Town of Vail conducts wildfire training exercise Thursday | VailDaily.com

Town of Vail conducts wildfire training exercise Thursday

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Emergency responders from in and around Vail will participate in a daylong wildfire training exercise Thursday to test the coordination of emergency response plans from multiple agencies. The training will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and will actively involve responders from the town’s police, fire and public works departments, as well as Vail Resorts.

Other agencies that have been invited to participate include the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol, Eagle County Ambulance District, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Grand Junction Interagency Dispatch Center, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit, Holy Cross Energy, Vail Communications Center, Vail Valley Medical Center and the U.S. Forest Service.

The training will simulate a wildfire scenario which threatens Vail neighborhoods as well as structures on Vail Mountain. The exercise will test a mock activation of fire suppression crews and equipment, as well as simulated evacuations. In addition, emergency communication systems will be tested as well as protocols for public notification.

The training is part of an ongoing effort by Vail’s emergency responders to improve coordination and collaboration with other partner agencies in the case of a large-scale incident. The exercise will be staged from Donovan Pavilion and will include use of other designated sites for distribution of supplies and other resources. Responders will also be going door-to-door to simulate an evacuation and will be asking the mock evacuees to fill out a mailback survey to help identify ways to improve the evacuation process.– –

While emergency vehicles will be seen throughout town during the exercise, crews have been asked to refrain from using lights and sirens to minimize the impact to Vail’s commercial core areas and neighborhoods. Disruptions to Vail Mountain summer activities, such as the gondola operations and hiking and biking, will also be kept to a minimum.

Fire Chief Mark Miller says the exercise serves as a timely reminder for citizens to review the town’s evacuation procedures which are posted on the town’s Web site at http://www.vailgov.com/evac. The evacuation plan includes use of an emergency notification system that will alert residents and visitors via land line telephone. Those who subscribe to the Eagle County alert system at http://www.ecalert.org will receive notification via e-mail, page or text message. Special needs, such as anyone using electrical medical equipment that may be affected during a power outage or those requiring assistance evacuating, should report their circumstance to the Vail Police Department in advance of an emergency by calling 479-2200.

Chief Miller says the upcoming exercise creates the additional 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 Colorado Web site at http://www.readycolorado.com are recommended resources. The Web sites provide suggestions on items to include in a household supply kit and tips to develop a family emergency communications plan.

For more information about the training exercise and public preparedness programs, call Miller at 970-477-3474.