Black Hawk Emergency Operations Center gets ready

John Scarffe, Black Hawk.  Black Hawk City Council members toured the new R.A. Clark Emergency Operations Center at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 22, 2017. The Aldermen expressed enthusiasm with the new state-of-art facility at 911 Mesa Road, next to the City’s Public Works facility.
The Operations Center was named for Robert A. Clark, Black Hawk’s first city marshal, who was killed in the line of duty in 1876, according to the Town’s website. Clark’s name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2009.

Clark was murdered by two brothers who were hauling a load of flour through the City of Central when their team of horses endangered a chicken coop, according to the website. A restaurant cook complained and was beaten by the brothers.

After an arrest warrant was issued, Clark pursued the brothers until they came upon their wagon and horses on Dory Hill Road. When Clark tried to arrest the brothers in a nearby cabin, Clark was killed.

Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Don Taylor and Police Chief Stephen Cole led the tour for the Aldermen and City staff. Taylor said the Center has been three years in the making.

It will take about 20 minutes to set up the main teleconference working room in the Center, Taylor said. Each emergency support group will have a table outside, and they can do a briefing in the room.

Taylor said his next step is to write job descriptions for each position needed in an emergency situation. Emergency personnel will then be given an appropriate seat and a notebook with their job description.

We will do mock set ups, training and a simple exercise to get emergency personnel familiar with the center and their specific tasks, Talyor said. The room contains the technology for a teleconference.

“It’s as high tech as you can get,” Taylor said. Chief Cole said the room is equipped with black out blinds so those in the room can see the large screens better.

The Center also contains a break room paid for by a grant. “This room will get real loud, so that’s a place for a private meeting away from the noise.”
Taylor said that 50 percent of the new facility and equipment was funded through a State of Colorado grant, and the rest was funded by the City. They have a lectern coming, and they have been using the facility for training.

“We will start getting people trained,” Taylor said. “We will be ready for disasters.” Gilpin County is about finished setting up an emergency operations center in the Sheriff’s training room. Any emergency first must go through the County, and then they can transition it to the State if they need more money.

“We’re trying to figure out the building and how it will work,” Taylor said. Cameras have been installed all around the building and in the hallway. Dispatch has the capability to unlock all the doors and rooms remotely.

They have the ability to talk to dispatch if someone has an emergency and can unlock the doors. The facility is also equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Chief Cole said: “This is outstanding. It prepares us for the future.” He showed the Aldermen a room with a sink and where washing machines will be placed, so they can clean up bloody clothes if need be.

The center also includes an armory room, and locker and shower rooms for men and women. All of the rooms will be locked, Cole said.
Mayor David Spellman said: “You’ve really thought it all out. It really is a compliment to Black Hawk.”