6830 Hadler View

If you are a resident picking up sandbags at these locations, please know:

These bags are not filled with sand. Only the four fire stations listed above will have the bags, no other fire stations will have the bags available.
Our fire stations will be in service and may not be at the station when you come to pick up the bags. We ask that you either wait for their return or try stopping by at a different time.
You will need to sign the Sandbag Distribution Form.
You may take 100 bags for each address per day. You may pick up more bags if you need them on a different day.
You will receive an information bag that contains: DVD on sandbag placement, Colorado Springs Emergency Preparedness Guide, and other flood information.

Residents are advised to consult a certified erosion and sediment control consultant or contractor to manage flooding mitigation on their private property. Sandbags should not be placed in the public right-of-way. For information on potential flooding after the Waldo Canyon Fire, visit

Information on your porch:

Residents in high flood risk areas to receive flood preparedness info at their doorsteps

Colorado Springs, Colo. — Beginning April 8, the City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with AspenPointe, will be canvassing neighborhoods in the city that are most at risk for potential flooding after the Waldo Canyon Fire with a flood preparedness packet. The packets, which include a flood preparedness brochure and customizable refrigerator magnet, will be delivered to residents’ front doors as part of the City’s role in a collaborative public awareness campaign, “Emergency Preparedness Starts with You!” that launches today with a flood emphasis this week, April 8-13th.

“There are certain areas of the city that we are very concerned about if we have a flooding event,” says Bret Waters, Director of Emergency Management. “We want to provide those residents with the information they need to create a plan based on their individual situation. We do encourage people whether they received the packets or not, to find their residences on the flood map to determine their personal risk for flooding.”

For information on potential flooding after the Waldo Canyon Fire and to view the flood map, visit

Students from Manitou Springs Middle School will also be delivering the preparedness packets Thursday to residents in Pleasant Valley as part of their “Day of Service” community service project.
The “Emergency Preparedness Starts with You” public awareness campaign offers residents the tools and resources to best respond to incidents such as flood, wildfire, storms and acts of terror. The campaign empowers area resident to know their personal risk for potential disasters, to make a plan, and to communicate it to their family so they can make the best decisions during an emergency.

Media are encouraged to inform the public about the door-to-door campaign to mitigate any safety concerns. Distribution teams will be clearly identified by blue shirts with “AspenPointe” logos, with the exception of Manitou Springs Middle School students delivering materials Thursday afternoon.

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