War situation prompts few tighter security measures

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Imminent war in Iraq will trigger few heightened security measures at key area companies or entities, officials said Tuesday.

At least not much beyond security steps added following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"Probably the biggest thing you'll see is more law enforcement," said Tyler Whitmore, public safety director at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Whitmore said travelers should arrive a half hour earlier than normal for departing flights, as random inspections of cars entering the airport are likely to be planned.

"Nothing really would change as far as passenger check-in," he said.

Whitmore said the airport tightened various gated access points after Sept. 11, while the airport's baggage screening services have received the most attention -- work now done by Transportation Security Administration staff.

"We've never really relaxed since Sept. 11," Whitmore added.

The possibility of new terrorist attacks with a strike on Iraq led the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Monday to raise national threat levels to "orange," or high.

That's meant a review of heightened security measures taken by local facilities -- potentially attractive terrorist targets -- since Sept. 11, said Clyde Anderson, Moffat County emergency manager.

"I'm comfortable that everybody has taken steps to a level they're satisfied with," Anderson said.

Monday's alert also kicked in new security measures at the Moffat County Public Safety Center -- steps that Anderson wouldn't discuss.

Beyond that, Anderson said it's a wait-and-see approach.

"We've increased vigilance, but other than that we'll see how things progress," he said.

Anderson, however, recommends residents take some basic preparedness steps: Enough food, bottled water, medications, fuel or whatever other items essential to get by over a 72-hour period.

"People need to be prepared at a level they're comfortable with," he said.

Meanwhile, the area's dominant coal mining operations -- ColoWyo and Trapper Mine -- said no extraordinary security will be added in the coming days.

Local ColoWyo officials deferred comment to the company's Gillette, Wyo., corporate ownership.

"We feel like we maintain very secure sites already," said Charlene Murdoch, manager of public and state affairs with Kennecott

Energy.

"We've already strengthened policies relating to pre-arrival at the site by vendors," Murdoch said.

Security measures implemented after Sept. 11 have twice been audited, she said.

Trapper Mine's gated entrance and surveillance equipment for arriving vendors was added post Sept. 11, said Steve Hafey, Trapper Mine personnel manager.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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