Vail’s fire, police chiefs to host evacuation preparedness live-stream
Monday session will be available on the town's Facebook Live feed and will be archived
Planning for a wildfire is always a good idea, but is more important this year. Vail officials Monday will hold a different kind of seminar on evacuation planning.
Due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vail Fire Chief Mark Novak and Police Chief Dwight Henninger will hold a session on evacuation via a Facebook Live stream. The event begins Aug. 31 at 2 p.m.
A moderator will select audience questions, and Novak and Henninger will provide answers.
Novak said the online format may have some advantages over in-person sessions.
“People may come to an event and hear the information, but we know that a week later they may only remember 20% of what they heard,” Novak said. In this case, with archived video, people can go back to refresh their memories.
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“There’s the downside of not having the face time (with residents),” Novak said. But, he added, he sees the Monday session as a valuable resource, since it will be archived on line.
While much of the information will be familiar to those who have listened before, Novak said there are new twists to mass evacuations in the COVID-19 era. The biggest change is that evacuees these days are often put into hotels instead of school gyms and churches.
High Five Access Media will produce the session. High Five manager J.K. Perry said Monday’s session will be a first test of putting events into a Facebook Live format.
“The streaming sessions are about reaching people where they are,” Perry said. And, he added, it helps create a framework for reaching people in case of emergency.
The Monday stream will use existing technology. But, Perry said, High Five has gotten to the point in the past couple of years where the organization can do “great-looking” productions with its people and equipment.
And, Perry said, the pandemic has produced some positives, particularly regarding local government and transparency.
“It’s an opportunity to be interactive — you can ask leaders pertinent questions.”
Novak added that on-line resources are a good way to reach people in a hurry. He noted that fire can move quickly, and move a long distance. The Pine Gulch near Grand Junction, now the state’s largest-ever wildfire has spread east to west from DeBeque, east of Grand Junction, to the Douglas Pass area northwest of that city.
The Grizzly Creek fire quickly spread from No Name, on the west end of Glenwood Canyon, to the canyon’s eastern edges just west of Dotsero.
“It’s not good that (the fires) occurred,” Novak said. “But it’s a reminder of what fire can do in the right circumstances.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.