How to look smart in a disaster


Did I mention that after Waldo, Manitoids like me got the pleasure of dealing with our next natural disaster (floods)? - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Did I mention that after Waldo, Manitoids like me got the pleasure of dealing with our next natural disaster (floods)?

I would like to apologize in advance for this post, because I'm going to do it — I'm going to tell you my Waldo story. The abbreviated version, but still.

My husband and I were in Salida the day the fire started, enjoying a miserably hot day mountain biking and rafting. By the time we heard there was a fire, we were eating dinner with another couple at a restaurant and trying really hard not to fall asleep. We were exhausted.

My mom called, wondering if we were OK. It didn't take us long to figure out that the Waldo Canyon Fire was spreading like, well, wildfire. We began calling around, just trying to see if we could get back home via U.S. Highway 24. Turns out we could  — just barely. We came barreling down the mountain, and it felt like a race against the fire. I could see trees exploding in flames from the road.

Still, when we got home (I'll be honest), we fell asleep. We were upset. But we were also really, really tired. A friend called us around 1 a.m. and told us we better pack — our town, Manitou Springs, was being evacuated.

And here's where I get to the point of this story: My husband and I didn't have an emergency plan. There we were: two zombies with swollen eyes, running around our home, trying to decide what parts of our lives were worth saving from the flames now visible from our balcony.

We felt like a couple of jerks.

El Paso County has had a remarkable run of natural disasters since then, which means that it's probably a good idea to be prepared for anything. If you're not sure how to do that, the city is hosting a couple meetings soon. Read on after the jump for more information:
City invites public to Community Preparedness Night at Sky Sox Stadium May 31

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management invites residents to participate in “Community Emergency Preparedness Night” at Sky Sox Stadium Sunday, May 31st. The gates open at 12:30 p.m. and the game starts at 1:35 p.m.

Post-game activities will give families an opportunity to learn about emergency preparedness through interactive demonstrations to include:

a smoke and fire safety trailer
electrical and natural gas safety demonstrations
Flight for Life helicopter tour
police and fire department displays
E-911 emergency notification registry
Penrose St. Francis blood drive
many other displays
Families can participate in a scavenger hunt, interact with and get autographs from Sky Sox players, and enjoy a performance by the Flying W Wranglers.

“The most important steps citizens and businesses can take to lessen the effects of a disaster are to Get Prepared, Get Trained, and Get Involved” said Bret Waters, Colorado Springs Emergency Management Director.

Many first response and/or emergency preparedness partners from the community will participate in the event:

Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management
Colorado Springs Fire Department
Colorado Springs Police Department
Colorado Springs Utilities
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
El Paso County Office of Emergency Management
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
Memorial Hospital – University of Colorado Health
Pikes Peak American Red Cross
El Paso-Teller County Authority (E-911) System
El Paso County Public Health
American Medical Response
Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County
Salvation Army
· Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region

For ticket information, call (719) 597-1449 or visit Follow us on Twitter #SkySoxPrep for highlights from the event.
City prepares for wildfire season with Community Wildfire Meeting May 26

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In an effort to increase wildfire awareness and emergency preparedness in the community the City of Colorado Springs will host a community meeting on wildfire preparedness:

Tuesday, May 26th
6:30 – 8 p.m.
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS)
Berger Hall in the University Center Building
1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Members from Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management will discuss emergency preparedness, evacuation planning and wildfire mitigation.
Specific topics include:
o Overall Preparedness

o Evacuations

o Public Information During an Emergency

o Fire Operations

o Fire Mitigation

o Insurance (Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association)

o Q&A

In recent years Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region have experienced two of the most destructive wildfires in Colorado history. In June 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated the northwest part of the community, taking two lives and destroying 347 homes. In June 2013, the Black Forest Fire became the state’s most destructive fire destroying more than 500 homes and claiming two lives.

“Our community has witnessed two extraordinary fires in recent years,” said Fire Chief Christopher P. Riley. “But as devastating as these two fires have been, we still face a very real risk for future wildfires impacting our community. As we enter wildfire season we are stepping up our education efforts to provide residents with the information and resources they need to be safe and act swiftly in the event of another wildfire.”

In addition to attending the community meeting, residents are encouraged to download the City’s Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide for information on how to prepare for wildfires and all types of emergencies, and visit the Wildfire Mitigation page for more information about reducing wildfire risk or view an educational video about mitigating your home for wildfire.

The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. Reasonable accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing through closed captioning or sign language interpreter will be provided upon request. Please notify Lori Unruh at or 719-385-5957. Requests should be made by Monday, May 18 to assure accommodations can be provided. Every effort will be made to fulfill requests made after May 18, but cannot be guaranteed.

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