City partners with County, others to host full-scale emergency exercise Saturday
The City of Colorado Springs' Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has partnered with El Paso County and 35 other local, state and federal agencies to test the region's response to a fire along the City?s western edge this Saturday. The "Up in Smoke" exercise features scenario elements to challenge fire response, neighborhood evacuation, shelter establishment, mass casualty treatment and public information dissemination.
The El Paso County Office of Emergency Management, the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County will be establishing a mass care shelter. The primary goal is to test the ability to care for people with disabilities as well as people with chronic but stable medical conditions at the shelter. The County?s Animal Response Team will be co-locating a pet shelter at the Red Cross Shelter to test their ability to care for companion animals. The location for the mass care portion of the exercise is the Calvary Chapel Eastside at 5070 Edison Ave in Colorado Springs.
Costs for the exercise are paid for by a grant from federal grant funds.
"All these partner agencies spend a great deal of time planning about how to respond during emergencies, but we believe we must execute and continue to work together in realistic conditions in order to be really prepared," explained Bret Waters, City OEM manager. "These sorts of exercises allow us to learn from our errors when lives are not on the line." Residents, motorists and passersby may see a concentration of police or fire activity in Southwest Colorado Springs for much of Saturday as personnel respond to changing scenarios associated with the exercise.Among the agencies participating are, from the federal level: National Weather Service - Pueblo; Federal Emergency Management Agency - Region VIII; U.S. Air Force Academy Fire Department; U.S. Army - Evans Army Community Hospital; U.S. Army - Fort Carson Fire Department; from the state level: Civil Air Patrol - Colorado Wing; Colorado Division of Emergency Management; from the local level: Amateur Radio Emergency Services; Red Cross - Pikes Peak Chapter; Cheyenne Mountain Fire Department; Cimarron Hills Fire Department; Colorado Springs Fire Department; Colorado Springs Police Department; Colorado Springs Communications; Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management; Colorado Springs Safety; Colorado Springs Utilities; Donald Wescott Fire Department; El Paso County Public Health; El Paso County Sheriff?s Office; Fountain Fire Department; Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center; Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County; Memorial Health System - Central; Memorial Health System - North; Parkview Medical Center; Penrose Hospital; Pikes Peak Metropolitan Medical Response System; Pikes Peak Regional Hospital; Pueblo Fire Department; St. Francis Medical Center; St. Mary Corwin Hospital; St. Thomas More Hospital; St. Vincent General Hospital; Southwest Highway 115 Fire Department; Stratmoor Fire Protection District; Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District; University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS); and volunteer citizens of the region.