Jeffco’s Emergency Management Office has started work on a disaster recovery plan, a first for the county, to identify which agencies are responsible for different phases of a recovery effort.
The agency, part of the Sheriff’s Office, is also re-evaluating its current response plan to find areas of improvement and cooperation with the county’s municipalities.
County Commissioner Don Rosier said the lack of a recovery plan caused a delay in the transition to recovery after last fall’s flooding.
“It should not have taken the amount of time that it did if we had those protocols in place. It would have just flown through; everybody would have known their spot,” Rosier said. “(The response) caused a few people to be very overwhelmed and some people that were underwhelmed. We need to balance that out to keep people engaged, and with the right amount of responsibility and workload.”
The county commissioners tasked the Emergency Management Office with creating a more comprehensive plan over the next couple of months.
Emergency Management Director Clint Fey said a successful plan needs the involvement of 18 fire and emergency medical departments, 14 law enforcement agencies and a host of county departments.
“By engaging all the entities involved, we hope to ensure that involvement, gain buy-in and understanding, and have the ability to keep getting better,” Fey said.
“Jefferson County’s strength lies in response,” he said. “We believe that recovery deserves its own plan, and that’s what we are currently undertaking. With our recent fire and flood events, we have gained a lot of first-hand knowledge that can be incorporated into a plan for future events.”