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State agencies continue assistance to Coloradans in flooded areas

DENVER — Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 — Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and Cabinet members continue to visit and assist flooded communities in Northern Colorado, the northeast plains, the Front Range and Southern Colorado. 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 atwww.facebook.com/COEmergency. Preparedness information is shared at www.READYColorado.com, at @READYColorado on Twitter and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/READYColorado. Division wide information is shared at www.DHSEM.state.co.us.

 

Department of Transportation

Since last week, CDOT has focused on rescue efforts in Larimer, Boulder and Weld counties and across the northeastern plains. While the flooding continues in eastern Colorado, the water is subsiding in many areas and CDOT is expediting repairs in several areas. CDOT is also in the process of obtaining three response teams to help construct the temporary roads for U.S. 36 and State Highway 7 between Boulder and Estes Park, U.S. 34 between Loveland and Estes Park, SH 72 between U.S. 93 and SH 119 and for impacted highways in eastern Colorado. CDOT will issue a request for proposals from the contracting community today and will select the teams by Friday with work beginning next week. CDOT crews and additional contractors have also been hard at work repairing and opening other roadways. CDOT has a new single point of access for people with questions and issues, contact dot_flood@state.co.us or 720-263-1589.

 

Colorado National Guard

The Colorado National Guard (CONG) reports that as of 11 a.m. today, a total of 754 troops, 19 helicopters, 20 ground search-and-rescue teams, and 67 traffic-control points are operational. The cumulative number of military aerial evacuations is currently 2,394; 75 of them by hoist. Additionally, 816 animals have been evacuated by air. Nearly 18.5 tons of cargo, including critical food, water and clothing and transportation and engineering supplies have been transported via military helicopters since flood operations began. CONG have evacuated a cumulative 707 people by ground, along with estimated hundreds of animals. Currently, 23 teams with 83 vehicles are operating in Boulder, Larimer County, Weld County and Denver. 3,098 people displaced by Colorado flooding have been evacuated by military personnel. 209 CONG members are currently manning 67 checkpoints in Fort Collins, Longmont, Greeley, Milliken/Evans, and Boulder, in order to ensure public safety and protect property. Approximately 200 military vehicles are being used to support evacuation and resupply missions. In total, 38 Colorado National Guardsmen filled, moved and stacked approximately 12,000 sandbags in Jefferson County to help civil authorities mitigate flooding effects and are mission complete.

 

Colorado State Patrol

The Colorado State Patrol continues to work in critical roles within the state’s Emergency Operations Center, established Incident Command Centers in Weld, Larimer, Logan, Washington, Sedgwick, Morgan, Boulder and El Paso counties. The role of CSP is to secure public safety by providing troopers for roadblocks/road closures, assist local and county law enforcement officials with planning and the assignment of personnel and equipment associated with recovery or evacuation efforts. The same processes are being followed in all affected counties.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. Also, DOLA's Division of Property Taxation has been assisting local assessors in the impacted counties with questions about how to appropriately adjust the values of impacted properties.

 

Department of Natural Resources

Teams of inspectors, engineers and environmental protection specialists with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are in the field assessing impacts to oil and gas facilities and prioritizing locations using mapping efforts as well as information from field staff, industry and the public. The Division of Water Resources continues to coordinate dam inspections throughout the affected area. The agency has also prepared instructions for water well owners in flooded areas regarding well decontamination. The Division of Mining, Reclamation and Safety is assessing impacts to gravel mines and other operations affected by the event. For more information, contacttodd.hartman@state.co.us.

 

Department of Agriculture

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) reminds agricultural operations that due to possible water contamination, agricultural workers who come in contact with such waters should practice good personal hygiene and wash their hands frequently with soap and clean warm water. CDA is assisting the State Emergency Operations Center with livestock evacuation needs. Livestock appear to be relatively safe but there are a tremendous amount of crops under water. It is too early to anticipate the amount of crop loss and how this will affect agriculture. The following link provides information on flood-affected crops:FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption:. The USDA encourages farmers, ranchers, producers, landowners and rural communities in the Presidentially declared disaster areas to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Center to report damages to crops or livestock; their local Rural Development office for housing, business or community assistance information and/or their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office for help with debris removal. 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 visit http://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, Lyons, Mountain Meadow (Allenspark) and the Lower Narrows Campground in Larimer County. The department continues to update itsflood web page with additional information for the public and regulated communities. Guidance on handling flood debris was updated to include disposal of ewaste, and a flood debris waiver was posted for landfill owners and operators. The site now provides updated information on food handling, emergency livestock disposal and a disaster distress helpline. The department continues to provide up-to-date information through social media, and agencies and media continue to retweet and share our advice about mold cleanup, boil water advisories, WIC information, etc.. For more information, visit CDPHE’s website, follow @CDPHE on Twitter or www.facebook.com/CDPHE or contact mark.salley@state.co.us.

 

Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance

Starting today, personnel from the Division of Insurance will staff disaster centers set up in Larimer County (Loveland), Boulder County (Boulder and Longmont), Weld County (Firestone and Greeley), and Adams County (Commerce City). Division personnel will answer questions about insurance and the claims process, as well as handing out information about the insurance companies and local agents, public adjusters and contractors, and the availability of loans from the Small Business Administration. Residents can also call theDivision of Insurance at 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745 (outside of metro Denver). For more information, visit www.dora.colorado.gov/insurance and follow at @DORAColorado or www.facebook.com/dora.colorado.

 

Department of Human Services

The Sterling Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Office in Logan County is the last remaining office in affected areas to remain closed today. This is due to the closure of its co-location agency, the Northeastern Junior College, a continued no-flush order and local school closure. The Community Centered Boards and Department staffs are working actively to ensure clients with developmental disabilities are safe and provided with continued services. The department’s Food Assistance Program is asking the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to extend the time frame for current recipients of Food Assistance benefits in Adams, Boulder, Larimer, and Weld Counties to report a loss of food due to the flooding. All four counties have eligibility staff available at disaster locations to accept applications for Food Assistance benefits. For more information, visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs, www.twitter.com/co_cdhs, or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colorado-Department-of-Human-Services/100791360004450

 

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 atwww.facebook.com/coloradolabor and @ColoradoLabor on Twitter.

 

Governor’s Office of Information Technology

OIT is supporting the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to launch a new, Colorado Recovery Website that will coordinate local, state and federal efforts related to flooding. While there is no specific estimated launch date/time for the new website, OIT’s team is working non-stop with the EOC to get additional resources online as information becomes available. Also, OIT is providing 24/7 support to the EOC including remote WiFi access as well as Network, Application and Deskside support and OIT's Geographic Information Systems team provides imagery upon request. For more information, contact jessica.roe@state.co.us or visit www.colorado.gov/oit.

 

Office of Economic Development and International Trade

The Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance to open Business Recovery Centers covering Boulder, Golden, Erie, Longmont, Lyons, Loveland, Fort Collins, Estes Park, Manitou, Colorado Springs, Monument, Greeley, Evans, Milliken, Johnstown, Sterling and Fort Morgan. The centers will offer free consulting and assistance to businesses affected by the recent floods, both physically and economically and SBDC and SBA Disaster staff will be on site to assist business owners in applying for low-interest federal disaster loans where available. Local SBDC offices are also providing free assistance to those affected with disaster loan packaging, insurance evaluation, loss estimations, and more. To view a list of recoery centers and/or to make an appointment for disaster relief assistance at your local SBDC, visit www.coloradosbdc.org/consulting/disaster-relief or email sbdc@state.co.us.

 

Department of Education

The department is providing individual support to school districts, including personal phone calls to all 178 superintendents to determine impact and resource needs. The department is responding to district needs for alternatives to some state requirements around enrollment count dates, requirements for minimum days of school, and transportation issues. Particularly in the north, CDE is helping connect districts with resources for helping families that have been displaced. Districts facing a possible loss of enrolled students who have fled the flood and districts that may receive displaced students from other districts are working with the department on the best way to serve the students and maintain stability, with the shifts in enrollment. So districts can most easily apply for and receive emergency grant funds from the federal government’s Project SERV program, CDE is helping districts by compiling initial information to reduce district staff time focusing on grant applications. The department’s special resources page is updated continuously, which includes guidance for schools serving homeless students, options for students qualifying for free lunch due to being displaced and more information. 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.

 

Department of Corrections

The Sterling Correctional Facility (SCF) continues to operate under modified operations due to flooding within the city of Sterling. SCF is restricting water usage at our Northern Colorado facility for the next several days while flood waters recede at the city’s lift station. Several offender crews from the Sterling facility are assisting the city with emergency clean up. All visitation and volunteer programs at SCF have been canceled 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 Canon City, Rifle and Buena Vista are actively involved in debris removal in Boulder County. For more information contact CDOC PIO Roger.Hudson@State.co.us or visit www.DOC.State.co.us,Facebook.com/ColoradoDOC and Twitter.com/Colorado_DOC.

 

Department of Revenue

All Department of Revenue offices are open. 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 is taking additional measures to assist taxpayers during this emergency. For taxpayers directly impacted by the flood, who as a result cannot file their 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. For more, contact daria.serna@state.co.us or http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue/REVX/1251643466091

 

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.

 

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.

 

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