Winter Storm Safety ***Exercise***

Record amounts of snow fall have been recorded around Southwest Colorado. La Plata County and the City of Durango are working closely to ensure the safety of residence throughout the region. They are encouraging everyone to stay at home and in touch with loved ones to help promote the wellbeing of themselves and those they love.

Power outages are sporadic throughout the area and are expected to continue while local officials work to identify all regions affected. All residents are encouraged to conserve energy during this regional shortage:

  • Turn off lights and computers when not in use.
  • Wash clothes in cold water if possible; wash only full loads and clean the dryer’s lint trap after each use.
  • When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the light cycle. If possible, use the rinse only cycle and turn off the high temperature rinse option. When the regular wash cycle is done, just open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to air dry.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lights.

If you have lost power please consider the following:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
  • It looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Those with special needs should contact their case manager, if they have one for further instruction and support.
  • When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system.

For those experiencing loss of heat many small steps can be taken that can make a big difference in saying warm:

  • Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers your ears).
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If you have a frozen water main please contact the City of Durango at (970) 444-4444
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.

Some residences have experienced gas leaks resulting in fires. Please be aware of the smell of gas in or around your home. Be sure snow is cleared from around both the pipe that brings the gas into your home, and where it leaves the propane tank to prevent a leak. Turn off the gas to your home if you smell gas and call (970)444-4444.

As snow loads increase on roof tops, roofs need to be shoveled, especial mobile homes. Extra care and caution should be taken while accessing roof tops. Be sure gas vents are open to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hazardous road conditions exist thought both the City and County. Main highways including 160 and 550 have been closed. Do not travel outside your home unless absolutely necessary and alert others of you travel time and destination checking, in with them once you have arrived.

Residence should also keep in mind the safety and wellbeing of pets and livestock. Bring house hold pets inside to protect them from the harsh elements and be sure livestock have access to fresh food and water.

For more information please visit the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm

Winter Blast 2014 ***Exercise****

Durango, CO – The National Weather Service has forecasted heavy snow and thunderstorms to continue throughout the day.  Snow loads and deep drifts are hampering access. The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed Highway 550 north of Durango Mountain Resort and east of Bayfield.  The Durango-La Plata County Airport is closed.

  • Motorists are advised to use caution as the roads are icy and treacherous.  If possible, citizens are asked to stay in their homes.
  • Shelters and warming stations established for those who have lost their heat or power.  Those who have lost their heat or power are welcome to warm or shelter.

Warming Stations have been set up at:

    • Upper Pine Fire Station north of Vallecito Lake
    • Sky Ute Casino
    • La Plata County Fairgrounds
    • City of Durango Rec Center

Shelters have been set up at:

    • Animas Valley Elementary
    • Ft. Lewis Mesa Elementary
    • Sunnyside Elementary
    • Bayfield High School

La Plata County Emergency Management has set opened their Emergency Operations Center and has a hotline for residents with special needs: (970) 555-5555.

  • If you smell gas inside your home, turn off your gas and call the hotline.  Be sure that the snow is shoveled out around the well where the gas line goes into your home.

The Southwest Incident Management Team has been brought in to assist the City of Durango and La Plata County with the response.  Additional information will be provided as it becomes available and will be posted to the SWIM Team website at www.swimtco.com and to the La Plata County website at www.co.laplata.co.us.  Updates are also being posted to FaceBook on the La Plata County Government page, the Southwest Incident Management Page and the City of Durango page.  Radio and Television stations will be given emergency alert messages.

Follow twitter updates @lpc_oem or @swimtco.  To receive Twitter feeds without having to sign up for twitter, text “FOLLOW LPC_OEM” to 40404 on your cell phone and you will receive all updates posted by text message.