Denver’s Office of Emergency Management prepares for Wednesday’s weather

DENVER -- The Office of Emergency Management for the City and County of Denver has a plan already in motion ahead of Wednesday's severe weather.

When disaster hits, the OEM acts as a command center. It coordinates all of the city’s resources during a large, complex emergency.

“Tornadoes, blizzards, all the way to acts of terrorism,” said Ryan Broughton, the executive director of Denver’s OEM.

Broughton is in communication with the National Weather Service in Boulder and will have eyes on his virtual maps.

“We'll watch the weather come in as we also can see the number of crashes, the number of police on accident alert. They’ll be focused on clearing those accidents quickly and we’ll be able to see that in real time,” Broughton said.

Broughton plans to deploy city plows as needed, but another big concern for Wednesday is the potential for a major power outage.

“One of the big problems with blizzards is power. What we're always worried about with a blizzard is we always tell people, 'Keep trees trimmed back, make sure you don’t have dead limbs near power lines,' because that’s what could cause the actual emergency,” Broughton said.

Last year, the OEM had 12 real world emergency activations, including the deadly Emerson Street apartment fire.

With the storm predictions for Wednesday, Broughton says he likely won't need to bring the facility on line, but will coordinate with their partners to ensure everyone is prepared.

“Our constant focus is what can disrupt the city's operations and how can we make sure the people are safe and well cared for," Broughton said. "Our mission here is to save the city."

Xcel Energy went into “storm assessment mode” at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, which means they will have more employees available for storm recovery efforts.

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