County emergency services conduct hazmat response exercises Thursday and Friday |

County emergency services conduct hazmat response exercises Thursday and Friday

The Summit County Office of Emergency Management, along with partner organizations across the county, conducted a hazardous materials exercise Thursday and will be conducting another training exercise Friday.

The exercises, which are taking place in the Upper Snake River Basin, serve as training opportunities for more than 100 emergency responders, hospital personnel and public officials throughout the county.

During the exercises, participating agencies will respond to a simulated hazmat release near Peru Creek and are asked to deal with injured bystanders and water quality concerns. The idea is to simulate a real-time emergency response with coordination among multiple organizations.

“We designed this scenario to present a level of complexity that prompts public safety responders to engage our regional, state and federal partners,” Summit County Emergency Management director Brian Bovaird said. “These exercises give us the opportunity to test our systems and ensure we’re prepared to collaborate with one another in response to a wide range of emergencies that could affect multiple jurisdictions.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Colorado Office of Emergency Management director Mike Willis will be present for a portion of the mock incident Friday, and representatives with the Northwest Colorado Incident Management Team will be joining local responders in the exercise.

During the exercise, uniformed emergency personnel and vehicles may be visible in the vicinity of Montezuma Road and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. Public information officers also will be posting messages on the county’s emergency blog.

“It can be challenging when an incident changes hands, which is why we felt it would be valuable to practice that process,” Bovaird said. “One of the biggest concerns during a major incident is the continuity of public safety services to the community in response to daily 911 calls. The efficient and smooth integration of an incident management team is a critical piece of maintaining our local response capabilities.”

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