The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) funds the PreparePueblo educational campaign, an emergency preparedness readiness effort for the citizens of Pueblo County. With an emphasis on the citizens working and living near the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, our efforts are to prepare families for an emergency. We ask the questions that get people talking about what they would do in an emergency.
- Fire What is your families re-unification spot?
- Flood Do you have two routes to get to and from your home?
- Chemical Event Do you know how to Shelter-In-Place?
Because being ready for something that may never happen - makes every difference when it does.
CSEPP Sunsetting After Three Decades
For more than 30 years, the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program has been educating, training, preparing and practicing with Pueblo County residents and First Responder agencies how to respond to a chemical incident or any other emergency/disaster.
The program was started in the late 1989 to assist the eight communities near the U.S. Army installations where chemical weapons were stored. The Pueblo Army Depot was one of nine sites where chemical weapons were stored. All but one site, Johnston Atoll, had a CSEP program.
CSEPP is funded by the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program was administered in Pueblo County by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
In December 2023, the CSEP program sunsets in Pueblo County as the 780,000 mustard munitions stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot have been safely destroyed.
The end of the chemical-agent destruction brings an end to the CSEP program and the millions of dollars in federal funding Pueblo County has received to enhance preparedness and response to a potential chemical-agent emergency. CSEPP has funded extensive training, state-of-the-art facilities, preparedness and protective equipment and annual emergency preparedness exercises.
Among the projects CSEPP paid for in Pueblo County was the state-of-the-art Emergency Services Center, which includes the emergency operations center, a joint information center and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office communication center.
The program also funded various types of emergency preparedness and response equipment to include warning sirens, radios, weather radios, personal protective equipment, decontamination and response vehicles.
CSEPP also brought in extensive training for emergency management, public information, hazardous material decontamination and other emergency response functions. Response agencies have had the opportunity to put the training into practice during the annual CSEPP community-wide full-scale exercise.
Pueblo County residents have also benefitted directly from CSEPP in that they have learned emergency preparedness skills to include preparing an emergency kit, how to shelter-in-place, developing a family emergency plan and creating evacuation routes out of your home, your neighborhood and your city.
Although the program is sunsetting, emergency preparation and response will be maintained in Pueblo County. With threats such as wildland fires, blizzards, floods, extreme heat and hazardous materials going up and down the highways and railroads, there is still the need to be prepared to respond to such emergencies. Community responders are committed to continue the legacy that CSEPP has brought to Pueblo County.
Sign up for alert notifications
Getting timely and accurate information before and during emergencies can save lives and property. The faster you know that a weather event is imminent, or an emergency has occurred that may affect you, the quicker you can respond to any required actions you and your family should take.
One of the quickest ways to receive that important information is on your cell phone. First responders and emergency managers can send alerts and notifications directly to your cell phone with information and instructions on what actions you should take.
The alerting system is used to send emergency alerts en masse to those who opt-in to receive the alerts. The public alerts are delivered via voice, text message or email (which the recipient selects) to registered cell phones.
For example, during emergencies or disasters such as wildland fires, floods, blizzards, hazardous material incidents etc., you could receive emergency alerts informing you whether you need to evacuate, shelter-in-place or take other actions. The alerts could also provide you with information on shelter locations, road closures and possible alternate routes. Notifications also could be sent to let you know when it is safe to return to your home or exit shelter.
But you won’t get the alerts with the potentially lifesaving and property saving information unless you sign up to receive the notifications.
If you are a resident of or work in Pueblo County (outside the Pueblo city limits), you can sign up to receive alert notifications on the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office website (www.pueblosheriff.com). If you live or work in the City of Pueblo, sign up for the alerts on the Pueblo Police Department website (https://www.pueblo.us/102/Police-Department).
If you have already registered your phone through the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and did so prior to February 2023, you will need to re-register cell phones due to a change in the emergency alert provider. In February, Pueblo County switched from the SWIFT system to RAVE system after RAVE merged with SWIFT.
If you have not registered your cell phone, you are encouraged to do so now. It is recommended that everyone with a cell phone in your household register each phone to receive the notifications.
To register a cell phone with the RAVE Alert System, go to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s website (www.pueblosheriff.com). Go to the “How Do I” tab at the top and under the “Sign Up For” tab click on emergency notifications and click on the “Register Now” icon in the middle of the page. Complete the form, submit it and your phone is registered.
Don’t miss out on receiving important alerts and timely notifications. Register your cell phone today.
Do you know how to shelter in place?
Emergencies and disasters can hit at any time and sometimes, it may be safer for you to go inside and stay there until the situation subsides. This is called shelter-in-place. You may be asked to shelter-in-place for a variety of reasons and each type may require different instructions for staying put. Some of the reasons you could be told to shelter-in-place are because of a chemical hazard, a law enforcement activity, weather events such as flooding, blizzards, tornados and wind storms or a pandemic.
Learn where to go inside your home, place of employment or other location and what to do if you are asked to shelter-in-place due to any of those incidents. Then make a shelter-in-place plan and practice it with family members.
Your plan should include identifying a room in your home where you plan to use to shelter-in-place. Designate locations in the room where you can hide, if need be based on the emergency. Make a shelter-in-place kit that includes duct tape, plastic (to seal off doors and windows), a radio, spare batteries, bottled water, flashlight and non-perishable food items.
Map out plans for rooms to shelter-in-place at locations where you spend a lot of time, such as your place of employment, houses of worship, schools etc.
Practice your plans regularly and remember in all instances of shelter-in-place, remain in the shelter until you are instructed it’s safe for you to leave.
Below are tips and information to help you make your plan based on the different types of emergencies/disasters.
CHEMICAL HAZARD – In the event of a chemical hazard such as the release you may be asked to go inside your home/place of employment and bring all pets indoors. Close and lock all windows and doors. Turn off the air conditioner or furnace, all fans and close the fireplace damper to keep the outside air from coming indoors.
Designate a room to shelter in and take a radio into the room with you. Interior rooms make it easier to seal the room as there are usually no windows and fewer doors. Use duct tape and plastic to seal around doors and windows. Listen to the radio for further instructions and updates. Do not leave the shelter-in-place until you are instructed to do so.
LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY/ACTIVE SHOOTER – Law enforcement will sometimes request that residents/employees stay inside their homes or place of employment due to an imminent threat, such as an active shooter or barricaded armed individual in the area. In this type of incident, people are should Run.Hide.Fight. This means that you should run from the danger if you can. Getting away is the top priority. Don’t stop to gather belonging. Help others escape if you can and warn others to stay away from the anger. If you see suspicious activity, let authorities know immediately. Call 9-1-1 when you are at safe location.
If you cannot run, you should hide. Stay out of the shooter or suspect’s view. Lock and block door entrances, turn off the lights and close all curtains and blinds. If there are multiple people in the location, spread out when hiding. Silence all electronic devices. Do not try to call 9-1-1, text a message instead to stay quiet.
If you are unable to run or hide, fighting may be the last resort. Don’t hesitate to fight. Commit to your actions. Throw objects or improvise weapons such as scissors, chairs, etc).
WEATHER EVENTS – Based on the weather event, you may be asked to evacuate your home. But in some instances, you may be told to remain at home, particularly if it is too late to evacuate. Depending on the weather event and the magnitude of the event will determine where and how you should shelter-in-place.
Flooding – If floodwaters rise to a dangerous level, you should go to the highest level of the building. In some cases, the highest level may be the roof of the building. Do not go into a closed attic as you could become trapped in rising water. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are at a safe location.
If you are advised to evacuate due to rising water, leave immediately. Do not drive around barricades and stay away from bridges over fast moving, rising water. If you see a flood road, don’t attempt to drive through it. Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
If your vehicle becomes trapped in fast-moving water, stay inside. If the water starts rising in the vehicle, get on the roof to the vehicle. Listen to the radio for information on what to do.
Thunderstorms – When you hear thunder, go indoors as thunder means lightning. Inside a sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm. Go inside as quickly as possible and bring all pets inside. Avoid running water and using land line telephones during the thunderstorm. Unplug electronic devices to avoid electrical surges.
If you are in a vehicle, remain inside. If you’re boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy building or a vehicle for shelter.
Tornado – If you are in a mobile home or manufactured home, you should evacuate immediately to a sturdy building. If you are at home, go to the lowest level of the home. If there is a basement go to the basement. Go into a windowless interior room. Shield your head and neck with your arms. Putting items such as furniture and blankets around you.
If you become trapped inside a building, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing in dust. Try to send a text, bang on an item or whistle to bring attention to where you are located. Do not enter a damaged building or leave your shelter unless you are told it is safe to do so.
Winter Storm – These storms can create a risk for hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attacks from exertion. It’s best to stay inside and bring your pets inside. If you need to go outside, wear layers of warm clothing and avoid exertion. Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
Use generators and any other gas-powered machinery outside only to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven.
Check on your elderly neighbors and friends as they are more at risk during periods of extreme cold.
If the power goes out in your home, turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics to avoid spikes that can cause damage. Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer.
Don't Wait for the Storm, Prepare for Winter Weather
Winter will be here before you know it. Are you prepared?
Winter storms can happen at any time, bringing with them bitter cold temperatures, blowing snow and icy roads which can pose a potential risk and hazard to everyone. Among some of the dangers that come with winter weather are frostbite and hypothermia, blizzards and heavy snow which can lead to disruptions in power, heating and community services. Roads can also become dangerous during winter storms, leading to stranded motorists. Don’t wait until the temperatures dip, snowflakes fall and roads turn to ice to prepare for winter. Prepare today by signing up to receive emergency alerts and notifications, creating an emergency kit for your home and your vehicle and making a family emergency plan.
One of the first things you will want to do in preparing for winter weather is to sign up for emergency alerts and notifications. This will allow you to receive valuable and potentially life-saving information regarding impending weather and what actions you and your family need to take to remain safe. To register your phone in Pueblo County, go online to Emergency Telephone Notification and click on the “Register Now” icon. Make sure each family member registers their cell phone. When emergency alerts are sent, follow the instructions provided to ensure your safety.
Now is the time to prepare your home and vehicle for winter.
- Prepare your home now to keep out the cold by insulating and caulking around doors and windows.
- Have your furnace checked by a professional and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly.
- Know how to keep water pipes from freezing to prevent them for breaking in freezing temperatures.
- If a storm is pending, gather enough supplies, food and medication to last for at least a couple of days for everyone in your household, including your pets.
- When a winter storm moves in, stay inside.
- If you use alternate heat from a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, make sure to properly ventilate.
- Have a flashlight and radio and make sure to have extra batteries on hand, should there be a power outage.
The best thing is to remain off the roads during a winter storm, sometimes that is not possible. That’s why it is important to make an emergency plan and create an emergency kit to keep in your car should you become stranded while on the road.
- Check the weather forecast before traveling
- Plan ahead your travel route and communicate the plan with other family members or friends. Avoid traveling alone.
- Try to keep you gas tank filled.
- Make a winter storm survival kit to keep in your vehicle. Items to include in your kit are an ice scraper, jumper cables, sand, flashlight (spare batteries), cell phone charger, waterproof matches, warm clothes, blanket, bottled water and non-perishable food items.
Going Outdoors During Extreme Weather
If you must go outdoors during a winter storm or extended cold spell, dress for the extreme temperatures to avoid frostbite and/or hypothermia.
- Wear layers of clothes that are loose and lightweight, but outerwear should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat.
- Eat well and stay hydrated.
- Avoid overexertion when outdoors, especially when shoveling snow.
- Check on older neighbors and children who are more at risk in extreme cold.
- Limit your time outdoors.
Watch for signs of hypothermia and frost bite.
Frost bite causes a loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes.
- Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin and firm or waxy skin.
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water, use body heat to warm. Don’t use a heating pad and do not massage.
Hypothermia: is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
- Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first – chest, neck, head and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the neck and head.
Don’t let winter keep you out in the cold.
Sign up for Emergency Alerts
Are you prepared for a disaster?
Would you and your family be prepared to evacuate if your home was threatened by a wildfire? Do you know alternate routes out of your neighborhood should your normal route be close due to flooding? Is your 72-hour kit updated and ready should you need it in an emergency? Have you registered your cell phone to receive emergency alerts?
These are just a few of the things you can do to help better prepare you and your family for an emergency.
Don’t wait for the emergency or disaster to strike, get prepared now.
Make a family plan and discuss it with each member of your family.
As part of your plan, know what types of disasters can affect your area and how you will respond to each of those disasters.
Include in the plan how you will communicate with family members and your plans for reconnecting, should you become separated during an emergency. Create evacuation routes from your home, your neighborhood and your city. Develop a shelter-in-place kit and plan to practice it with your family members.
Your preparedness plan should also include a 72-hour kit with items that you and your family would need to sustain you for at least three days. If you already have a kit prepared, make sure to periodically go through it and refresh items that may need it. Recommended items for your kit are water, non-perishable food items, extra cell phone battery or charger, battery powered or hand crank radio (to receive alerts and updates), flashlight and extra batteries, can opener, whistle and extra face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Other items you can include are prescription medications (or written prescriptions to be filled if needed), copies important family documents, blankets, matches, paper and pencil, books, games or other items for children. If you have an infant, include formula and diapers in your kit. Don’t forget your pets! Pack additional water, food and supplies for your pet.
If you haven’t signed up for emergency alerts, do so today. By signing up for the alerts, you will be notified of an emergency and can receive instructions on what to do and where to go.
To sign up for emergency alerts in Pueblo County go to http://portalv4.swiftreach.com/portal.aspx?c=202228
Don’t wait, prepare for disaster or emergency today.
Your pets are an important member of your family, so when an emergency or disaster strikes don’t forget them. Make sure to include your pets and their needs in your family emergency plan. Make sure you build a pet emergency kit and include it as part of your emergency kit. Having a prepared plan that includes your animals, both small and large, will make it a lot less stressful during an emergency.
As part of your family emergency plan include a section for your animals that includes important records such as vaccination cards, where you would go if you had to evacuate and who might be able to get your animals should you not be allowed to get to your home during the emergency. Not all shelters or hotels will allow animals. Designate a safe place where you can take your animals if they are not able to stay with you. Develop a buddy system or someone you can designate to pick up or care for you animal should you be away from your home and unable to return to retrieve your animals.
Once you develop an evacuation plan for you and your pets, practice it so they are more comfortable when an emergency arises. In making your 72-hour emergency kit, be sure to add items for your pet. Among items you should pack for your pets are enough food and water for at least a couple of days. Make sure the food is kept in an airtight and waterproof container. Make sure to pack a bowl.
If your pet takes medication, keep an extra supply in the emergency kit along with a pet first aid kit. Include copies of your pet’s identification, vaccination tags and a photo just in case you and your pet become separated. Have a traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier available for each of your pets. Pack trash bags and kitty litter so you can provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. Don’t forget to put a favorite toy, treats, bedding and other familiar items in the kit to help your pet during the stressful times.
If you have large animals such as horses and goats, pigs, chickens and cows, there are some things you can do to prepare for an emergency. Make sure each of your animals have some type of identification such as a brand, ear tag, leg band, halter tag or tattoo. When a disaster or emergency strikes, make sure all your family is prepared… including your 4-legged furry members.
Being ready for an emergency can consist of many things from building an emergency prepared kit to establishing an evacuation plan. Some emergencies may require you to get inside and stay put or shelter-in-place.” If you were required to shelter-in-place, would you know what to do?Here are some brief instructions to help you know what to do and create a plan for sheltering-in-place. Sometimes staying safe in an emergency requires you to stay inside and shelter-in-place, but where you should go inside and what you should do could be different based on the emergency. Regardless of the emergency, if you are asked to shelter-in-place, you should act immediately. Shelter where you are, unless otherwise directed by emergency officials. Go inside (make sure to take your pets with you) and stay put until you are instructed to leave by officials. Designate a safe room based on the type of emergency go to the room as soon as possible.
If it is a chemical or hazardous material emergency, make sure to tightly lock all doors and windows, and turn off fans, heating and air conditioning systems before going into the safe room. The quicker you do this, the less likely contaminates are able to get into the building. Listen to the TV or radio for further instructions on what to do.
CREATING A SAFE ROOM - A safe room is a room that can easily and quickly be sealed to protect you from airborne chemical or hazardous material agents. You and your family should designate a safe room prior to an emergency. The safe room should be one that can be sealed tightly.
Create a shelter-in-place box to keep in your safe room for use during an emergency. In the box include plastic sheeting, scissors and tape. You can pre-cut and label the plastic to fit the windows, doors and vents in the room to make it for easier, quicker placement during the emergency. Include a battery-operated AM/FM radio, extra batteries, snacks and water in the box. Make sure to include supplies for your pet if you have one.
Once the emergency is declared over by officials, open doors and windows and turn on fans and other things that circulate air and go outside. Remain outside at least until the inside air has been exchanged with clean outdoor air.
When a disaster or emergency occurs, the first priority is life safety.
One of the ways to ensure you and your family remain safe is to be prepared by developing and practicing your family emergency plan. Critical to every emergency plan is an evacuation plan as many emergencies can require you to leave your home. In some cases, you may have a couple of days to prepare for an evacuation while other situations require you to immediately evacuate. Make sure to plan ahead so no matter when you have to evacuate you can do so safely and smoothly.
Don’t wait for a disaster or emergency to happen to make your evacuation plan --- do it today.
Plan ahead for emergencies, map your evacuation route today.
When an emergency or disaster hits, getting life-saving information is important. One of the easiest and fastest ways to get information during an emergency is on your cell phone. Information such as alerts, notifications and directions of what you need to do, or where to go can be disseminated right to your phone. Emergency officials can identify specific areas that affected by the emergency/disaster and can prepare and send messages pertinent to the emergency. But you need to have your cell phone registered to receive the alerts. Don’t wait for an emergency to register, do it today!! Registering your phone is simple. Click on the following link http://portalv4.swiftreach.com/portal.aspx?c=202228 and follow the directions to register your phone.Make sure your family registers their phones as well. Remember, if we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you.
Without prior knowledge of the location of the emergency zones and what the specific instructions may be required of those residing or working the zones may come across as confusing. It’s important to pre-plan and know what instructions, such as “evacuate” or “shelter-in-place”, mean for you and your family. Families living in the designated emergency zones should discuss a plan in the event that there is an emergency and orders.
We encourage Pueblo to learn more about the best way to protect yourself this season! When it comes to threats associated with natural disaster, we are fortunate in Pueblo County to not have the coastal risks that effect many other US communities. Even the threats of earthquake or tornado are relatively low here in Pueblo. Some of our biggest threats are often forecast or come with some warning. Snow or thunder storms, and even wild land fires give residents time to leave or "hunker-down" as the threat approaches. You have opportunity to prepare your family for those risks and educate yourself on the steps to take before, during, and after the event.
Make a disaster plan to protect your property, your facilities and your animals. Create a list of emergency telephone numbers, including those of your employees, neighbors, veterinarian, state veterinarian, poison control, local animal shelter, animal care and control. Include a contact person outside the disaster area. Make sure all the information is written down and that everyone has a copy. Make sure every animal has durable and visible identification Ensure that poultry have access to high areas in which to perch, if they are in a flood prone area as well as to food and clean water. Reinforce your barn and outbuildings. Perform regular safety checks on all utilities, buildings and facilities on your farm.