After a regional conference call with county emergency managers, state emergency operations center, CSP, and CDOT to gather situational awareness, a list was built of both confirmed and unconfirmed reports of stranded motorists. Local officials were unable to get to these people due to weather/road conditions and limited local resources. During this conference call, capabilities and the desire for CO4x4RNR to deploy teams if necessary was relayed.
Logan County Office of Emergency Management initiated a resource request for five CO4x4RNR teams to deploy and stage in Sterling ASAP where a Regional ESF-9 (Search and Rescue) Operations Center was activated at NCHD's headquarters facility. Though regional coordination additional mission areas outside of Logan County were identified within the next few hours. As teams completed mission assignments within Logan County, they were redirected to missions in Washington, and Yuma counties.
Ten total missions were assigned with only three having to be abandoned due to impassable road conditions. 11 persons and 3 dogs were rescued from what rescuers described as some of the worst weather the have been in. While enroute to mission assignments, the various teams collectively encountered 23 additional stranded vehicles which were checked... some occupied, some not. Teams were demobilized just after 5am.
A special thanks to the Northeast Colorado Emergency Managers group for their part in facilitating these rescues and our assistance, as well as WY Communications for monitoring our radio traffic and assisting frequently throughout the night.
The ability of all these agencies to come together in the interest of our pubic community is incredibly humbling.
Stay safe Yuma County Sheriff's Office, Logan County Sheriff's Office - Colorado, and Washington County Sheriff's Office. Thank you for your continued efforts as time goes on, these initial rescues were only the beginning of the efforts that will continue in these counties.
Pictures from our Mission:
Video Blog from the missions can be found here courtesy of SAR-ES Captain King: