The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency ManagementThe City and County are consolidating their Offices of Emergency Management in an effort to optimize staff resources, establish a single point of contact during major incidences and enhance communication both during and after an event. The new office, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPR-OEM) will support operations during a disaster or emergency in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.Because disaster knows no jurisdictional boundaries, we can most efficiently prepare for an emergency and respond to one by coordinating our efforts on a regional basis. The establishment of the PPR-OEM will allow the county and the city to more effectively coordinate and assist first responders in an emergency as well as preparing the government and the community for a disaster. is closely monitoring high-impact weather conditions expected to hit our region Wednesday, December 15. Local officials stand ready to respond to impacts resulting from extremely high winds anticipated for Colorado Springs and all of El Paso County.
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Red Flag Warning from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for El Paso County, including the City of Colorado Springs, for Wednesday, December 15. Meteorologists are forecasting very strong winds along the I-25 corridor and throughout El Paso County, including sustained winds around 45-50 mph, with gusts between 60-80 mph expected, frequently gusting to 80 mph.
Residents should take the following precautions before/during the upcoming event:
- Secure outdoor furniture and outdoor holiday decorations.
- Seek shelter indoors during the high wind event and avoid travel if possible.
- Avoid downed trees and powers lines. Never attempt to remove lines yourself.
- Fire will spread very quickly during this event, avoid any activities that could cause fire.
- Road closures are possible throughout the state, if you must travel, check COTrip.org for up-to-date road closures from CDOT.
- Make sure you are prepared for the possibility of a power outage. This includes having flashlights ready with working batteries. Do not use ovens, stoves or camping stoves for heat to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Monitor elected outages using Springs Utilities online outage map.
Avoid travel, if possible
The National Weather Service emphasizes that high winds make travel hazardous, especially for high profile vehicles on the North/South corridors, such as I-25 due to high wind gusts and flying debris.
If possible, stay indoors and avoid travel. If you must travel, always maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel and be prepared for sudden shifts in wind speed or direction and be vigilant of flying debris.
Traffic intersections may be without power. Motorists should treat all darkened intersections as a four-way stop.
Watch for and obey any travel restrictions and stay tuned to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
Residents should only call 911 for a life-threatening emergency.
Power lines or power outages
Residents should be on the lookout for fallen power lines or trees that have come into contact with a power line.
Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled. They likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. If you see this, stay away from the line and/or tree, and immediately call your local utility company or call 911.
Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe around downed power lines:
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line, and avoid touching it.
- The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage one—and it could do that through your body.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even normally non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
- Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
- Do not drive over downed lines.
- If you are in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed line, stay in the vehicle. Honk your horn for help and tell others to stay away from your vehicle.