Cheyenne Mountain Zoo holds fire drill - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo holds fire drill

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo holds wildland fire drill. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo holds wildland fire drill.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo held a special fire drill Thursday to practice what would happen in the event of a wildland fire.

The zoo shut down at 2:00 p.m. in order to hold the drill in as realistic conditions as possible. There will also be an overnight power outage to test the cold weather preparedness of the facility. The outage may result in a temporary website outage from Thursday evening to around noon on Friday.

"Monthly safety drills are a requirement of the accreditation we receive from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, " said Bob Chastain, president and CEO of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. "While we run a wildland fire drill every year to ensure we have a workable plan, we are going all out this year to ensure maximum realistic circumstances and staging. In order to accomplish that, we also have to simulate the fact that guests would not be in the Zoo if danger was eminent."

The fire plan at the zoo is a mix of evacuation plans and development of safe zones for the animals. The plan was developed with the help of the fire department and take into account how difficult and stressful moving some of the animals could be. There are safe zones identified throughout the property, where animals can be moved from their enclosures and cared for by trained zoo staff.

In those areas the buildings are made of fire resistant material, they have sprinklers and other fire suppression systems and they have been fire-mitigated. For the animals that can't be moved there are enclosures that have defensible spaces. Those spaces have sprinkler systems and buffers in place to help keep the fire from reaching the animals.

The zoo would also be able to use many of the same techniques that the fire department uses when trying to protect neighborhoods by laying down foam, wet lines, dry lines and removing flammable items.  

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