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Office of Emergency Management

The Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is an office at the local level that holds the responsibility of comprehensively planning for and responding to and recovering from all manner of disasters, whether man-made or natural.  An OEM may also be requested to provide consequence management for large special events such as major gatherings, visiting dignitaries, etc.

Responsibilities include coordination and collaboration efforts between all local, state, and federal government entities, non-government organizations, local businesses and the county citizens.  This is accomplished by maintaining a county emergency operations plan (EOP) and a Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP), participating in local and regional workgroups, planning and coordinating emergency training and exercises, and supporting public education in emergency preparedness.

During a disaster the Office of Emergency Management assists in coordinating the response effort with local and state agencies, non-government agencies, local businesses and other organizations.  After the disaster the Office of Emergency Management coordinates and assists with the recovery efforts to restore our community.

Prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery are the five steps of Emergency Management.

Prevention:  Prevention is the action taken to decrease the likelihood that an event or crisis will occur.  Prevention focuses on preventing human hazards, primarily from potential natural disasters or terrorist (both physical and biological) attacks. Preventive measures are designed to provide more permanent protection from disasters; however, not all disasters can be prevented.

Mitigation: Hazard mitigation reduces the loss of life and property by minimizing the impact of disasters. This begins with state, tribal, and local governments identifying natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities that are common in their area. After identifying these risks, they develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from similar future events. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.

Preparedness: Disaster preparedness planning involves identifying organizational resources, determining roles and responsibilities, developing policies and procedures, and planning activities in order to reach a level of preparedness to be able to respond timely and effectively to a disaster should one occur.

Response: Emergency response includes any systematic response to an unexpected or dangerous occurrence. The goal of an emergency response procedure is to mitigate the impact of the event on people and the environment.

Recovery: Recovery consists of those activities that continue beyond the emergency period to restore critical community functions and begin to manage stabilization efforts. The recovery phase begins immediately after the threat to human life has subsided. Recovery operations are an extremely important phase in the Emergency Management continuum and yet one that is often overlooked. The Incident Command System team is responsible for the implementation of the Recovery phase.

Possible disasters for Montezuma County include, but not limited to:

  • Chemical Emergency, Coronavirus, Drought, Earthquake
  • Fire, Flood, Flu, Food Safety
  • Heat Wave, Highway Safety, Landslide
  • Poisoning, Power Outage, Terrorism, Active Shooter
  • Thunderstorm, Lightning Strikes, Wind Shears
  • Water Safety, Wildfire,  Winter Storm

Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management Monthly Situation Reports

Emergency Operations Plan (EOP)

The Montezuma County Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) outlines how county public safety agencies and organizations will implement life and property saving actions when a major disaster or emergency challenges our ability and our resources to respond effectively.  Priorities during an event are to save lives, protect public health, protect property, protect the environment, and to restore the community.  The EOP describes policies, planning assumptions, concept of operations, response and recovery actions.  Responsibilities of each Montezuma County department and agency are identified to guide operations in preparation for and following a major disaster or emergency.

County Hazard Mitigation Plan

Available for Public Review.

Would you like to learn more about what Montezuma County is doing to minimize the impacts of wildfires, floods, landslides, and other hazards? The plan assesses risks posed by natural hazards, identifies ways to reduce those risks, and allows the County to be eligible for mitigation funding from FEMA. A Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC) consisting of representatives from various county departments, the municipalities including Cortez, Mancos, Dolores, and the Cortez Fire Protection District developed the plan update over the past 18 months with assistance from a consultant and input from stakeholders and the public. The plan identifies hazard mitigation goals and a variety of mitigation projects with the intent of reducing losses from hazard events before they occur again. The plan can be accessed at the following website:


 For more information, contact:

 Jim Spratlen

Emergency Manager

109 W. Main St., #115,

Cortez, CO 81321

Montezuma County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

On the national level, the 2000 fire season prompted the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to issue a joint report to the president entitled; “Managing the Impacts of Wildfire on Communities and the Environment: A Report to the President in Response to the Wildfires of 2000.” This report became known as the National Fire Plan (NFP) which provided the basic framework for Montezuma County to begin its wildfire planning effort.
In May of 2002, Montezuma County, along with four surrounding counties in southwest Colorado unveil the Community Fire Plans (CFPs) as part of the National Fire Plan (NFP). Collectively, these five CFPs were considered at the time to be national models for collaboration, an intergovernmental planning an action around wildfire education in rural and rural/ resort communities. These CFPs provided the strategic framework that has driven a myriad of action items pertaining to mitigation, education, and emergency response.

The CWPP has been prepared to assist Montezuma County residents, local governments and land management agencies for the following primary purposes;

  • Protect the lives of residents and emergency personnel.
  • Protect property and critical infrastructure in the wildland-urban interface
  • Protect key environmental values and quality of life.

Please feel free to click on this  link and review our current CWPP.

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Contact Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management

Jim Spratlen, Emergency Manager
109 West Main, Suite 115
Cortez, CO 81321
Phone: (970) 564-4137

Emergency Manager

Jim Spratlen, (970) 564-4137
East Canyon
Contact Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management