Disaster practice to take place at Shadow Mountain area
August 22, 2013
Craig — In the midst of a disaster, one of the best ways to keep people alive is to keep people prepared.
Moffat County Emergency Management will be orchestrating a disaster exercise, which will involve several local and state agencies from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The exercise also will call on residents of the Shadow Mountain area to join in.
"We've been planning for this for six months or so," Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Soos said. "We're hoping to create some public awareness."
While Shadow Mountain residents are not required to take part by evacuating their homes, Soos hopes they will want to because the exercise will give them the tools to develop a personal disaster strategy.
"We encourage people to participate. This is an opportunity that doesn't come around every day," he said.
Red Cross is getting involved by setting up the evacuation shelter. Dan Bingham, area leader for the Red Cross, agreed that it would be a chance for residents to come up with a plan for an emergency situation.
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"We'll actually be setting up a shelter, and it will be fully operational," he said. "It serves as a training opportunity for the public."
The public can go to the shelter that will be at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, where they will watch training videos and get insights into what items they always should have at the ready in case a fire or other event pushes them out of their houses.
"It will only take 20 to 30 minutes of their time," Bingham said.
Many agencies are involved with the exercise, including the fire department, emergency services, The Memorial Hospital and even a hazmat team, Soos said.
The scenario will deal with the possibility of a hazardous materials spill and was funded in part by a grant through the state office of emergency management.
TMH will be running its own evacuation drill, but this will not affect the day-to-day operation of business, Soos said.
Jennifer Riley, chief of organizational excellence at TMH, said it will help the hospital get an idea of how it could handle an emergency.
"We are using it as a drill to make sure we are ready if we ever have to do an evacuation," she said. "It will give us a good opportunity to see what systems are in place, what works for us and what has room for improvement."
TMH will not be evacuating actual patients, but available staff members will be transporting mannequins, Soos said.
"A lot of our participation will depend on whether our staff can participate," Riley said.
Moffat County Emergency Management will put out a code red message Friday and Saturday to prepare and notify residents in the area if they wish to participate, Soos said.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com