Success of the local emergency management system in Colorado Springs is built on an all hazards approach and strong partnerships within the emergency management community. This community consists of federal, state, and local partners; volunteer and other non-governmental and community-based organizations; surrounding military facilities; and the private sector, such as large retailers and medical services providers.
The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for providing mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and coordination for large-scale emergencies and disasters to the residents of Colorado Springs for the purpose of saving lives and preventing property damage. OEM proactively plans for hazards, works to reduce threats, and prepares Colorado Springs’ residents to respond to and recover from a disaster.
Why this guide is important
Individuals and households play an important role in the overall emergency management strategy of a community. Community members can contribute by:
- Learning about possible emergency events in your community.
- Enrolling in personal safety and emergency response training courses.
- Being aware of the outdoor environment and related activities.
- Preparing emergency supply kits and household emergency plans.
- Reducing hazards in and around their residences.
- Monitoring emergency communications carefully.
- Volunteering with an established organization.
Learning about possible emergency events in your community
Understanding what natural disasters, accidental events, or purposeful terrorists activities may occur in your area will help individuals and families focus on preparedness activities. Learning what actions to take before, during, and after specific types of emergencies or disasters increases individual and family resilience and speeds the recovery process.
Enrolling in personal safety and emergency response training courses
Emergency response training will enable residents to take initial response actions required to take care of themselves and their households, thus allowing first responders to focus on higher priority tasks that affect the entire community.
Being aware of the environment and related outdoor activities
Living in Colorado Springs affords community members and visitors with closeness to the Rocky Mountains and its environment. Following sound practices to ensure your health and safety while enjoying the numerous parks and open spaces will result in enjoyable and memorable experiences.
Preparing emergency supply kits and household emergency plans
By developing household emergency plans and assembling disaster supplies in advance of an event, people can take care of themselves until assistance arrives. This includes supplies for household pets and service animals. These preparations will reduce demand and allow first responders to focus on those individuals in most need.
Reducing hazards in and around residences.
By taking simple actions, such as raising utilities above flood level, securing objects during high winds and learning about proper use and storage of household chemicals, people can reduce the amount of potential damage caused by an emergency or disaster.
Monitoring emergency communications carefully
Throughout an emergency, critical information and direction will be released to the public via various media, including radio, television, social media, and the internet. By carefully following the directions provided, residents can reduce their risk of injury, keep emergency routes open to response personnel, and reduce demands on landline and cellular communications.
Volunteering with an established organization
Organizations and agencies with a role in response and recovery seek hardworking, dedicated volunteers. By volunteering with an established voluntary agency, individuals and households become part of the emergency management system and ensure that their efforts are directed where they are needed most. Please see page 12 for additional information on volunteer opportunities.
How to use this guide
The Colorado Springs Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide provides tips and tools for individuals and families to prepare for emergency events and disasters at home, school, work, and in public places. Please take time to read this guide, develop your plans, and pack emergency supply kits so you may be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster or crisis. The guide is intended to be a tool to assist individuals and families in making emergency preparedness a part of daily life. Some of the fundamentals you will learn are:
- The different types of emergencies that may affect you and your community.
- Information about the automated emergency notification system and how to register your phone number.
- Tips on reporting emergencies.
- How to prepare an emergency supply kit.
- How to prepare an emergency evacuation supply kit to take with you in the event of an evacuation.
- How to create a family emergency plan.
- Actions to take if you are advised to shelter-in-place or evacuate.
- How to get involved.
- Telephone numbers and internet links for additional information on emergency preparedness.
Emergencies can occur quickly and without warning. There are simple steps that you and your loved ones can take to be better prepared. The best way to keep yourself and your family safe is to be prepared before an emergency event or disaster happens. Community members should be prepared to survive on their own for a minimum of three days in the event of an emergency. By using this guide, you will accomplish three vital steps toward individual and family emergency preparedness:
- Get a Kit.
- Make a Plan.
- Be Informed.
We hope you will use this guide to make emergency preparedness a part of your daily life and, in the process, help make your neighborhood and community safer places to live. This guide is also available online at csready.org on the Office of Emergency Management home page.
OEM serves the City of Colorado Springs and its community members through the following activities:
- Mitigate and plan for large scale all-hazards emergencies and disasters.
- Develop and maintain the City’s Emergency Operations Plan and Emergency Operations Center.
- Serve as liaison to local, county, state, military, and federal agencies and departments.
- Coordinate multi-jurisdictional exercises.
- Manage resources needed to assist first responders and partner agencies.
- Educate the public about preparedness and community hazards through community events and presentations.
- Administer federal and state grant funding to provide assistance, and increase preparedness and response capabilities throughout the community.
Because it is impossible to predict when a specific disaster will occur, OEM participates in and helps plan numerous preparedness exercises throughout the year. The exercises are disaster simulations that may involve all levels of government and can range from an organized discussion about a potential threat to full-scale training that involves actual response units, real-time events and actors who play the role of victims.
Mitigation activities are designated to reduce or eliminate risks to persons or property or to lessen the actual or potential effects or consequences of an incident. Mitigation measures may be implemented prior to, during, or after an incident. OEM is in charge of writing and updating the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan (PDM) for the City. The purpose of the PDM Plan is to establish a policy and blueprint to institutionalize new and existing ongoing programs, processes, and procedures to continuously reduce the impacts of events in the City.
OEM management and staff take actions that involve a combination of planning, resources, training, exercising, and organizing to build, sustain, and improve the city’s operational capabilities before, during, and after an emergency event. Preparedness is the process of identifying the personnel, training, and equipment needed for a wide range of potential incidents and developing specific plans for delivering capabilities when needed. The planning for, training on, and exercising of disaster scenarios provides the city’s first responders and emergency coordinators a chance to address and resolve challenges before a real disaster occurs. OEM helps Colorado Springs’ residents to prepare for disasters by conducting preparedness presentations for businesses, civic organizations, community meetings, and events.
Emergency response is the immediate actions taken by first responders and emergency coordinators to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs. During a large disaster, the Office of Emergency Management provides overall coordination for citywide response efforts. This can involve activation of the Emergency Operations Center which becomes a single gathering point for representatives from city departments and partner agencies. These representatives facilitate resource coordination, mutual aid, and policy decisions. Response also includes the execution of emergency plans and actions to support short-term recovery.