Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Update: State agencies continue assistance to Coloradans in flooded areas

Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper

State agencies continue assistance to Coloradans in flooded areas

DENVER — Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and Cabinet members continue to visit and assist flooded communities in many Colorado counties. State agencies are providing direct assistance for rescue and recovery, infrastructure, safety and ongoing efforts such as insurance and information regarding state lands and services in the affected areas.

State agency assistance includes:
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
The State Emergency Operations Center is managed and coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management with staffing from the Office of Preparedness and Office of Prevention and Security. The State EOC is currently running 24/7 operations at a Level I staffing. The Office of Emergency Management is providing two Regional Field Managers at each several of the local Emergency Operations Centers. The state pushes out updates on an emergency blog at www.coemergency.com,  at @COEmergency on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/COEmergency. Preparedness information is shared at www.READYColorado.com, at @READYColorado on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/READYColorado. Division wide information is shared at www.DHSEM.state.co.us.

Department of Transportation
CDOT has highway closures continuing in parts of Northern Colorado, in Weld, Jefferson and Morgan counties and some areas in metro Denver. Crews worked through the weekend and continue to assess road and bridge conditions, begin cleanup and repairs where possible. Currently, CDOT estimates approximately 30 bridges have been destroyed, 20 have serious damage and with more roadways and bridges where the status is still unknown due to lack of access. CDOT is working on an initial damage assessment with information about how the agency will address ongoing response. For more information, visit cotrip.org, coloradodot.info, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coloradodot, or call 511 and download CDOT Mobile.

Colorado National Guard
Military members from the Colorado National Guard, the U.S. Army’s 4th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Carson, Colo., and the Wyoming National Guard are currently supporting Colorado flood evacuation operations. As of 7:30 a.m. today, a total of 681 troops, 21 helicopters, 23 ground search-and-rescue teams, and 40 traffic-control points are operational. Their cumulative number of military aerial evacuations is currently 2,378; 62 of them by hoist. Additionally, 856 animals have been rescued by air. Colorado National Guardsmen have evacuated a cumulative 676 people by ground, along with countless animals. Currently, 24 teams with 84 vehicles are operating in Boulder, Lyons, Fort Collins/Larimer County, Estes Park, Jefferson County, Weld County and Loveland, and 267 Colorado National Guard members are currently manning 40 checkpoints in Fort Collins, Longmont, Greeley, Milliken/Evans, and Boulder in order to ensure public safety and protect property. Over the weekend, Colorado National Guardsmen also helped fill nearly 10,000 sandbags in Jefferson County to help civil authorities mitigate flooding effects.
According to Lance Blyth, U.S. Northern Command historian, the military response to the Colorado floods, dubbed “Operation Centennial Raging Waters,” is likely the biggest rotary-wing airlift mission since Hurricane Katrina.

Colorado State Patrol
CSP is working with other law enforcement officials and CDOT in Jefferson, Boulder, Larimer, El Paso and Weld counties. The primary functions are to provide manpower for roadblocks or checkpoints and to assist with search and rescue missions when required. CSP will continue to assist motorists with the navigation of these flood damaged areas by providing information via social media and mainstream media resources. CSP continues to play a significant role in the state Emergency Operations Center and will have representation in the local/county Incident Command Posts for assistance in planning and deployment of CSP resources. Follow on facebook at www.facebook.com/ColoradoStatePatrol, at @CSP_News on Twitter or contact Jeff.goodwin@state.co.us for more information.

Department of Local Affairs  
DOLA’s Divisions of Local Government and Housing assigned staff in Disaster Assistance Centers (DAC) located in Longmont/Boulder County, Loveland/Larimer County, Greeley/Weld County and in the Southwest Weld Center. Staff will be deployed as more DACs continue to open in impacted communities. DACs are “one-stop shops” that co-locate services ranging from non-government organizations, charities, mental health, to human services, making access to resources more efficient and convenient. The work of the DAC is key to the long-term recovery process that takes place following the response phase of a disaster. DOLA staff assist local officials in setting up the DAC, coordinate state agency resources and help connect those who have been displaced from their homes with emergency shelter and access to housing assistance. Information about DACs can be found at COEmergency.com as it becomes available.

Department of Natural Resources
Teams of field inspectors, engineers and environmental protection specialists are assessing impacts to oil and gas facilities. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is using mapping technology to identify all potentially affected locations and is encouraging the public and local governments to provide information about specific locations to DNR_floodinfo@state.co.us. Dam safety engineers at the Division of Water Resources are continuing to inspect impacted dams and reservoirs as well as many damaged irrigation structures. The Colorado Water Conservation Board staff is conducting numerous post-flood assessments for scientific and policy purposes. Contact todd.hartman@state.co.us.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Many parks, including Eldorado Canyon and St. Vrain State Parks, are closed. The extent of the damage will be determined when water levels drop. Many CPW officers are working to assist the Colorado State Patrol and local jurisdictions in swift water rescue, traffic control and evacuated area security. The agency is advising anglers and hunters to use extreme caution and avoid high and fast water areas. For more information, go to cpw.state.co.us, @COParksWildlife on Twitter or Facebook at facebook.com/ColoradoParksandWildlife.

Department of Agriculture
CDA is assisting the State Emergency Operations Center with livestock evacuation needs. The main role is to connect the needs of agricultural producers with resources including movement and locations to house evacuated animals. Livestock owners who need assistance moving animals, road access information, or other resources needed to resume normal operating conditions should contact the county law enforcement or emergency operations center. As the crisis eases, CDA’s Brand Inspection division will help identify livestock and placement with owners. The Colorado Farm Bureau has set up a disaster fund to aid farmers and ranchers directly impacted by the recent flooding in northeast Colorado. For more information on how to donate and aid these producers, go to coloradofarmbureau.com/disasterfund.

Department of Public Health and Environment
CDPHE’s Water Quality Control Division continues to work with drinking water and wastewater facilities affected by flooding. Boil water advisories remain in place for the following community water systems: Firestone, Left Hand Water District, Lyons and Mountain Meadow (Allenspark). The department is working with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, local authorities and operators to assess risks from oil and gas locations affected by the flood and, where necessary, provide environmental response and remediation, The department issued a news release with advice about possible illnesses related to floods and vaccination recommendations, precautions and guidance about coming in contact with flood water, and the status of boil water advisories. CDPHE’s website has information on flooding including flood recovery, water quality and boil water information and water testing forms, Follow the department at @CDPHE on Twitter or www.facebook.com/CDPHE or contact mark.salley@state.co.us for more information.

Department of Regulatory Agencies
Commissioner of Insurance Marguerite Salazar is reaching out to the property and casualty insurance industry to meet by the end of the week. The Colorado Division of Insurance again reminds consumers that insurance specialists are available to answer their questions. Claims need to be filed with the insurance company, but the division can assist consumers with questions about insurance and help guide them through the process. Impacted residents can call the Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745 (outside Denver area). For more information, visit the Division’s media release and follow at @DORAColorado or www.facebook.com/dora.colorado.

Department of Human Services
Several human service offices in counties under the disaster declaration were able to open on Monday. Boulder County Human Services remains closed. The emergency helpline number is 303-413-7730. Emergency information can also be found at www.boulderoem.com. In Weld County, the Longmont and Fort Lupton offices were closed Monday and the Greeley office opened Monday. The number for appointments or questions is 970-352-1551. The CDHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation offices in Sterling is closed on Tuesday. The DVR offices in Greeley and Fort Morgan will be assessed for flooding and access Tuesday morning to determine if they need to close. County residents who need assistance in those communities may call 303-866-4150. For more information, contact Liz.McDonough@state.co.us or www.colorado.gov/CDHS, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colorado-Department-of-Human-Services/100791360004450 or at @CO_CDHS on Twitter.

Department of Labor and Employment  
Individuals may be eligible for unemployment assistance if their unemployment resulted from the physical damage or destruction of their place of employment or because of the physical inaccessibility to their worksite due to closure by the federal, state or local government in immediate response to the flooding and its aftermath. For individuals who don’t qualify for regular unemployment, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to those affected by flooding in Boulder County. Currently, only Boulder County is approved by FEMA for these benefits however, information on designations for other counties will be posted on www.coloradoui.gov as they occur. Claims can be filed at www.coloradoui.gov.  For more information, follow at  www.facebook.com/coloradolabor and @ColoradoLabor on Twitter.

Governor’s Office of Information Technology
OIT is managing the Colorado Google Flood Crisis Map Colorado Google Flood Crisis Map. In partnership with the Department of Public Safety, OIT is overseeing the Statewide Digital Trunked Radio System (DTRS) which bridges state, county, local and tribal communications. Since the flooding emergency began, the DTRS system has processed more than 4.7 million radio calls and dispatched more than 150 mobile radio units to the Colorado National Guard and various search and rescue teams. Additionally, the DTRS team has deployed technicians to conduct repairs and damage assessments to the state’s 200+ DTRS towers, some of which are located in the flood zones. OIT’s Geographic Information Systems team is assisting in the coordination of aggregating data with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies. For more information, contact jessica.roe@state.co.us or visit www.colorado.gov/oit.

Department of Education
The department is working with school districts affected by the flood by extending deadlines for filing reports, data transfers and the enrollment count date. The department has established a webpage targeted to districts with information on state resources, educational resources, and updates on other state support systems. School districts serving migrant populations are finding that they now have large numbers of students that are considered homeless. CDE is providing assistance to schools about providing service to students displaced by disasters. CDE is also working with the federal government which is now making available Project SERV grants to help affected districts restore a safe and secure learning environment in the aftermath of the flood. For more information, visit http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdegen/cofloodresources, www.cde.state.co.us, www.facebook.com/codepted or @codepted on Twitter.
Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
The department is working with the federal government and partner agencies to ensure that providers who need to evacuate Medicaid clients from facilities due to the flood will have reimbursement for the evacuations. The Department has been in contact with county partners impacted by the floods and is working with them to identify their needs and provide support. For more information visit Colorado.gov/hcpf or call the customer service line at Denver area at 303-866-3513 or outside of the Denver area at 1-800-221-3943.

Colorado Tourism Office
CTO is providing flood resource information on the Contact Us page of Colorado.com. Visitors can access flood-related resource links at www.colorado.com/contact-us/prescreen. Since the start of the flooding, CTO has been in close contact with the local areas impacted by the flooding and are receiving regular updates from Convention and Visitor Bureau centers.  
Department of Corrections
The Sterling Correctional Facility continues to monitor the rising South Platte River. Though the river has now begun to recede, there has been some reported flood damage to the Sterling Sewer System. A “No Flush Order and Limit Water Use Order” has been issued for SCF until further notice. CDOC offender SWIFT crews continue to be activated at the request of the State Office of Emergency Management. More than 50 offenders from Cannon City, Rifle and Buena Vista have conducted welfare checks, removed debris and assisted in the evacuation of 300+ Coloradans since last Thursday. For more information, contact Roger.Hudson@state.co.us or visit www.DOC.State.co.us,Facebook.com/ColoradoDOC and @Colorado_DOC on Twitter.

Department of Revenue
The department will extend filing deadlines for taxes by waiving penalty and interest for 30 days for any taxpayer affected by the floods that cannot file and pay a tax by the due date. Generally, the department follows the Internal Revenue Service’s lead for extending filing deadlines because of natural disasters. However, due to the unprecedented nature and scope of the flooding, the department will take additional measures to assist taxpayers during this emergency. For taxpayers directly impacted by the flood and cannot file tax returns by the required due date, the department will extend the filing deadline for 30 days without penalty and interest. Taxes include individual, partnership, corporate, and fiduciary income taxes, withholding taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes. Fore more information, contact daria.serna@state.co.us or visit www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue/REVX/1251643466091.

History Colorado/State Historic Preservation Office
The museum can be contacted for questions regarding flood damage to historic properties and personal items such as photographs and documents. Contact oahp@state.co.us.

Attorney General’s Office
The office is taking complaints regarding fraudulent charities and home repair scams. Consumers can call 1-800-222-4444 or click www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint to file a complaint.