Student-Led Evacuation Drill Using the Incident Command System - April 28, 2010

Alright.  This is very, very cool and I couldn't help but pass it along...

On April 28, 2010, around 300 Denver-area students at the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning will conduct a Student-Led Evacuation Drill Using the Incident Command System with the assistance of a graduate intern, Camilla Yamada, from the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado.

Schools do evacuation drills all the time... why is this one any different?  What makes this project so innovative is that, under Ms. Yamada's counsel, the evaucation drill will be led by students who will be organized using the national Incident Command System (ICS).   By implementing an ICS framework, the students will be using the exact same set-up that many first response agencies and emergency managers use today to real-world ongoing incidents/events at the local, state and federal level.  The ICS system is the 'action' part of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Essentially, it provides a framework for any organization (or organizations) to come together around an event or incident using a common set of management practices and procedures to streamline information flow to decision-makers.  Whether it is a local structure fire, a professional association conference or a student-led evacuation, the ICS system can help an organization or group of individuals use a common language, establish a familiar, consistent and flexible structure and immediately create information pathways to ensure that everything -- from planning to safety to leadership decisions to information collection and dissemination -- can be efficiently accomplished.

Apart from being the first student-led evacuation using the ICS methodology that we are aware of, what is most striking about this exercise is that these students are taking book knowledge and making it tangible.  By demonstrating individual responsibility and initiative to actively understand how to organize and conduct an event as complex as an evacuation, they are assuming ownership and responsibility for enhancing their own safety.  We have seen it time and time again, in recent world-wide earthquakes, in school tragedies, in tornadoes and other emergencies, the chances of surviving and recovering from a disaster or emergency are often the steps that individuals or groups have taken to prepare and organize in advance.  Whether it be understanding and practicing evacuation routes in a school or business or by creating a family communications plan and keeping a stocked emergency kit at home.... just in case.  The first aid you may get during a large-scale disaster will likely come from your neighbors, family members, friends and colleagues.  Programs like these and others are the key to ensuring we are prepared at the ground-level for threats we face.  For more on citizen preparedness in Colorado, be sure to check out READYColorado.   

If you are involved in emergency preparedness and/or response, expecially in Colorado, you are probably already aware of the Natural Hazards Center at CU and if not, you need to be.  The Hazards Center is actively engaged in cutting-edge disaster preparedness, response and recovery projects and, in particular, in seeking innovative ways to share information including through social media tools and training. You can learn more about the Center's work at  You can also follow them online at

Our Thoughts are with Mississippi - Severe Weather and Tornado

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected by the devastating tornado and severe weather in Mississippi.  To follow the actions of our colleagues at the State of Mississippi's Emergency Management Agency you can view their State site, as well as the State of Mississippi Emergency Management Facebook Page and the State of Mississippi Emergency Management Twitter Feed.

Like Mississippi, Colorado has a history of damaging tornadoes.  And, as the events here in Colorado of just the past few days' tornadoes, hail and flash flooding, it is up to each of us to keep up to speed with Colorado weather developments.

This weekend, let the past week here and the events in Mississippi guide you to spend a few minutes developing you and your family's emergency plan.  Check out READYColorado to learn more about what to do, how to prepare and for great checklists to get you started.

In addition to taking active steps to prepare yourself and your family for a disaster, you should also take time to find out who your Colorado local emergency manager is and ask them what alarms and systems they have in place.  One step you can take right now in many counties in Colorado is to register your mobile phone and/or email with local emergency alert systems.  That way, in the event of a tornado, a wildfire evacuation or other incident affecting your area you can take action to stay safe.

Incident Command System/Emergency Operations Center Interface Workshop - July 26-27 - Brighton, CO

The City of Brighton Office of Emergency Management will be hosting an Incident Command System/Emergency Operations Center Interface Workshop (ICS/EOC) G-191 Course (flier) on July 26-27, 2010, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Brighton Police Department.

The course goal is to understand more thoroughly the relationship between the on-scene Incident Command and the Emergency Operations Center.  The word "interface" in the course implies communication, coordination and other relationships between field operations and the EOC.

You can register for the course online using DEM's 75-5 EZ form and for any questions regarding the training, contact Robyn Knappe at (720) 852-6617 or via email at

Southeast Tornados - April 22, 2010

I got some pics from our Regional Field Manager, Chad Ray, from yesterday's tornado, hail and flood events I wanted to pass along. Too, the Pueblo National Weather Service office put together an interesting presentation on the Bent and Kiowa County Tornadoes you might want to check out, too - Pueblo NWS Bent and Kiowa County Tornado Presentation

Now, that is some significant hail.  Interested in learning more about hail safety?  Take a look at our DEM's Hail Safety Tips on the Division's website.  Good info to have to make sure that when this comes down from the sky, you aren't in it's target path.

This is a pic of the tornado that touched down outside of Hasty, Colorado.

Tornado activity usually doesn't happen all by itself, it generally brings along some equally unwanted friends such as hail and flooding, particularly flash flooding in areas that are receiving heavy rainfall.  Get more safety tips from DEM's Flood Safety Page.  This was in Kiowa County.

 Another pic of the flooding in Kiowa County.

North Central Region Mass Care Tabletop Exercise - May 27 - Denver, CO

The North Central All-Hazards Region is hosting a Mass Care Tabletop Exercise at the Denver Tech Center Hyatt on Thursday, May 27, 2010, from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm. 

Sponsored by the NCR Mass Care Sub-Committee, the Tabletop objectives are to evaluate the ability of each participating jurisdiction to provide long-term, Emergency Support Function (ESF) 6 services, including human/animal sheltering and to evaluate the ability of each participating jurisdiction to provide mass care services to people with special needs.

Who should attend?  All ESF-6 lead and supporting agencies; local, state and federal emergency management officials, public and mental health agencies, human service and housing authorities, volunteer organizations and animal sheltering agencies.

Registration can be done online at COTrain (  For any questions, contact Aron Anderson, Homeland Security Resource Support Analyst for the North Central All-Hazards Region at (303) 768-8734 or via email at

Hail Safety and Flash Flood Tips

Hail Safety Tips

If you are in an automobile:
  • Stop driving. If you can see a safe place close by (like inside a garage, under a highway overpass, or under a service station awning), drive there as soon as you can. Make sure you pull completely off the highway.Do NOT leave the vehicle until it stops hailing. Your car will furnish reasonable protection.
  • Stay away from car windows. Cover your eyes with something (like a piece of clothing). If possible, get onto the floor face down, or lie down on the seat with your back to the windows. Put very small children under you, and cover their eyes.
If you are in a building:
  • Stay inside until the hail stops.Stay away from the windows, especially those being struck by hail.
  • Account for all family members, building occupants, pets, etc.
  • Do not go outside for any reason. Large hail can cause serious or even fatal injuries.
  • Avoid using phones and electrical appliances during a severe storm to avoid the danger of electrocution from lightning.
If you are outdoors:
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter immediately. If you can't find something to protect your entire body, at least find something to protect your head.
  • Stay out of culverts and lowland areas that might fill suddenly with water.
  • Trees are a last resort. It is common during severe storms for trees to lose branches. Also, large isolated trees attract lightning.

Flash Flood Safety Tips
  • Flash floods can move at incredible speeds.
  • If a flash flood warning is issued, or you realize a flash flood is coming, act quickly to save lives.
  • You may have only seconds!
  • Move to high ground - do not attempt to outrun the flood.
  • Even 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet, and a depth of two feet will float your car!
  • NEVER try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. If you come upon flood waters, STOP! TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY.

Front Range Tornado Watches, Warnings and Severe Weather - April 22, 2010

Tornado north of Hasty 4/22/10 on Twitpic

Tornado Safety Tips

When a tornado watch is announced, it means conditions are present for a tornado.

Keep a radio/TV tuned for further information, and gather emergency supplies.

When a Tornado Warning is issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or is imminent. Take shelter immediately.
If you are at home:

Go to your basement. If you have no basement, go to an interior hallway or small interior room on the the lowest floor.

Avoid windows.

Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover elsewhere.
If you are at work:

Go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or a designated shelter.

Avoid windows.
If you are at school:

Follow instructions of authorities/teachers.

Stay out of structures with wide free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms.
If you are in a car or outside:

Seek cover in a nearby building, or lie flat in a ditch or ravine.

Volunteers Needed - Mass Decontamination Exercise - Boulder County (May 22) and Denver County (June 5)

Want to make a real, tangible difference and help your local emergency responders?  Try being a volunteer for the upcoming Mass Decontamination Exercise in Lafayette, Colorado (Boulder County) on May 22, 2010 or on June 5, 2010 in Denver County at St. Joseph Hospital. 

The Volunteer Victim Information - Boulder County - May 22 - Flier and the Volunteer Victim Information - Denver County - June 5 - Flier contain details on the event, what to wear and what to expect, and... for those of you motivated by such... "there will be snacks provided." 

The exercise will be held at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, CO, from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm on Saturday, May 22, 2010 -- hope to see you there!

Tornado Touchdown in Bethune, Colorado, Good Reminder of Importance of Statewide EAS Alert TEST

Nothing like an actual TORNADO WARNING, sighting and siren activation during Colorado's Severe Weather Awareness Week like the one that happened tonight for a tornado outside of Bethune, Colorado, in Kit Carson County to stress the importance of tomorrow's (April 14, 2010) National Weather Service and Colorado Broadcaster Association's Statewide EAS TEST TORNADO WARNING, which will be conducted from 9:00 am until 11:00 am.

While the tornado outside Bethune that touched down briefly tonight was reportedly in open area, causing no injuries or damage, the tornado, along with heavy rainfall and possibility of large hail remind us that Spring is here, the weather is again rolling, and we need to be aware.  We need to be aware of what to do in the event of severe weather (check out great info on this from READYColorado) and we need to be aware of Colorado Local Emergency Management Contacts, Colorado threats and alert systems, including the growing number of mobile-capable, local text and sms alert systems

DHS Secretary Napolitano Announces Preparedness Task Force Members

On April 7, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the members of a new, nationwide Preparedness Task Force.  The Preparedness Task Force is comprised of a group of 35 local, state, tribal and federal preparedness experts including the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Emergency Management Director Hans Kallam.  The group's mission is to assess the nation's disaster preparedness status and make recommendations to enhance the nation's resiliency to disasters.

"It is a personal honor to represent Colorado and be a part of this team.  We have applied a lot of effort into preparedness over the past decade.  It is time to reflect and insure that our future efforts reduce our vulnerability and better prepare us for our next disaster," said Kallam of the effort.  

The Preparedness Task Force anticipates delivering their first set of assessment and recommendations in September 2010.


Much more to follow, but - from the team here - CONGRATS, Hans!!!

Emergency Operations Center (EOC) G-775 Course - June 2-3, 2010 - Adams County

This 2 day course provides participants wit the knowledge and skills to effectively manage and operate an EOC during crisis situations.  The course covers locating and designing an EOC, how to staff, train, and brief EOC personnel, and how to operate an EOC during various situations.

The course is being sponsored by the Division and hosted by Adams County.  To register, sign up using the Division's Training Registration EZ Form and for questions or more information, contact Robyn Knappe at - (720) 852-6600 or Jessica Schwarz at

Colorado Wildland Fire and Incident Management Academy - June 7-13, 2010 - Canon City, Colorado

Just a note that the next Colorado Wildland Fire and Incident Management Academy (or download the CWFIMA Flyer).  will be held in Canon City, Colorado at the Canon City High School, from June 7-13, 2010.  Registration is $65 per day (plus off-campus lodging costs) and can be done online at the Academy's website at

There are a couple of classes, in particular, that emergency management personnel will be interested in:
G-381 - Mitigation - June 7-8
G-202 - Debris Management - June 9-10
G-270-4 - Recovery - June 11-12.

For general information regarding the classes, contact Todd Manns or Robyn Knappe.

National Weather Service and Colorado Broadcasters Association - Statewide Tornado Drill - April 14, 2010

This year, Severe Weather Awareness Week will be observed in Colorado on April 11-17. The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, will initiate a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, April 14, between 9:00 a.m. and 11 a.m. using the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA weather radios. A TEST TORNADO WARNING will be issued by each area office of the National Weather Service including Boulder, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Goodland, KS.

This will be an excellent time for businesses, schools, hospitals, members of the media and emergency management agencies to participate in the drill and test their communications plans and procedures.  During the test times, or anytime during the week, everyone should review and exercise their family communication plans, emergency plans and check their emergency kits.  For more information on specific preparedness steps you can take in Colorado, check out the READYColorado site and, to put your prep in context, be sure to learn more about Colorado Tornado History.

According to the National Weather Service,44 tornados were reported to officials across the state, with nearly 700 reports of hail, severe wind and flash floods.  In 2008, a large and damaging tornado raced through Weld County and the Town of Windsor.  For thunderstorm hazards including tornadoes, flash floods, large hail and damaging winds, the National Weather Service offices will post warning information on their websites and alarm NOAA Weather All-Hazards Radios with new warnings.

The are over two dozen NOAA Weather Radio transmitters broadcasting weather forecast and warning information in Colorado.  In addition, warnings will be transmitted from Weather Radio via the Emergency Alert System to commercial radio, television and cable television.  The Colorado broadcasters have received a waiver from the FCC to participate in this exercise using the EAS and are urging all broadcast facilities to participate in this drill.

The National Weather Service has a website with a map showing all Colorado Watches, Warnings and Advisories and be sure to check out information for your area or where you might travel on the Colorado NOAA Weather Radios and Frequencies site.

Did you know that you can help, too?  To learn more about Colorado thunderstorms, tornadoes, watches and warnings, attend a National Weather Service Skywarn spotter training.  The schedules for the training are located on the National Weather Service websites for Northeast Colorado, Southeast Colorado and Western Colorado.

For NWS-related questions, contact Robert Glancy, WFO Denver Warning Coordination Meteorologist at  For Colorado Broadcasters Association questions and broadcaster participation, contact Marilyn Hogan, President and CEO of the Colorado Broadcasters Association at


Tornado Safety Tips
When a tornado watch is announced, it means conditions are present for a tornado. Keep a radio/TV tuned for further information, and gather emergency supplies. When a Tornado Warning is issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or is imminent. Take shelter immediately.

If you are at home:
  • Go to your basement. 
  • If you have no basement, go to an interior hallway or small interior room on the the lowest floor.
  • Avoid windows.
  • Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover elsewhere.

If you are at work:
  • Go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or a designated shelter.
  • Avoid windows.

If you are at school:
  • Follow instructions of authorities/teachers.
  • Stay out of structures with wide free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms.
If you are in a car or outside:
  • Seek cover in a nearby building, or lie flat in a ditch or ravine.

Mitigation Tips for tornadoes
  • Colorado communities, and in particular eastern plains communities, must prepare and educate residents for the possibility of tornadoes - especially in May, June, and July.
  • Mobile home parks should require tie-downs and provide alternate shelter for residents.
  • Communities can purchase warning systems and individuals can purchase inexpensive tone-activated radios.
  • Construction restrictions should place an emphasis on designs that can withstand tornados and other high winds.

FREE ICS-200 Class - April 19, 2010 - Adams County

Just a note that Adams County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) will host a FREE ICS-200 class on April 19, 2010. Fore more info on registration and class details, read the Adams County LEPC ICS-200 Class Flyer

The Cell - The Future of Terrorism: Homegrown Threats and the U.S. Response Featuring The Honorable Tom Ridge

On April 27, 2010, the Center for Empowered Living and Learning (The CELL), Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and the Denver Post are presenting "The Future of Terrorism: Homegrown Threats and the U.S. Response featuring The Honorable Tom Ridge".

Moderated by the Honorable Craig Stapleton, Former U.S. Ambassador to France, the event will include a presentation by Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of U.S. Homeland Security, an exhibit tour of the "Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism" exhibit and include a reception and program at the Denver Art Museum.

For more info and to RSVP (by April 20, 2010), contact or at (303) 844-4000 ext. 7. The pamphlet for the event is embedded below and contains more details on the speakers and the event.

NPS Wildland Fire Public Information Officer (PIO) Incident Organizer

Lynn Barclay, Fire Mitigation/Education Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, forwarded an interesting link to a Wildland Fire Public Information Officer (PIO) Incident Organizer.  It is posted on the My Fire Community site at  I understand the document was originally created by Michelle Fidler, an National Parks Service Fire Communication and Education Specialist -  While the MS Word booklet is designed specifically for wildland fire, it is an interesting read with many applicable checklists and forms worth reviewing for all-hazards PIO response.  Well worth the read!  Thanks, Lynn!