News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: May 30, 2019

Summit County Conducts Emergency Hazmat Exercise May 30-31

Firetruck - Hazmat exercise

Emergency response agencies will participate in a simulated hazardous materials release in the upper Snake River Basin

Contact: Brian Bovaird, Director, Summit County Emergency Management, 970-485-5339 

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Office of Emergency Management and several partner organizations are conducting a full-scale hazardous-materials response exercise on Thursday and Friday, May 30-31, in the upper Snake River Basin. The exercise serves as a training opportunity for more than 100 emergency responders, hospital personnel and public officials from multiple organizations throughout the state.

Participating agencies will respond to a simulated hazardous materials release in the vicinity of Peru Creek, which leads to injuries among a handful of bystanders, as well as downstream water quality concerns. The fictional release is designed to test real-time emergency response and coordination among multiple organizations at the local, state and federal levels.

Emphasis is placed on resource ordering, interoperable communications, emergency public warning and information, access and functional needs support, emergency sheltering, patient reunification and incident management. In previous years, Summit County has conducted exercises based on a variety of scenarios, including wildfires, disease outbreaks, acts of violence and ski lift accidents, among others.

“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.”

The Northwest Colorado Incident Management Team (NWIMT), which is trained to assume control over complex emergency incidents in a 10-county region including Summit County, will participate in the exercise. NWIMT's involvement will allow local agencies to practice the execution of a delegation of authority to the team. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Colorado Office of Emergency Management Director Mike Willis will be present for a portion of the incident on Friday morning to observe the interactions between local responders and NWIMT. 

"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."

Uniformed personnel and emergency vehicles may be visible in the vicinity of Montezuma Road and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center on Thursday and Friday. Public information officers will post test messages to the emergency blog on the Summit County website.

Agencies and organizations participating in Wednesday’s exercise include the Summit County Office of Emergency Management, Summit County Public Health, Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, NWIMT, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado National Guard Civil Support Team, Summit County Ambulance Service, Summit Fire & EMS, Red, White & Blue Fire, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, Summit County 911 Center, Peak One Surgery Center, Summit County Human Services, American Red Cross, Summit County Sheriff's Office, Frisco Police Department and Silverthorne Police Department, among other partners.

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