COLORADO SPRINGS — Our city is no stranger to wildfire, with the threat of an incident a year-round concern. To help keep our community members new and old educated on the threat, the Colorado Springs Fire Department will host at least 20 meetings from Spring through Summer across the city.
According to CSFD, "these informative meetings will encourage residents to engage in a conversation about wildfires specific to what area of town they live in."
The Living with Wildfire Town Hall Series will begin in the southwestern portion of the city, south of Highway 24 and west of Interstate 25. Each session is specific to people who live in the neighborhoods where the events are taking place.
All of the meetings will cover the same topics:
- How to prepare your home for wildfire
- Creating a wildfire action plan
- Knowing when and how to evacuate
Details on future sessions are not yet available, however you can visit the department's page on the town hall series to keep up to date. The department is also posting recordings of those meetings within the link.
The May 5 meeting is for residents who live south of Garden of the Gods, north of Hwy. 24 and west of I-25 in the Westside, Old Colorado City, Mesa, Mesa Springs, Hillside, Downtown, Holland Park, Kissing Camels, Cedar Heights, Garden of the Gods, and Pleasant Valley neighborhoods.
Thursday, May 5th
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Colorado Springs Masonic Center
1150 Panorama Dr., Colorado Springs
The May 10 and 12 meetings are for residents who live north of Hwy 24, south of Woodmen Rd, north of Garden of the Gods, and west of I-25 in the Mountain Shadows, Pinecliff, Rockrimmon, Peregrine, and Woodmen Valley neighborhoods.
Tuesday, May 10
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Woodmen Valley Chapel
280 E Woodmen Road, Colorado Springs
Thursday, May 12
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Foothills Elementary School
825 Allegheny Drive, Colorado Springs
After action reports from some of the biggest and most devastating wildfires in our state’s history show in many cases the effort to get emergency alerts out to people in danger areas came up short. News5 talks to emergency response experts about the challenges facing emergency alert systems and how we can make sure to get the alerts you need.
In 2012, more than 10,000 calls designed to warn people to evacuate during the Waldo Canyon Fire never reached the people they were intended to help, it was an eye-opening discovery.
The good news is the El Paso-Teller County emergency alert system has gone through significant changes and improvements since then to try to reach the most people possible, but the best strategy is to make sure you and the people you care about are signed up to get these alerts in multiple ways and on multiple devices.
News5 discovered about 63,000 people are signed up for the peak alert system serving El Paso and Teller counties, but officials would like to see that number be between 300,000 and 400,000.
”These messages are designed to save people and we can’t always save property right? First responders are doing their best to try to save property, but the whole intent is the imminent threat to life,” Bills told News5.
Multiple recent wildfires with evacuations in Colorado have the attention of emergency managers. “As we see more evacuations I think we should be more cognisant,” said Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, Director, Jim Reid. The concern is that the winter wildfires could be a precursor to rising danger during summer months.
It is reason for individuals and families to evaluate their own plans in the event of evacuation “Here’s the deal,” said Reid, “When we tell you to leave, leave. You don’t have two minutes, you don’t have three minutes, you don’t have five minutes. Get in the car and go.”
Wildfire may be the current motivator, but an emergency plan is also about floods, blizzards and other potential threats. “Helping individuals get prepared for emergencies is really important,” said Reid, “There’s a lot of peace of mind with your family when you know you’re prepared to go.”
n the Pikes Region a lot of emergency preparedness information is easily available to anyone. Guides, check-lists, video, and information on classes can all be found at the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management website. There is also a mobile option with the Pikes Peak Prepared app that an be downloaded for free.
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