Avalanche Safety Tips

As the snow returns, so does the risk of avalanches in Colorado.  However, through incredible work by dedicated snow experts using technology to promote education and awareness, the opportunity to be more informed about snow safety, stability and conditions has never been easier or more accessible.  So, at the beginning of this season, take minute to brush up on some Avalanche Safety Tips and check out the new resources in Colorado available to you to stay informed!
  • Take an Avalanche Level 1 Class.  There is nothing you will do in terms of avalanche safety that beats getting together with snow nerds to learn tips, tricks and insights about snow and how it acts.  These classes are open to anyone who is interested or spends time in the backcountry.  An often overlooked recommended audience for these classes are first responders.  If you are in search and rescue, or are a firefighter and involved in over the rail or high/low angle rescue in winter conditions, familiarizing yourself with snow, sounds, and avalanche warnings signs will help enhance your situational awareness and company safety.  Check out the CAIC training calender for course information in your area.
  •  Before heading out, check the current avalanche forecast.  Also check the latest weather forecasts from the National Weather Service.
  • Never Travel Alone.  1) you will have more fun telling stories of adventure later as a group and 2) your friends and fellow adventurers may save your life by providing extra eyes, ears and - if necessary - means of communicating to authorities/help as to where you are if you get trapped.
  • If crossing a slope prone to avalanche's, go one person at a time (see above bullet).  If you are unsure if a slope is prone to avalanche, also see above bullet(s).  In a class, rather than by experience, is where you need to learn to look for angles, snow conditions from your pit, awkward open spaces, trees missing limbs on their bottom half, and other tell-tale signs of the avalanche history of a slope.
Colorado Avalanche Resources
Colorado Avalanche Information Center - http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php - This is your one-stop for information, training and conditions.  Too, check out the CAIC's Twitter Feeds.  They are immensely useful for those in the backcountry or in the area(s) wanting to keep up with the latest regarding avalanche and snow conditions, projections and news (linked below).
CAIC - Steamboat and Flat Tops Info - http://twitter.com/@CAICsteamboat
CAIC - Front Range - http://twitter.com/@CAICfrontrange
CAIC - Vail and Summit County - http://twitter.com/@CAICsummit
CAIC - Sawatch Range - http://twitter.com/@CAICsawatch
CAIC - Aspen - http://twitter.com/@CAICaspen
CAIC - Gunnison - http://twitter.com/@CAICgunnison
CAIC - Grand Mesa - http://twitter.com/@CAICgrandmesa
CAIC - Northern San Juan - http://twitter.com/@CAICnthsanjuan
CAIC - Southern San Juan - http://twitter.com/@CAICsthsanjuan
CAIC - Sangre de Cristo - http://twitter.com/@CAICsangrecrist
CAIC - Off-Season Avalanche Information - http://twitter.com/@CAICstate

Have Fun and Be Safe!

Job Announcement - Hazard Mitigation Project Manager/Planner - AMEC

AMEC is looking to hire a Hazard Mitigation Project Manager/Planner to manage, perform and market hazard mitigation and emergency management services for state and local governments.  You can read the position announcement online and, for questions or to submit your resume/cover letter, contact Carol McAmis at carol.mcamis@amec.com.

A Very Personal Story about Smoke Alarms

Andy's Fire Story from South Metro Fire Rescue on Vimeo.

Thank you for sharing, Andy.

2011 Colorado Annual EM Conference - Preview

2011 Colorado’s Annual Emergency Management Conference
“Situational Awareness: Managing through an Emergency”

March 1 – 3, 2011
Note: Agenda begins at 10:00 a.m Tuesday March 1 and ends Thursday March 3
Conference Costs: $150.00

Embassy Suites Loveland Hotel and Conference Center
4705 Clydesdale Parkway
Loveland, CO 80538
(970) 593-6200

Tuesday March 1 and Wednesday March 2 presentations:

Managing Situational Awareness during an actual emergency, presented by Boulder County
Social Media – Situational Awareness
Information Sharing – Joint Information System
Managing Special/Functional Needs through an emergency
Agency with Jurisdiction
Managing Logistics – Resource Ordering and Management
EOC setup – Brainstorming Session
Navigation through WebEOC, during an emergency
Navigation through EMSystems by CDPHE
211 and how it worked during the Four Mile Fire in Boulder County
National Weather Service - utilizing weather related tools
Maximizing Effective Response Capacity by Minimizing Distraction
Engaging Schools in Emergency Management
Effective Use of HAM Volunteers in the EOC
Area Command
"Why Some Folks Survive Disasters and Others are Victims"
Mitigation Topics to be announced 
Recovery Topics to be announced

Thursday March 3 - Choice of:

a.) COVOAD conference
b.) Legal Issues workshop

This is just a preliminary "heads up" as many of the particulars, the registration site and further details are being hammered out.  We are getting excited about it, though, and couldn't help sharing!  Keep tuned here on www.coemergency.com and www.cemacolorado.com for more info as it becomes available.  

For any additional questions regarding the conference, contact Cindy Vonfeldt at cindy.vonfeldt@state.co.us

Course Announcement - Intermediate ICS Principles - Dec 13-14, 2010 - Pueblo, CO

Pueblo Chemical Depot will be hosting an ICS-300 Intermediate ICS Principles training course from Dec 13-14, 2010.  Registration for the course can be done through http://co.train.org using Course ID 1005860.  For any questions, contact Robyn Knappe at robyn.knappe@state.co.us or at (720) 852-6617.  You can also download a copy of the ICS-300 Pueblo Course flyer online.

2011 Community Specific Integrated Emergency Management Course

APPLICATIONS DUE:  January 11, 2011 to the state's Division of Emergency Management
Contact:  Robyn Knappe - robyn.knappe@state.co.us or (720) 852-6617 
(download the announcement flyer)

The week long exercise based training “Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC)” is designed to take the whole team of professionals (up to 70) from a city or county to the National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, MD for resident training working closely as a team to accomplish community emergency management objectives.

The IEMC program has been conducted for cities, counties, states and regions since 1982.  The IEMC is an exceptional training program held at the National Emergency Training Center.  For the 2012 fiscal year: the deadline for application is late January but to allow for state and FEMA review – all Colorado applications should be submitted to DEM by 1/11/2011. 

Applications are extensive and the chief elected official of the jurisdiction submits a letter of request, addressing the specific criteria to the State of Colorado, Robyn Knappe, State Training Officer, Division of Emergency Management.  The applications will be reviewed and prioritized for inclusion and forwarding to the FEMA Regional office for review.  For more information, contact Robyn Knappe, robyn.knappe@state.co.us or 720-852-6617.  Please notify Robyn of your intent to submit a package so she can make sure the package is complete.

Communities must include the following in the letter of application:
- Application package for a Community Specific IEMC
- Population of jurisdiction
- Brief description of government structure (include organizational chart) clarify if the request is for a single county, city(ies) or both
- Narrative that includes the status of emergency management in the community, including the past disaster history
- Emergency management training and exercise history
- Specific hazards facing the jurisdiction and/or specific hazards addressed in the EOP
- Any major national events or special events planned for the jurisdiction
- The community emergency management objective(s) that will be accomplished through participation in the EIMC program

What does it cost?
Travel and lodging is reimbursable by FEMA if you fit the criteria (see website www.fema.gov). Lodging is dorm style and shuttles are generally available from the airport to Emmitsburg. Participants are required to purchase a meal ticket at EMI, which covers meals during the training event for 4.5 days.  Meals are NOT reimbursable by FEMA.

It is important to assemble a multidisciplinary team of individuals from the same jurisdiction who are committed to the training.

Who should attend?
Elected officials are an important audience.  The IEMC is also designed for management and operations personnel from:
- Fire service
- Law enforcement
- Public works
- Emergency medical
- Business and industry
- Emergency management
- Military
- Government
- Coroner
- Public affairs
- Public health
- Other partners/stakeholders such as: transportation, schools, social service, volunteer agencies, finance, planning, water, parks and recreation, other

Who has attended from Colorado in recent years?
- Adams County
- Arapahoe County
- Colorado Springs
- Boulder
- Denver
- Ft. Collins
- El Paso County
- Jefferson
- Larimer County
- Westminster

Emergency personnel can attain readiness either through managing emergencies or through participating in exercises. Clearly, exercises are the preferred method of gaining the necessary expertise. The Integrated Emergency Management Course, offered by the Emergency Management Institute of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), places public officials and emergency personnel in a realistic crisis situation within a structured learning environment. Early in the course, an emergency scenario begins to unfold in sequence with classroom-style lectures, discussions and small-group workshops. As the course progresses, scenario-related events of increasing complexity, threat, and pressure occur. Participants develop emergency policies, plans, and procedures to ensure an effective response. The course culminates in an emergency exercise designed to test participant knowledge, awareness, flexibility, leadership, and interpersonal skills under extreme pressure. Participants are challenged to use the new ideas, skills, and abilities in addition to their own knowledge and experience. In this way, the Integrated Emergency Management Course allows individuals to rehearse their real-life roles in a realistic emergency situation, while at the same time identifying additional planning needs.

Each year various States, counties, cities, and Indian communities throughout the United States express an interest in FEMA/EMI conducting an IEMC for their jurisdictions emergency management officials and responders. Community specific IEMC's require a major commitment from both the community and FEMA, as well as from the FEMA regional office and State office of emergency management involved. Because the demand for community specific IEMC's exceeds the resources to deliver them, application criteria and a formal selection process have been established as follows: 
- Steps in the Application/Selection Process http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/iemc/selprocess.asp
- The chief elected official of the jurisdiction submits a letter of request, addressing the specified criteria, to his/her respective State office of emergency management.
- If the State office of emergency management supports the request, it should attach a letter of endorsement outlining how acceptance of this request will meet State emergency management objectives. Note: At this stage in the request, the State may elect not to forward the request but, instead, work with the community (especially if the community is under 100,000 in population) to conduct the G110 Emergency Management Operations Course (EMOC) for the community.
- If approved by the State office, the request should be forwarded to FEMA Region VIII Training for review. The FEMA Regional office, if it supports the application, should include an endorsement for each community it recommends. If more than one jurisdiction is submitted, the FEMA region should prioritize its recommendations.

Applications should be received at the FEMA Regional Headquarters and forwarded to FEMA National Headquarters. EMI staff and FEMA program office representatives will review the applications and rank them based on regional priority and information provided in the requests. Acceptance will be made by Spring 2011 for the year 2012. Jurisdictions can set the dates they want to attend.

Communities that have been accepted will be notified, as will communities that were not accepted. Appropriate FEMA regional offices and State emergency management offices also will be notified.
Communities that were not selected and that want to be reconsidered for the following year must re-apply. Applications will not automatically be considered for the following year.
Communities must include the following in their letter of application:
- A letter of support signed by the highest official in the jurisdiction.
- Population of jurisdiction.
- A brief description of the government structure (include organizational chart if possible); clarify if the request is for a single county or city or a combination of both.
- A narrative that includes the status of emergency management in the community, including past disaster history.
- Emergency management training and exercise history.
- Specific hazards facing the jurisdiction and/or specific hazards requested to be addressed in the IEMC.
- Any major national events or special events planned for the jurisdiction, such as sporting events, conventions, etc.
- The community emergency management objective(s) that will be accomplished.
- Types of Community Specific Programs

The following types of community specific programs are available to federal, state, local, and tribal communities:
- IEMC All Hazards Response and Recovery
- IEMC All Hazards Preparedness and Response
- IEMC All Hazards Recovery and Mitigation
- IEMC Earthquake Response and Recovery
- IEMC Earthquake Preparedness and Response
- IEMC Earthquake Recovery and Mitigation
- IEMC Hurricane Response and Recovery
- IEMC Hurricane Preparedness and Response
- IEMC Hurricane Recovery and Mitigation
- IEMC Hazardous Materials Preparedness and Response
- IEMC Consequences of Terrorism
- IEMC Special Events (For local and State emergency management)
- IEMC State Government (For State Emergency Management Agencies)

If you cannot assemble a team from an entitiy individuals can take many of the IEMC’s at EMI with a team of individuals from around the country. Call or email Robyn Knappe 720-852-6617 or at robyn.knappe@state.co.us for more information.

Website:  www.fema.gov  Training and Education – Community Specific IEMC

Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Teams Recruiting for Vacancies/Trainees

The Rocky Mountain Area (RMA) Coordinating Group is recruiting fill several incident management team (IMT) vacancies and unassigned trainees for all IMTs and Rocky Basin Buying Teams for 2011.  Each of the four IMTs in the RMA have slightly different needs/positions, so all interested individuals are encouraged to apply.  This is a great opportunity to serve, gain experience and make a difference.  Learn more about the RMA Recruitment Announcement and get application information online.

Denver UASI Presents: Shared Strategies for Homeland Security

Just a reminder - In December 2010, Denver's Urban Area Security Initiative Program will be hosting a unique homeland security conference titled, "Denver UASI Presents:  Shared Strategies for Homeland Security".  Like many agencies and partners across the area, we are pitching in here at the Division to help support and participate in the conference.  As a part of this support, I recently got a sneak peek at the developing speaker's list and jumped at the chance to help!

Actually... in reading details on the speakers and participants, Denver UASI is going to be hosting what appears to be 4 conferences in 1 with the primary goal of bringing together emergency managers/first responders, healthcare professionals, business and critical infrastructure representatives and community preparedness and resiliency experts together to share ideas on how to improve collective security.  Organized by tracks to help subject matter experts share ideas within their areas and then through combined, joint sessions with the other tracks, the conference will be a ground-breaking effort in information-sharing.

While there are more details available about the conference schedule and speakers on the Conference's blog site at http://sharedstrategiesblog.com, I can pass on that the conference will host Israeli improvised explosive device (IED) experts, representatives from the Israeli emergency medical services, including from Magan David Adom, and a growing number of national experts in warning systems, initial/first response, emergency medical services, legal issues and social media. 

For more on the conference, check out the following:

FEMA Resources for Emergency Managers and Personnel

If you are in emergency management and have not checked in with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's resource page for Emergency Managers and Personnel page, you are missing out.

On the page, emergency managers will find information and links spanning the National Incident Management System, Grants, Training, Contacts, Response and Recovery, Planning, Best Practices and additional resources.  By combining a solid landing page for basic FEMA links to training and daily reports as well as links on to lessons learned and best practices resource, it is a simple and useful bookmark in your emergency management resource links.  In particular, the Best Practices section highlights mitigation best practices and case studies, as well as exemplay practices in emergency management from the Partnerships in Preparedness series.  Both of these series draw upon actual case studies at the local, state and federal level that you might find applicable in your community or region. 

The page provides an easy-to-navigate interface and gets you in to the basic or more detailed information quickly.  It is definitely worth a minute to check out!

Inaugural Colorado Emergency Management Academy

This week, the Division launched its' inaugural Colorado Emergency Management Academy. The goal of the Academy is to equip newer emergency managers with hands-on preparedness/mitigation, planning, response and recovery skills to allow them to be confident and competent in handling a disaster in their jurisdiction.  Thirty applicants were accepted to be a part of this first class for 2010/2011 year.

The program schedule spans nine months, anchored by a series of resident courses with one course per quarter until July 2011.  Outside the classroom series, participants must also complete a number of independent study courses online.  In order to be accepted to the program, applicants must complete seven FEMA courses, called the Professional Development Series, as prerequisites in addition to other training.  In July 2011, the participants will attend the culminating training event for a week-long resident set of courses designed to meet the Advanced Professional Series and build strong emergency response skills.

Congratulations to the emergency management cadre selected from across the State of Colorado that includes city, county, higher education, law enforcement and tribal emergency managers and their staff members. DEM's State Training Officer, Robyn Knappe stated “The cross section of talent all in one room is going to be exciting to work with for the coming months. We all look forward to the training series.”

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

Job Announcement - City of Colorado Springs Fire Department Principal Analyst - Public Communications

The City of Colorado Springs Fire Department is hiring a Principal Analyst - Public Communications.  The position will oversee, direct and coordinate the operations and activities of the Fire Department's public/local media relations and collaborate wit the City's Public Information Officer about matters related to emergency communications.  The candidate will provide public information responses for emergency and non-emergent fire department requests; develop and implement the department's community education, community relations an communication goals/objectives; and ensure program compliance with state and other applicable governing rules, regulations and standards.

The interviews for this position will take place on or about the week of November 25, 2010.  The City of Colorado Springs application is online at http://www.springsgov.comThe application must be received no later than 11:59 PM on November 12, 2010.