Emergency evacuation planning could become part of Colorado Springs city code

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Old Colorado City.

Colorado Springs is looking to codify fire mitigation and emergency evacuation planning. 

A proposed ordinance would require reviews of the city’s plans for wildfire protection and all hazards evacuation and call for public outreach. It also would divide the city into evacuation zones taking into account topography, neighborhoods and roads.

Additionally, it would put the incident command structure in the code and ensure evacuation terms are consistent among all the emergency entities.

City Public Safety Attorney Frederick Stein said he’s looked nationally at putting evacuation planning into city code

“This is something Colorado Springs would be doing that no almost no other city that I could locate does here in Colorado, or even nationally,” he said.

Colorado Springs City Council informally heard about the proposed code on Tuesday and is expected to consider the ordinance later this spring. 

Fire and emergency leaders, along with city staff, also presented city council with an overview of past, current and upcoming emergency planning and response methods. 

Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal said they are in the process of obtaining software used for notifying residents in specific areas about evacuations. The software also has other functions for managing emergency evacuations.

Royal also reviewed other progress the fire department has made in preparing for wildfires, and said that weekly interagency meetings that include officials from El Paso and Teller counties, state officials and others have increased planning and response coordination in the region.

Additional related topics, including police officer response capacity, wildland-urban interface building codes and other kinds of critical incidents such as flooding or wind events, gas line explosions and terrorism were covered by Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski, Fire Marshal Brett Lacey, Traffic Engineer Todd Frisbie and Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management Director Jim Reid.