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Summit County plans large-scale wildfire training exercise

Evacuation and communications seen as critical elements in emergency response

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Summit County emergency responders along U.S. Highway 6 during a June, 2011 fire in Keystone Gulch, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

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FRISCO — Next week’s large-scale emergency response test in Summit County will include door-to-door visits by uniformed officials in the Ruby Ranch, Willowbrook Highlands and Ptarmigan Ranch subdivisions, notifying residents about evacuation procedures in case of a wildfire.

The April 30 exercise includes more than 100 local emergency responders and will test the ability of local agencies to respond to a mock scenario revolving around a number of wildfires which spread due to high winds. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office in particular will be testing plans for evacuation and public information.

Part of the evening operations will be a community open house at Summit Middle School from 5 p.m. to  8:30 p.m, where information on wildfire readiness programs will be available. Members of the public will also have the opportunity to participate in a simulated community meeting regarding wildfire operations and evacuations.

This exercise was designed to test real-time emergency response and coordination between multiple agencies. An emphasis will be placed on evacuation, public warning and public information, resource ordering and incident management. Communications protocols and fatality management coordination between participating agencies and an evacuation of medical facilities will also be tested.

Exercise participants include:

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, Red White and Blue Fire District, Copper Mountain Fire Dept.
  • Summit County Communication Center
  • Summit County Sheriff’s Office
  • The Towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne
  • Summit School District
  • American Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Summit County Ambulance
  • Summit County Public Health, Summit County Department of Social Services
  • Summit County Animal Control and Shelter
  • Summit County Coroner
  • St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, Peak One Surgery Center
  • Northwest Incident Management Team, Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit
  • State of Colorado Office of Emergency Management
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