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McGraw Educates SLVH and Community Leaders about Evacuation

Konnie Martin, SLVH CEO, and Ryan Daugherty, Director of SLVH Alamosa EMS, welcome Dave McGraw to Alamosa, Colorado.

     During the 2018 summer Spring Creek Fire on La Veta Pass, Dave McGraw helped his team make the difficult decision to evacuate the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center & Spanish Peaks Veteran community Living Center due to the compromised air quality.

     Dave is the Safety and Security Office as well as the Emergency Preparedness and Response Director with over 28 years of experience. On August 29, 2019, at Adams State Banquet hall, Dave spoke to leaders from the SLV community and the SLV Health directors and leaders. As he went through his presentation, he took questions from the audience, and he explained that nobody ever wants to evacuate prematurely, but due to public health indicators, even though the fire was far away, enough smoke had dropped over the facility to trigger an evacuation.  The team was taping up windows while nearby facilities were contacted. With many patients in wheelchairs, transportation was a challenge, but the team was prepared.

     Dave said that the preparedness and cooperation of staff and community members were enormous. Once the decision was made to evacuate, 104 patients were transferred to locations in Pueblo, Lamar and Colorado Springs in less than 16 hours. He complimented how the receiving facilities and communities went above and beyond, such as providing laundry service. He gave an excellent presentation and offered a challenge to the leaders present in the room, "How will you prepare for a possible evacuation? And, what would it look like in your facility if you were the one being asked to take on 15 new patients in several hours?"