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Colo. National Guard Participates in Weather-Related Disaster Response Exercise

By Maj. Darin Overstreet | Colorado National Guard Public Affairs | April 12, 2018

CENTENNIAL, Colo. –The Colorado National Guard will partner with several local and state jurisdictions, government agencies, and non-governmental agencies to exercise response capabilities to assist civil authorities and residents during a disaster response April 3-6, as part of Alpine Guard 2018.

Alpine Guard will involve a coordinated response to power and communications failures caused by tornado and floods scenarios affecting Morgan, Elbert, Archuleta, and Denver counties, and the Southern Ute Tribe.

National Guard capabilities to be assessed include aerial and ground search and rescue, security, hazardous material response, fatality search and recovery, immediate medical response and triage, civil engineering structural assessment, communications, and logistics including reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of responders, and emergency supplies distribution.

The objective of Alpine Guard is to train with emergency-response partners, improve upon lessons learned from previous disasters, leverage existing capabilities, and improve overall operational proficiencies and partnerships in response to a catastrophic incident.

"The lessons we've learned from previous disasters in Colorado – and a lot of practice ahead of time – make all of us more effective when our neighbors' lives are on the line," U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory T. White, commander of Joint Task Force - Centennial said. The JTF-C integrates Colorado National Guard forces to support civil authorities in assisting Coloradans during times of crisis and disaster, to save lives, prevent suffering, and mitigate great property damage.

Community members in these locations may witness an abundance of military members and equipment, and personnel in hazardous material suits. They may also hear noise caused by helicopters and emergency-response vehicles.

 

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Contact Information:
Colorado National Guard, Maj. Darin Overstreet, darin.l.overstreet.mil@mail.mil, 720-250-1053
Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Jim Crone, jcrone@co.morgan.co.us, 970-542-3446
City of Fort Morgan, John Brennan, john.brennan@cityoffortmorgan.com  
Morgan County School District, Karen Temple, karen.temple@morgan.k12.co.us, 970-370-6111
Brush Police Department, Lt. Corey Hardy, chardy@brushcolo.com
Banner Health, Sara Quale, sara.quale@bannerhealth.com, 970-310-3749
Valley View Villa, Brittany Staley, Brittany_Staley@lcca.com, 970-768-4654
Colorado Plains Medical Center, Sandy Engle, sandy.engle@lpnt.net, 970-768-0787

 

Alpine Guard partners include:

Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management – State Emergency Operations Center: DHSEM is supporting at many levels including regional field managers and DHSEM staff managing and staffing the State EOC.

Morgan County: Morgan County Emergency Management and first responders, American Red Cross, East Morgan County Hospital and Banner Health, Centennial Mental Health, Cargill Beef Corporation, City of Brush, Brush Police Department, Colorado Plains Medical Center, Fort Morgan School District, Fort Morgan Police Department, City of Fort Morgan, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Morgan County Commissioners and Morgan County government, Morgan County Coroner's Office, Morgan County Ambulance Service, Fort Morgan Airport, Valley View Villa

Elbert County: Elizabeth Fire District, Rattlesnake Fire District, Elbert County Office of Emergency Management, Elbert County Road/Bridge, Amateur Radio Emergency Services, Elbert County Communications Authority

Archuleta County: Archuleta County Office of Emergency Management, Archuleta multi-agency coordination group, Archuleta ambulance and fire departments, and county first-responder elements

Denver County: Denver Office of Emergency Management

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

 

CONG specialty units include:

Joint Task Force-Centennial, headquartered in Centennial, Colorado, will oversee the CONG's portion of the exercise. JTF-C provides command and control for National Guard civil support operations in affected areas for the purpose of saving lives, reducing human suffering and minimizing large-scale property damage or destruction.

Colorado Army National Guard's, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation will conduct helicopter hoist rescue training operations in Morgan County, April 3 and April 6, Elbert County, April 4, and Archuleta County, April 5, by members of. Since the exercise coincides with an annual wildland aviation firefighting conference, helicopters will also be seen in and around the Denver metro area with water buckets hanging beneath them.

Civil engineers from the Colorado Air National Guard's 240th Civil Engineer Squadron assessment team will simulate bridges inspections, following a flood scenario, in Elbert County, April 4.

The CONG Joint Incident Site Communications Capability, a system that allows civilian emergency responders to communicate seamlessly with each other and with military personnel on the ground, will deploy to various locations throughout the exercise.

The CONG 8th Civil Support Team assesses hazards, advises civil authorities, and facilitates military support during emergencies or disasters involving suspected Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear agents and substances. The 8th CST also advises civilian responders on appropriate actions through on-site testing and expert consultation, and assists and facilitates in the arrival of follow-on state and federal military forces. The CST will be visible in Denver April 6.

A mass-casualty exercise will occur April 3, in the city of Fort Morgan, and residents can expect to see a significant response from emergency agencies, as well as civilian and National Guard medevac helicopters, as they transport patients to outside facilities.

The CONG trains for domestic operations, including homeland defense and support to civilian authorities, within the national response framework. The NRF ensures the ability to organize, validate and exercise to prepare for emergency response. Under executive order of the Governor of Colorado, CONG responds during domestic operations missions in Colorado.  CONG also provides forces to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region VIII or other states and territories, when directed by the appropriate authority.