Glenwood Canyon Incident Command System (ICS) Formed by Executive Director Shoshana Lew

August 6, 2021 - Statewide News

On July 29, Glenwood Canyon was closed due to a severe mudslide in the Grizzly Creek burn scar area.  For weeks, CDOT highway maintenance personnel have been working to secure the roadway and protect life safety, but last weekend the combination of the fires from last summer and the extreme rain resulted in substantial damage to the roadway, necessitating a longer-term closure of the Interstate.  Glenwood Canyon typically receives an average 2.4 inches of rain in July.  Over the course of five days more than 4 inches of precipitation fell on the burn scar area.

Due to the extreme nature of this event, particularly the most recent event, I have decided to form the Glenwood Canyon Incident Command (IC).  CDOT formed an IC to handle the devastation of the 2013 floods and the 2018 Cyber Incident, and the IC structures served to focus the department and a small team of individuals on recovering from the incidents as quickly as possible.

The Governor has set for us our key objective for an Incident Action Plan (IAP):   Complete emergency repairs so that all lanes of traffic are open through Glenwood Canyon before ski season begins.

To accomplish this challenging objective, it will take a focused team dedicated to the task at hand, and the kind of coordination and cadence of mission that only an ICS can provide.

Region 3 RTD Mike Goolsby, who has been managing the incident up to this point, will temporarily leave his post to assume the role of Incident Commander until further notice. He will continue to serve as a member of my EMT in that capacity. Mike will make sure the IC is seamlessly integrated with our Executive Management Team (EMT) structure to ensure all of the organization’s resources are being leveraged so that we are continuing to work as one team. 

To that end, our Deputy Chief Engineer Keith Stefanik will be an integral part of the IC as Deputy Incident Commander and still report to our Chief Engineer, Steve Harelson, who will continue to oversee all of the engineering and structural analysis being conducted through the IC.   Our Division of Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme will continue to manage movement of resources throughout CDOT to ensure that the response has sufficient resources from the maintenance side while we continue to support our typical responsibilities.  Jason Smith will assume the duties of Region 3 RTD effective August 9.   

With this announcement I am instructing all department employees, consultants and contractors working with CDOT on this incident in any way to work through the IC for every element of the project.  This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Visiting areas of the Glenwood Canyon site that are closed to the public and conducting tours of the site. Because of safety conditions, it is imperative that CDOT employees lead by example and follow all procedures for canyon entry and exit established by the incident command; 

  • Developing public materials including press releases, social media posts, or other content related to the event, as well as conducting outreach to key stakeholders.  This includes interagency coordination;

  • Requesting resources on behalf CDOT; 

  • Incurring expenses related to response and recovery.  This includes but is not limited to procurement decisions, purchase orders, and expenses incurred by P-Card.

  • Offering design, delivery, or operational recommendations related to any aspect of the project.  We truly value the expertise that our full CDOT team has to offer in a crisis. However, it is critical that inputs be coordinated and organized, so please work through the IC structure.  

Incident Commander Goolsby will be setting up his Incident Command Structure immediately and plans to include the following standard key positions and duties:

Command Staff: These staff will report directly to the Incident Commander, including the Deputy Incident Commander, Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other positions as required.

Incident Commander and Deputy Incident Commander Responsibilities

  • Having clear authority and knowing agency policy

  •  Ensuring incident safety

  •  Establishing an Incident Command Post

  • Setting priorities

Public Information Officer Responsibilities

  • Determine, according to direction from the IC, any limits on information release

  • Develop accurate, accessible, and timely information for use in press/media briefings

  • Obtain IC’s approval of news releases

  • Conduct periodic media briefings

  • Arrange for tours and other interviews or briefings that may be required

  • Monitor and forward media information that may be useful to incident planning

  • Maintain current information, summaries, and/or displays on the incident

  • Make information about the incident available to incident personnel.

  • Participate in planning meetings

Safety Officer Responsibilities

  •  Identify and mitigate hazardous situations

  •  Ensure safety messages and briefings are made

  • Exercise emergency authority to stop and prevent unsafe acts

  • Review the IAP for safety implications

  • Assign assistants qualified to evaluate special hazards

  • Initiate preliminary investigation of accidents within the incident area

  • Participate in planning meetings

Liaison Officer Responsibilities

  • Act as a point of contact for agency representatives

  • Maintain a list of assisting and cooperating agencies and agency representatives

  • Assist in setting up and coordinating interagency contacts

  • Monitor incident operations to identify current or potential interorganizational problems

  • Participate in planning meetings, providing current resource status, including limitations and capabilities of agency resources

Section Staff:  This organizational level has responsibility for a major functional area of incident management, including Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance/Administration.

Operations Section Chief Responsibilities

  • Assure safety of tactical operations

  • Manage tactical operations

  • Develop the operations portion of the IAP

  • Supervise execution of operations portions of the IAP

  • Request additional resources to support tactical operations

  • Approve release of resources from active operational assignments

  • Make or approve expedient changes to the IAP

  • Maintain close contact with IC, subordinate Operations personnel, and other agencies involved in the incident

Planning Section Chief Responsibilities

  • Collect and manage all incident-relevant operational data

  • Supervise preparation of the IAP

  • Provide input to the IC and Operations in preparing the IAP

  • Incorporate Traffic, Medical, and Communications Plans and other supporting materials into the IAP

  • Conduct and facilitate planning meetings

  • Reassign personnel within the ICS organization

  • Compile and display incident status information

  • Establish information requirements and reporting schedules for units (e.g., Resources and Situation Units)

  • Determine need for specialized resources

  • Assemble and disassemble Task Forces and Strike Teams (or law enforcement Resource Teams) not assigned to Operations

  • Establish specialized data collection systems as necessary (e.g., weather)

  • Assemble information on alternative strategies

  • Provide periodic predictions on incident potential

  • Report significant changes in incident status

  • Oversee preparation of the Demobilization Plan

Logistics Section Chief Responsibilities

  • Provide all facilities, transportation, communications, supplies, equipment maintenance and fueling, food and medical services for incident personnel, and all off-incident resources

  • Manage all incident logistics

  • Provide logistical input to the IAP

  • Brief Logistics Staff as needed

  • Identify anticipated and known incident service and support requirements

  • Request additional resources as needed

  • Ensure and oversee the development of the Communications, Medical, and Traffic Plans as required

  • Oversee demobilization of the Logistics Section and associated resources

Finance/Administration Section Chief Responsibilities

  • Manage all financial aspects of an incident

  • Provide financial and cost analysis information as requested

  • Ensure compensation and claims functions are being addressed relative to the incident

  • Gather pertinent information from briefings with responsible agencies

  • Develop an operating plan for the Finance/Administration Section and fill Section supply and support needs

  • Determine the need to set up and operate an incident commissary

  • Meet with assisting and cooperating agency representatives as needed

  • Maintain daily contact with agency(s) headquarters on finance matters

  • Ensure that personnel time records are completed accurately and transmitted to home agencies

  • Ensure that all obligation documents initiated at the incident are properly prepared and completed