2010 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program Info

DEM is accepting applications for the 2010 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program. Application information is available on DEM's 2010 EOC Grant Program Info Page, including instructions and a template for completing applications. The Federal Emergency Management Agency grant guidance and the grant's frequently asked questions are also posted. Applications must be submitted electronically to DEM no later than January 29, 2010.

Please note there is only approximately $10 million available nationally, so applicants will face strong competition. For more information, contact Bob Wold at bob.wold@state.co.us or by phone at 720-852-6631.

Colorado Chapter Named the 2009 International Code Council Chapter of the Year

The mitigation and preparedness elements of emergency response are the ones that make the others - response and recovery - more manageable for communities and response entities.  There are many partners we here at the Division work with to engage in mitigation and preparedness activities, before a disaster, to help identify, assess and confront disaster-related challenges.

I understand from Marilyn Gally, State Hazard Mitigation Officer, that one those groups we work closely with, the Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council (CCICC), was recently recognized as the 2009 International Code Council Chapter of the Year.  According to the ICC, "to earn this designation, a chapter must demonstrate a high degree of professionalism in promoting the vision, mission and goals of the Code Council.  The Chapter of the Year also distinguishes itself through the development and implementation of programs designed to the increase the professionalism of its members and code officials everywhere, and participate in local, state, regional or national activities to increase the public awareness of safety in the built environment."

Of specific interest to the Colorado emergency management community, the award was given, in part, to recognize the disaster assessment evaluator training and the chapter volunteer's support to the Windsor tornado (May 2008), where, according to CCICC President Stephen Kanipe, "volunteers assessed more than 1,000 damaged structures and then worked with local aofficials to process more than six-thousand repair permits."

The chapter provides a wealth of training activities and resources in Colorado, all of which are designed to make buildings and our communities safer. 

One of the resources that the CCICC offers that, if you are in emergency management, you should check out is their updated "CCICC Disaster Operations Manual" as the field guide for how to initiate a disaster response, perform building damage assessments, engage in mutual aid agreements and other disaster-related actions.

Too, if you are interested in disaster assessment operations response training from DEM, check out the Disaster Assessment Course announcement for January 2009.

Reminder: No Posts Until 28 Dec 09 Due to State Furlough Restrictions

Just a reminder that the blog will not be updated until Monday, 28 Dec 09, due to labor hour restrictions regarding non-emergency response actions associated with the state employee furlough week.  As always, the DEM Duty Officer remains on call and available to assist emergency service personnel.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone and STAY SAFE!!!

A Real Colorado Hero... Jo Anne Stone's 45 Years of Emergency Service

After 45 years of emergency service in Colorado, Jo Anne Stone of Gunnison is retiring.

Chris Dickey, Editor of the Gunnison Country Times wrote a great piece entitled "Being There When it Counts" on Jo Anne in the Thursday, 24 Dec 09 edition and he was kind enough to post and share it:

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What a remarkable career.  Thanks, Jo Anne!!!

"Thanks," too, to Chris and the Gunnison Country Times.

Front Range Emergency Management Forum Meeting - 13 Jan 2010

Hey all - the next Front Range Emergency Management Forum will be held on 13 January 2010, from 9:30 am - 11:30 am at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office (1301 East Broncos Parkway - Training Room One, Centennial, CO 80112).

In addition to the usual time allocated for announcements, discussion and networking, the first forum for 2010 will be devoted to exploring ideas for future meetings. For more than 25 years, the FREMF has provided an information-sharing forum for emergency managers and their partner agencies. In and effort to keep future forums relevant, informative and worth your valuable time, we would like your input concerning any and all aspects of meeting design, including:
  • meeting schedule
  • recurring meeting dates and times
  • structure of meetings
  • content (recommended training/informational topics)
  • recommended field trips
  • recommended meeting locations
Please plan to attend if your schedule permits. If you cannot attend but would still like to offer suggestions for improving future FREMF activities, please email your ideas to Bob Wold at bob.wold@state.co.us or to Lori Hodges, DEM Field Manager, at lori.hodges@state.co.us.

Travel Smart!!!

Many of you will be headed up into the mountains over the holiday weekend.  So, given that the storm effects are always compounded by volume of persons on the road, we just wanted to remind everyone to be safe and slow down.  We want all of you to get there alive!

Take a second, too, to get the latest info about the conditions around Colorado.  There are several great tools to do this.  For the latest in road and traffic info, be sure to check out the Colorado Department of Transportation's COTRIP site.  There, you will find maps, traffic cameras and info regarding the latest road conditions.

Too, CDOT maintains a twitter feed @ColoradoDOT.  Obviously (and not just because of the new law prohibiting you from doing so...) don't check the twitter feed while driving, but if you stop or you have someone who can check it for you, do so.  They are posting great, timely info about plow activities, closures and road conditions.

Also, be sure to keep an eye on the weather.  This is Colorado.  The weather changes fast, particularly in the high country.  So, make sure you check in with the National Weather Service - Colorado Weather site during your travels, too.

And, as always... pack an emergency kit for your car.  You never know what might happen.  You might need it.  If you don't need it, great.  If you need it and you didn't pack it, you will regret it.  Don't be a statistic.

US National Response Team - Joint Information Center Model

If you have not seen it, the U.S. National Response Team has published an updated response team Joint Information Center model (two versions - one print ready and one automated) on their team Guidance, Technical Assistance and Planning page.

Since I am currently deep in drafting of a comprehensive, Colorado-specific Joint Information System/Center Manual, PIO Field Guide(s) and a Crisis Communication Guide to help PIOs respond to specific threats faced in Colorado, the posting is a welcome reference tool.  I will be drawing heavily from the guidance in this manual, as well as others as we further develop our Colorado system here at the Division. 

The intent of our effort is to codify procedures for the State, as well as, generate a toolkit for consideration by any organization involved in emergency management/crisis communications in Colorado that provides specific contacts, checklists and is designed to work within how Colorado emergency management is organized - including how to integrate into and use Colorado's online emergency management tools to help in your day-to-day functions.

In any event, the NRT JIC Model is very well organized and thorough.   It is also, obviously, compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS).  The Job Aids, References, Worksheets and Samples, in particular, are well done.

What the work being done here at the Division is intended to do is provide a crosswalk of the fully-functional, well-staffed and resourced goal and the reality of most local Colorado PIOs who might not have those capabilities ready to launch.

In any event, I thought those of you in PIO-world would enjoy taking a look and, if you have any questions about the Division's efforts on this front or are interested in being involved down the line as we develop the local tools, shoot me an email at brandon.williams@state.co.us.  I'd be happy to write/talk to you about it!

Colorado Emergency Management Association Awards

Who better to recognize and reward excellence in emergency management but from those who live it?  It is that time of the year to think about recognition of emergency management excellence.

The Colorado Emergency Management Association (CEMA) is soliciting nominations from its membership for the Regional Emergency Manager of the Year Award and Rookie Emergency Manager of the Year.  CEMA is requesting nominations for these special recognitions which will be presented at the 2010 Colorado Governor's Emergency Management Conference (February 23-25, 2010)

Nominations should be forwarded to Steve Blois at steve.blois@greeleygov.com and are due by December 31, 2009. 

The operational guidelines are:
- Two nominations are required for each category, from CEMA members in good standing
- The nominee may or may not be a CEMA member
- Nine All-Hazard Regions Emergency Manager of the Year nominations are encouraged
- One Rookie Emergency Manager of the Year will be recognized ("rookie" means no more than 2 years in the position)
- CEMA nominators may be from any region
- A nomination should contain supporting reasons to be considered

DEM Course Announcement - Damage Assessment Course

On 26 Jan 09, the Division, in cooperation with the Morgan County Office of Emergency Management, is hosting a half-day (9:00 am - 12:30 pm) workshop for those who might be involved in or perform a damage assessment after a disaster.  Damage assessments are critical immediately following a disaster to size up the impact(s) of damage.  The course is intended for new personnel or as a refresher course.

The course will be held at:

901 E Beaver
Fort Morgan, CO 80701

To register, go to the DEM Training Page and fill out the 75-5 EZ Form and the course is first come, first served to register now!

For more information, contact DEM's Training Officer - Robyn Knappe at robyn.knappe@state.co.us or at (720) 852-6617.

NWS Winter Storm Info - NWS Use of Multi-Media

I just wanted to call attention to the National Weather Service's use of multi-media in making available their "Multimedia Winter Storm Briefing" on their NWS Goodland, KS, site about the still-evolving storm projected to impact Colorado - in particular, Eastern Colorado - and into Kansas for this holiday travel week.

Like most of Colorado, we here at the Division are obviously keeping an eye on weather developments as we head into the holiday travel weekend.  Over the past few days, as we normally do when a winter storm appears developing that will impact Colorado, we have joined with our National Weather Service (NWS) and other partner agencies in routine conference calls/briefings regarding storm developments; we have been reviewing response plans and gathering info from our Regional Emergency Management Field Managers in impacted areas and locals to identify any anticipated needs (...a lot of Emergency Management is a "let's take a look at that, just in case" business...).

In any event, the NWS shop out in Goodland, KS, put together this multimedia briefing to help merge images and discussion/projections and I thought it was cool, so... take a look.

Advanced Chemical and Biological Integrated Response Course (ACBIRC)

Attention First Responders who are hazardous materials techs, the Advanced Chemical and Biological Integrated Response Course (ACBIRC) has announced it will hold 10 courses between now and August 2010.

The course is funded by FEMA so there are no costs to attend the training.  For more information ABCIRC and for registration/dates, check out the ABCIRC site.   Alternatively, you can contact Ashley Erickson, ACBIRC Training Coordinator at ashley.m.erickson@us.army.mil.

For other emergency management-related Colorado training information, contact Robyn Knappe at robyn.knappe@state.co.us or at (720) 852-6617.

Community-Specific Integrated Emergency Management Course - Still Time to Register!!!

Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute (EMI) host Integrated Emergency Management Courses (IEMC) for local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) personnel.

The courses are 4.5 day, exercise-based training activiites that place EOC personnel under realistic crisis situations within a structured learning environment.  One of the courses offered is the Community-Specific Integrated Emergency Management Course, which provides an in-depth exercise for participants from a single jurisdiction.  The community-specific courses are geared towards the hazards or events facing that jurisdiction, adjust to the type of EOC used by the jurisdiction and use the jurisdiction's emergency plans.  These course(s) are encourage involvement from wide range of EOC staff and partner agencies (see who should attend) and is aimed at facilitating a community to train, exercise and learn as a group.

The application process in Colorado starts with the Division of Emergency Management and, for next year's course offerings, is due by January 11, 2010.  If you are interested, view the sample application for a Community-Specific IEMC.  Too, if your community is selected for this opportunity, your community will be reimbursed for the travel and the cost of the course and lodging is accommodated by EMI (note:  EMI does not reimburse for meals).

If your community is interested in pursuing this opportunity, contact DEM's Training Officer, Robyn Knappe via email at robyn.knappe@state.co.us or via telephone at (720) 852-6617.

Northeast Colorado Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan

The 2009 Northeast Colorado Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan has been posted to DEM's Local Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans Page.  It is a big, big document and I will work to figure out a way to make it smaller or break it up into bite-sized pieces.  However, I wanted to get it up online as a reference document for regional, multi-county planning efforts, as soon as possible. 

The NE Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan is an updated plan from the 2004 version.  It is a comprehensive Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan covering the counties of Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma Counties in Colorado. 

Hazard Mitigation plans are designed by communities to gather data about risks they face, analyze potential impacts and losses such risks could cause and develop action plans to address the most critical and threatening issues.  In short, they serve as the backbone of how a community plans to better protect its people and property from the effects of natural hazard events.  Once generated, the plans help decision makers direct mitigation activities and resources as well as maintain a community's eligibiltiy for certain federal disaster assistance, specifically, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program.

The point of contact at DEM for questions on the NE plan is Deanna Butterbaugh.

For examples of other regional and single county plans, check out DEM's Local Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans Page and, in particular, check out Park County's Hazard Mitigation Plan and Elbert County's Hazard Mitigation Plan.

DEM Daily Update

Each morning, our operations staff (namely, Richard Vangilder - richard.vangilder@state.co.us) gets up early and assembles the DEM Daily Update for emergency management staff.  Over the past few months, DEM has also been making this info available to the general public.

The intent of the daily update is to have a one-stop reference tool each morning to get a big-picture of emergency management-related activities in Colorado.  The update includes an overview of any ongoing operations, weather assessments/overviews assembled directly from National Weather Service reports, and information regarding national, regional and Colorado threats and emergency operations activation status.

The DEM Daily Update also contains information regarding upcoming Colorado training exercises, significant events, and a variety of links for more detailed information. 

The update is posted each morning, usually around 9:00 am to the DEM web site at http://dola.colorado.gov/dem/dailyupdate.pdf.  Check it out!

Eggs? Uh... not the best choice for your Emergency Kit.

I got this pic of a local grocery store's egg isle from a buddy of mine in the DC Metro area.  On the plus side, upon hearing the news of an impending snowstorm (14-20 inches anticipated), people did go to the store to get supplies in advance.  On the down side, launching a raid on the egg isle isn't really the best tactic.... nor is making a run on milk... nor, frankly, mass-hoarding any other highly perishable item. 

Thing is, you never know what is going to happen.  The power might go out.  The storm might stall.  The event might trigger any number of actions that would require you and your family to shelter-in-place for an extended period of time.  So, instead of highly perishable items, when packing or preparing for a storm or potential shelter-in-place event, it is best to consider foods that have a longer shelf life.  Foods that have a longer shelf life include ready-to-eat meats (e.g. beef jerky, canned ham, chicken or tuna), canned fruits and vegetables, canned or boxed juices, BOXED or powdered milk, canned soups, peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, trail mix and vitamins.

Also remember foods for infants and for persons on special diets (e.g., low sodium or gluten-free).  Cookies and hard candy are also a must for our shelter-in-place, emergency kit.  The idea is to get foods that will enable you to keep them in a stored location in anticipation of an event BEFORE the rush on the store happens and those which will help you get through at least 3 days of shelter-in-place for each family/household member.  Oh, and don't forget about the pets.  Throw some dried and canned food into that stash for them, as well.

You should keep the canned foods in a dry place, where the temperature is fairly cool.  To protect boxed foods from pests and to extend their shelf life, store the food in a tightly closed plastic or metal container.  Replace the items in your food supply every six months - date them with a marker.  Obviously, either use them or discard any items past their expiration date(s) or if the containers are broken, dented, or corroded.

Food is just one of the items you should consider when packing a shelter-in-place or 72 hour kit.  For more info that addresses clothing, first aid supplies, water, tools and more, check out READYColorado.

What about for non-emergency events?  Load up on eggs.  Seriously, there are few things better than a well-made ham and cheese omelette.

Alameda H1N1 Clinic

Quick pic from Alameda High School from this morning (Sat, 19 Dec 09) I got from DEM's Kerry Kimble, where responders from the Colorado Department of Public Health, local health officials, the Jefferson County Incident Management Team, local emergency medical services and mental health reps are running an H1N1 flu clinic.  The team is managing the clinic using the Incident Command System (ICS) to manage an the event.  Good reminder that using ICS for non-emergency response is a good way to train!  Understand from Kerry that 800 have been processed thus far (11:00 am).  Looked around and it seems there are further postings about the event at http://twitter.com/unflu and also at Immunizecolorado.com.

Alternate EOC Still Works? Check.

Earlier this week, several DEM staff went out and fired up our old, Alternate Emergency Operations Center.  It might look old, but it still fired up!  We were able start up the computers, log in and gain access to necessary emergency management sites.  We were also able to verify that phone systems work and identify some alternate configurations and use of space that might fit the way we are structured today a bit better.

While the EOC still remains a functional command post, it was originally built as a nuke bunker and it has the distinct feel of being in a museum.  On the way out, I snapped the picture of the dedication plaque and thought I would share.  The Defense Civil Preparedness Agency was the predecessor of today's Federal Emergency Management Agency.  It was cool to see that our relationship with our federal partners goes back that far and still remains strong.

I still hope we never have to use it, but it is comforting to know that it is there and that, if we really had to, we could walk in today and get to work.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center - Snow Condition/Warning Feeds

If you are in emergency management in Colorado, are a backcountry enthusiast or just a another snow nerd, you are probably already familiar with the great work of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.  What you might not be aware of is that the CAIC has started to post updates on a number of geographic-specific twitter feeds for real-time updates of warnings, snow conditions and over-the-horizon analysis.  The feed(s) can be found on the CAIC page buried in the 'help/about' tab at http://avalanche.state.co.us/pub/follow.php.  Take a look, the tool is just developing but as we get into the winter season, I think this will be a valuable tool for all of us.  In particular, the ability for the CAIC to receive updates from people in the field and maintain an in-the-field accessible communication about conditions, I think, will be extremely valuable.

Eastern Colorado Incident Management Team: First Colorado Incident Response Team Memorandum of Understanding Signed

Contact: Larry Helmerick, Team Public Information Officer - larryhelmerick@att.net or at (303) 638-9660


CENTENNIAL, CO. Dec. 8, 2009--Cooperative efforts between the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), the Eastern Colorado Incident Management Team and officials from Weld County have created the first ever Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for All-Hazard team response within Colorado. The MOU allows CDA to call up the Eastern Colorado Type-3 Team to assist in management of domestic agricultural incidents when CDA determines the needs of the incident exceed current staff and resource capabilities.

Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp and Weld County Sheriff John Cooke signed the agreement recently. The Weld County Sheriff is the Sponsoring Agency for the team and can activate the entire 40 member team, or elements of the team to assist during crisis operations within Colorado. Commissioners of Kiowa County stepped in to assist in procuring items funded by Agriculture to equip the team with communication, logistical and other support items. Because of this agreement, other counties may also be able to use selected parts of the emergency response equipment when the team is not deployed.

Chad Ray, Incident Commander of the team said, “this is a big step for the CDA and the Team that allows us to assist Agriculture and support them during any incident.” The Team has already deployed to Alamosa during the salmonella outbreak, supported the State Division of Emergency Management, the Democratic National Convention and provided wildland fire and blizzard emergency assistance since being organized in 2007.

The Team is made up of response professionals from all disciplines including safety, planning, operations, logistics, administration, finance, liaison, information and other specialties.

DEM Alert - 8 Dec 09 - Severe Winter Weather

DEM Alert -- 8 Dec 09 - Severe Winter Weather

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