Emergency plan updated

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An update of Routt County's Emergency and Disaster Plan, which includes new sections on government organization and employee protection during a disaster, will come before Routt County commissioners Monday.

Several agreements that could allow for regional sharing of emergency aid also will be heard by the county commissioners at that time.

The update represents three months of work as well as multiple discussions with government officials and emergency workers, said Routt County Emergency Services Director Chuck Vale.

"There's an awful lot on the plate," Vale said. "It's a pretty big deal. We've done an awful lot of work through the summer and fall to cooperate and work together to understand each other's issues."

There are three key changes to the emergency and disaster plan, Vale said.

First is a new component describing how government department heads would come together to protect their employees during a large-scale emergency, giving information on how they could evacuate buildings, where they would meet and more.

Second is a section describing how government would organize itself in case of national disasters. Some components of government, such as jails and communication systems, are integral and can't break down during an emergency, Vale said. The new section describes ways to maintain those systems.

A final new section describes a multi-agency coordinating group that would bring department heads together while an event is going on so they could provide support to workers in the field.

An update to the Routt County Mass Casualty Field Operations plan also is up for review, as are two regional agreements.

One agreement is for mutual aid among 10 counties in Northwest Colorado, and the other is for mutual aid between Routt County and the state of Colorado.

Both help continue conversations about sharing resources across county boundaries and help foster a spirit of cooperation, Vale said.

Work on emergency planning is not finished, Vale said, but the plan is another step to keeping emergency services and responses up-to-date.

"Plans are dynamic; it isn't like we just lock it up in a box and never look back," he said. "If we have to change it in a few months, I'm OK with that. But making a plan better is the name of the game."

Routt County commissioners will hear about the changes Monday morning and have the chance to approve them Tuesday.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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