Quandary: A look at Summit’s evacuation procedure | SummitDaily.com

Quandary: A look at Summit’s evacuation procedure

Firefighting helicopters allow for more precise drops than air tankers, such as type-one helicopter, which can drop 1,000 gallons of water at a time. This is just one of many tools at firefighters' disposal when battling a fire in the High Country.
Courtesy of Joel Cochran / Summit County Emergency Management |

Dear Quandary,

What’s Summit’s emergency evacuation plan?

In case you hadn’t noticed, people are pretty much the minority in Summit. Far more land is occupied by furry friends, tall trees and dirt tracks than by your homes. This means there is plenty of fuel for any fire that gets started deep in the county’s forest and not a lot of eyeballs to know exactly when and where it happened. Luckily, the fire departments here are on top of things and will respond as soon as any report of a forest fire surfaces. This means you need to be vigilant, and if you suspect a fire, check to make sure it is not a controlled burn then report the smoke.

If the fire cannot be contained and threatens a developed area, the incident commander may make a call for an evacuation. Don’t be stubborn; if the call comes through, realize it is for your safety and you are best to get what you can and high-tail it out of town. If you make an evacuation plan ahead of time it will be much easier to quickly get yourself and your prized possessions out of your home. Realize not everything in your home needs to go with you; your safety should come above that trophy you won for the third-grade spelling bee, but if you have time to get a blanket for a goat that needs someplace a little less warm to crash for a few days, that would be nice.

So you’ve packed up your vital records, your blankets and, hopefully, your children, now where do you go? That information will also be communicated at the time of evacuation when a command center is established.

If you’re worried you won’t get the message, be aware that there are multiple methods used to contact people in need of evacuation. These include reverse 911 calls, Twitter, text messaging, radio, emergency alert system, public addresses and even going door-to-door. Again, try to be prepared: Make sure you’re set up with the local alert systems and follow the various emergency service groups on Twitter. While a fire is blazing is not the time to try to learn new technologies, so if 140 characters didn’t pop into your head right away, maybe get some help setting that one up and use it as your backup alert system. As always, be prepared, and if you have questions, talk with an official or visit the Summit County website.

Quandary, an old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to any question about life, love and laws in the High Country. Have a question for Quandary? Send an email to quandary@summitdaily.com

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