Emergency agencies prep for full county
SUMMIT COUNTY – The county’s Incident Management Team (IMT) is ready to handle a variety of “what ifs” in light of three big events converging on the county this weekend.The Gravity Games begin at Copper Mountain Thursday and run through Sunday, a rail jam is scheduled for Friday night on Frisco’s Main Street and the Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer snowshoe race is on Saturday at Frisco’s Nordic center.Copper Mountain will also host a Jurassic 5 concert Saturday afternoon. “We anticipate a very, very full county,” said Lake Dillon Fire Authority Deputy Chief Jeff Berino. While the Copper Mountain Fire Department has its own plans to handle the expected crowd at the resort, the county’s IMT is preparing as well, just in case the festivities spill outside the resort.The IMT is composed of about two dozen representatives from local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, the Red Cross and the health department.The group met last week when it discussed the two most likely complications – traffic accidents or adverse weather.”If there’s a backup or bottleneck on Interstate 70, or worse I-70 closes, what do we do with 30,000 to 40,000 people in the county?” Berino posed as a possible scenario.Summit County schools and recreation centers are already identified as emergency housing options, but since this will be a large-scale event, Berino said fire stations and other public buildings could be used, if necessary.Berino said a worst-case scenario would be a traffic accident involving hazardous materials. Summit County Sheriff John Minor said the contingency planning is more about gaining valuable experience than anything else.”We’re not anticipating anything major happening, but it’s good training for us,” Minor said.The Copper Mountain Fire Department has established its own incident command system, but is in full cooperation with the county to make sure everyone’s resources are lined up and can be accessed efficiently,” Chief Scott Randolph said.”I feel this is probably the best-planned event I’ve ever seen, but we’re trying to be prepared as we can be,” Randolph said.That means staffing an extra fire engine, which will be funded by permit fees from the event.The department has also made one of its vehicles available to transport patients to the medical center if Summit County ambulances are already in use.The Summit County Ambulance Service will have a vehicle and a supervisor stationed at Copper Mountain on Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday.Lake Dillon Fire Authority will staff an extra engine for the weekend and most law enforcement agencies will also beef up personnel.”I’m sure it will be nothing more than just a crowded weekend,” Berino said. “We’re hoping everyone just drives safe, uses common sense and is patient.”Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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