Garfield County Drill Friday

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jimmnn

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About a dozen agencies are taking part in an emergency training drill at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus on Friday, Nov. 13, from 8:30 to noon.

Because emergency vehicles will be going up and down County Road 114, we’re asking people to avoid being on the road during that time if possible. If they need to be on CR 114 between Highway 82 and CMC, they should watch for emergency vehicles.

This is a drill, a learning exercise for all of us. If a true emergency were to happen, we would stop the drill immediately.

The scenario is allowing all the participating agencies to test our emergency preparedness plans and learn how we can best work together in the event of an actual emergency.

Thank you for your patience as we practice our safety drill.

Initial comm plan looks like MAC-17, 20 and Garco MAC-1

Jim<
 
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jimmnn

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For Immediate Release
Nov. 13, 2009
[Media contact: Debbie Crawford, Colorado Mountain College’s public information officer, 384-8535, dcrawford@coloradomtn.edu]

Mock carbon monoxide drill helps CMC, emergency agencies learn how to respond together
‘Ill’ students take part at Spring Valley

By Mike McKibbin

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – An “unconscious” Colorado Mountain College student rolled out the front door of Sopris Hall at the Spring Valley Center, slumped over in a desk chair.

Another “ill” student went into convulsions on the ground outside the residence hall, as emergency medical responders prepared to lift him onto a gurney.

Both students, along with 15 others, quickly recovered, though, as their “conditions” were part of a mock mass casualty incident drill Nov. 13.

When emergency services personnel arrived at his dorm room, said second-year student Lucas Arnold, “I was supposed to be unconscious. And they decided to put me in the chair and roll me outside.”

The drill in the residence hall centered on a carbon monoxide leak, chosen to raise people’s awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide exposure, especially after such a leak caused the tragic loss of a family in Aspen a year ago. College leaders wanted to practice using a scenario that would cause less-obvious injuries than those involving fake blood from physical “injuries.”

Along with college students, faculty and staff, members of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District, Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Burning Mountains Fire Protection District, Aspen Ambulance, SourceGas, Drager, Garfield and Pitkin County emergency dispatch centers, Medical Reserve Corps, and Valley View, Grand River and Aspen Valley hospitals took part as participants or observers.

The drill began at 8:30 a.m., when an alarm sounded in the residence hall, indicating a carbon monoxide leak. A CMC student pulled the fire alarm for a building evacuation.

As students began to evacuate, Laurie Corwin, assistant coordinator of student life at Spring Valley, stepped in. Some students complained to her of illness, while other students could not leave, possibly because of carbon monoxide exposure. A 911 call told emergency dispatchers, who’d been informed previously of the drill, that many ill people might be involved.

Corwin served as the initial incident commander and activated the college’s emergency response team. She met the first emergency response unit, led by Gary McElwee of Carbondale Fire, when they arrived. As overall incident commander, McElwee took over responsibility for coordinating dozens of participants for the remainder of the drill, which ended at 11 a.m.

Over the past year, college administrators, faculty and staff have trained under the National Incident Management System, a framework for coordinating responses to major emergencies and disasters involving multiple agencies, jurisdictions and levels of government. The system helps support a coordinated, standardized response with emergency services and other agencies.

Carla Malmquist, Roaring Fork Campus CEO and a college vice president, said she was pleased with the outcome of the drill.

“It brought to light some things to improve on, but they were pretty minor things,” she said. “Our focus was on the safety of our students, faculty and staff and we wanted to test how we communicate with all these agencies. I think we did well.

“We’re three miles up the hill (from Colorado Highway 82, on County Road 114), so the response time won’t be the same as in the city,” Malmquist said. “That makes it even more important to know what we need to do until the responders arrive.”

Incident Commander Gary McElwee had praise for the CMC emergency response team.

“It really helped us that you secured the building and didn’t allow anyone inside,” he said at a post-incident debriefing. “You also had people to direct us to the areas we needed to be. That meant we had more firefighters (to search rooms). Keep doing what you’re doing.”
 
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