Emergency exercise planned for Lionshead
VAIL – Emergency crews from Vail, Eagle County and throughout Northwest Colorado, along with state and federal teams, will take part in a training exercise in Vail later this month. Coordinated by the Emergency Management Division of the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the exercise is scheduled for May 21 to May 24 in Lionshead. The event is the first of its kind to take place on the Western Slope.The four-day training exercise will involve a simulated building collapse at a construction site in Lionshead and will include as many as 200 local, state and federal emergency workers. Vail Resorts a has offered the Sunbird building, formerly employee housing and commercial space, as well as the former Vail Associates administrative offices, locally referred to as the old gondola building.”It gives state and federal participants an opportunity to explore the complexities and challenges that can be found in smaller communities while providing a venue for Vail and Eagle County to polish their first responder capabilities,” said Stuart Pike, homeland security exercise coordinator with the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger, who is helping to organize the exercise, says the simulation will be beneficial in numerous ways.”This will give us a chance to establish our emergency operations center for the town and practice the planning and coordination of activities that will take place should such a center ever be needed in our community,” he said. In addition, Henninger says the event creates an opportunity for public safety agencies to remind citizens about preparedness planning in their homes, which includes maintaining a food and water supply for a 72-hour period in case of an emergency. The American Red Cross Web site at http://www.redcross.org and the Ready America site at http://www.ready.gov are resources recommended by Henninger. The Web sites provide suggestions on items to include in a household supply kit and tips to develop a family emergency communications plan. Public safety officials also plan to test the Vail reverse 911 system by contacting households and businesses affected by the simulation. Agencies scheduled to participate in the training include: Eagle County Emergency Management Office, Colorado Division of Emergency Management, Vail Public Safety Communications Center, Vail Police, Vail Fire, Urban Search and Rescue Team, Eagle County Health Service District and other Northwest Colorado emergency responders, Vail Valley Medical Center, Vail Resorts, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Salvation Army.For more information, contact Henninger at 479-2218.Vail, Colorado
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