Estes Park Officials Plan For Meeting Challenges

At Incident Command Center in Estes Park, Fire Chief David Wolf briefs U.S Senator Michael Bennet and Congressman Joe Neguse about the wildfires threatening Estes Valley. Photo courtesy of Larimer County.

If, as Benjamin Franklin said, failing to plan is planning to fail, then the trustees of Estes Park are planning to succeed. Two recent training sessions indicate this to be the case.

During one session, the Town’s trustees, senior staff and emergency workers from the surrounding area learned about the Incident Command System and managing emergency. The session, Lori Hodgson, Larimer County Director Office of Emergency Management, prepared participants for incident command and the roles that they, as town officials, would during emergency or disaster response and recovery.

Several participants in the session had been in Estes during the 2013 flood and the recent wildfires. Their first-hand knowledge about working in an incident command setting was invaluable to the session. I recalled that in 2020, how as a

new mayor, with wildfires threatening Estes Park, several of the people I now sat next to in the session had helped me understand my duties then.

At another session, the Town’s trustees, executive staff and I learned about communicating effectively with the press and public. The session, led Jennifer Miller of Rockford Gray, was a follow-up to the session she led or us a year ago. This year, she and Public Information Officer Kate Rusch built on what was taught during the session about emergencies and disasters by teaching us about communicating with the press and public during such situations. For those of us who participated in both sessions the connection was especially meaningful. My appreciation to Kate for seizing the opportunity to connect the dots.

Sessions such as the ones the trustees, staff and I recently experienced are powerful reminders of the significant roles we play in ensuring the safety and well-being of the townspeople of Estes Park. When emergencies arise or disasters strike, the stakes are high. Failure is not an option. They are why we plan and prepare.

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