MONUMENT — The Boulder County fire is bringing wildfire preparedness to the forefront once again, and some local teens are helping to prepare the Pikes Peak Region.
The Palmer Ridge High School Emergency Preparedness Club plans to host a Wildfire Preparedness Day at the school on April 2 from 9am-12pm.
Junior Lauren Coval created the club to help her classmates learn everything from basic fire safety to standard medical training.
"I've always wanted to help the community. I love this community with my entire heart and I want to make sure they know what to do in case of emergencies. I've always had a passion for this, and in high school I was like I really want to start a club for this," said Coval.
She says the community is continuously growing, and it's important to keep the community informed about wildfire mitigation.
"This is something so prevalent in our community. I've lived here my entire life and I've seen exponential growth over the last couple of years. There is so many people moving here from places where they don't know what to do in case of a wildfire. They don't know they can't always have a fire pit going in the backyard and can't always do fireworks," said Lauren Coval, Palmer Ridge High School student. "There is so many little things that people don't think about that could be a potential risk to the community."
"We're going to be teaching people how to use a fire extinguisher. It doesn't work at all like it does on television so it's important for them to realize some basic things that could potentially save their house or save their life. I'm excited to see what the other presenters have because I want to glean my own information from this," said Eric Wall, Building Manager at Palmer Ridge High School.
The Emergency Preparedness Club plans to have speakers representing multiple agencies on hand to discuss the topic.
"We're going to have everyone there to talk about wildfire mitigation, evacuation, how to make your home fire safe externally. I think everyone should attend and ask questions. What do I need to do to be prepared for evacuation? What can I expect? If I'm told to evacuate, where am I going to go? What can I do to make my place safer?" said Jim Reid, Director of Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management.
Reid says it's important that the community is prepared to help keep one another safe.
"Timing is of the essence. If you're not ready than you take more time, and it takes longer to evacuate and makes our job a little bit harder. The quicker you can get out of there, the safer you are and the quicker our guys can get in there and do what we need to do," said Reid.
He recommends having an emergency kit with important documents and medications.
"How about contacts? Who are you going to contact? Who's not home, and where are we going to meet? They may not be able to go back home, and they may be somewhere downtown. How I do I contact them? Through a cellphone or a neighbor," said Reid. "The other thing is your neighbors. Are they able to physically evacuate by themselves or do they need help? If you know that then you need to let someone know so we can get to them and get them out of their home. It's important you know your neighbor and neighborhood."
"I just want people to walk away with a better idea than when they walked in of how to be prepared for a wildfire and how to keep their family safe," said Coval.
The event is free and open to the community. For more information, call 719-575-8858.
- 9:15am - Personal preparedness – Pikes Peak Regional Emergency Management
- 10:00am - Know about evacuation – El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
- 10:45am - Home and property risks – Colorado Forest Service
- 11:30am - Local wildfire concerns – Tri-Lakes Monument Fire District