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Welcome to the home of FEAT. We are the not-for-profit committee of the Colorado Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. (CoA4WDCi), which assists emergency services personnel during times of crisis in the Denver Metro area.

 

FEAT is also providing emergency services to Jefferson County’s (Jeffco - OEM). This service will not be used during snow emergencies, but could include moving supplies and personnel to firefighters using our 4wheel drive vehicles or assisting in floods, or other services in which JeffCo may need help.

 

HISTORY

 

FEAT’S story actually began during one of the worst storms in recent memory, Christmas Eve, 1982. During this storm the city called for volunteer 4x4 drivers and their vehicles to help people who found themselves in trouble. The storm hit so hard, so fast, and the snow was so deep that people were stranded at work, or unable to get to a doctor. Essential personnel (doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen) found themselves unable to report to work.

 

The Office of Emergency Preparedness hurriedly set up a system where volunteer four-wheelers could call in and leave their number and the people in need would call in and leave their number. Operators would then attempt to link up the two.

It was a massive undertaking. Considering the haste in which it was implemented, the system worked surprisingly well. But the system was also awkward, slow to initiate, and generated a lot of chaos.

 

TODAY

 

FEAT is a program of the Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. (CoA4WDCI). FEAT volunteers need not be a member of an association club but have a 4x4 vehicle and have a strong desire to provide a public assistance to Denver’s emergency services personnel. The FEAT volunteer must sign-up using an application available on the CoA4WDCI’s web site, www.hightrails.org. They must have a high-clearance 4x4 vehicle, be at least 21 years old, have a valid drivers license and no DUI or felony convictions.

 

We have a newly signed 3-year Statement of Understanding (SOU) with Denver’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The OEM is providing 3 positions in the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) for FEAT dispatchers; each position includes 4 telephone lines, phone headsets, and a laptop computer.

 

We do not transport critical or injured patients; nor does FEAT have the capability to transport non-essential employees. (i.e. those not necessary to prevent a danger to health or safety). The FEAT organization does not run a taxi service or provide convenience transportation to the general public.

 

There is no charge for assistance from FEAT. Members are strictly volunteers who furnish their vehicles, gas, and time to help the community. They may take donations for FEAT operations but are prohibited from receiving personal gratuities.

 

ACTIVATION

 

When the local weather forecast is for 6 inches or more of snowfall I send a FEAT ALERT email to our 100 plus volunteer drivers telling them to stand-by and make sure their 4x4 is full of gas, their cell phone is charged, they have paper and pencil (pens have a tendency to freeze), bring water, extra boots and pants, tire chains etc. When the OEM opens the EOC and they activate FEAT, our dispatchers’ head for the OEM (located in the basement of the City and County building) and we start contacting drivers.

 

During the March 2003 massive storm (over 90 inches of snow in the foothills and 3 and 4 foot snowfalls in the Denver metro area), Al Fink and myself spent four 16-hour days as FEAT dispatchers. During this period we had 90 volunteer drivers that provided over 200 trips to 190 persons plus hauling material for the Red Cross to set up an emergency shelter center at East High school. Besides transporting police, fire, doctors and nurses, we hauled health care people to care for the quadriplegic patients that needed urine bags emptied and were able to pick-up and deliver several critical medical prescriptions for snow-bound seniors. Al and I literally had information on drivers and riders written on scrap pieces of paper and often had to consult with each other to find a driver to match a rider’s request. It was almost organized chaos!!

 

During the post review with OEM I approached them with the idea of adding our FEAT drivers into the city’s software tracking system. Since then, the city has developed a special software package just for FEAT dispatchers. It will be ready for use this snow season.

Upon activation by the OEM, I input the driver database (on an Excel spreadsheet) into the new FEAT software system and we start calling drivers to ascertain their status. When we receive a call for a ride, we input the rider’s information, i.e., name, address, phone numbers, and ZIP. The computer will identify the nearest driver using ZIP codes or a zone to match with the rider request. (I have the metro are divided into 6 zones and within each zone I have identified all zip codes.) We then call the driver and give them the information. The driver will call the rider and they determine a pick-up time and get directions, if necessary.

 

When the ride is completed the driver calls the dispatcher; they are requested to either stay in-place in case we need them for another ride (i.e., shift changes) or assign them another rider.

 

This is now a real-time process that keeps track of all drivers and requests are at all times and we have a positive control over our dispatching.

 

In June of every year, we have an evaluation with the OEM personnel. We may refine and adjust the process as necessary. We anticipate extending our SOU every 3 years.

 

OTHER FEATs

 

The Trailridge Runners 4x4 Club of Longmont have an SOU with the United Presbyterian Hospital in Longmont to provide FEAT services.

 

June 2007 - FEAT is now providing services to Colorado Springs.

F.E.A.T. - FOUR-WHEEL EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TEAM

 

 

Q: What is FEAT?
  A: FEAT is a volunteer group of owners of four-wheel-drive vehicles that is associated with the Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc.

Q: What does FEAT do?
  A: FEAT provides supplemental, emergency transportation in the Denver Metro area when snowstorms or other disasters require the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles. FEAT’s first priority is to get essential City of Denver’s emergency services employees to and from work at hospitals, fire and police stations, and emergency agencies.

Q: Who are the members of FEAT?
  A: The majority of FEAT members belong to local four-wheel-drive clubs, although this is not required for membership in FEAT. All members of FEAT are required to fill out a membership application before being accepted.

Q: Why is it preferable to use FEAT rather than to put out a general call for four-wheel-drive volunteers through the media?
  A: FEAT drivers are prescreened drivers who are individually assigned and their assignments recorded.

Q: What types of transportation does FEAT provide?
  A: FEAT provides supplemental, emergency transportation to assist during emergencies when other transportation is not available. FEAT transports essential emergency personnel needed to provide critical services.

Q: What does FEAT not provide?
  A: It does not transport critical or injured patients; nor does FEAT have the capability to transport non-essential employees. (i.e. those not necessary to prevent a danger to health or safety). The FEAT organization does not run a taxi service or provide convenience transportation. Newly developed software developed by the City of Denver will allow dispatchers to take advance notice of requests for a specific pickup time.

Q: How does FEAT operate?
  A:

When the Denver Office of Emergency Management (OEM) advises FEAT of a possible weather emergency, FEAT members are placed on placed “stand-by” status via email. When FEAT is activated, the FEAT volunteer dispatchers will start phoning driver volunteers to determine their status. The software will select a driver closest to the address of the requestor and the dispatcher will provide the information to the driver. The driver will call the requestor for specific information and to establish a pick-up time.

When the ride is completed, the driver calls the dispatcher for reassignment. If a large amount of assistance is needed, volunteers may be assigned to work directly with the institution requesting assistance. These requests are handled on a case-by-case basis and depend on the number of volunteers available. Medical personnel receive top priority for these requests.


Q: How many volunteers does FEAT have available?
  A: The number available varies from event to event but in general, the greater the need, the more volunteers will be available. FEAT has over one hundred registered volunteers.

Q: When does FEAT go into operations?
  A: The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in each area will activate FEAT when snow conditions are severe enough that public transportation (taxi or bus) is not available and two- wheel-drive vehicles are being advised to stay off the streets.

Q: What is the cost of FEAT service?
  A: There is no charge for assistance from FEAT. Members are strictly volunteers who furnish their vehicles, gas, and time to help the community. They may take donations for FEAT operations but are prohibited from receiving personal gratuities.

PLAN OF IMPLEMENTATION
COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF FOUR WHEEL DRIVE CLUBS, INC. (CoA4WDCI)

 

A. PARTICIPATION BY CoA4WDCI, FEAT

In the event of a major disaster, FEAT will be called to respond to and cooperate with the Denver Office of Emergency Management. FEAT will organize its members and in cooperation with the Office of Emergency Management carry out such services as defined in this Plan of Implementation and the Statement of Understanding.
 

B. ACTIVATION PLAN

The Mayor of Denver or the Director of the Denver Office Emergency Management (or their designated representative) is authorized to activate this plan by a telephone call or request to the FEAT Chairman or any of his designated representatives. At this time, FEAT will contact the appropriate members with notification of needs and place the plan into action.
 

C. EMERGENCY OPERATING PLAN

1. PURPOSE
a. To provide emergency 4-wheel drive transportation as directed by the Denver Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

2. SERVICES NOT PROVIDED UNDER THIS AGREEMENT
a. Transportation for acute medical emergencies
b. Shoveling snow (at option of volunteer)
c. Towing vehicles
d. Jumping batteries or starting stalled vehicles

3. CHAIN OF OPERATIONS
a. Call will come into central dispatch point.
b. The dispatcher will take the number and refer it to a volunteer driver who will call the party back and arrange transportation.
c. Hospitals and care facilities needing large amounts of assistance maybe assigned one or several volunteers to work out of the hospital.
d. Volunteers are to call the FEAT number when they arrive at their destination for safety purposes and to coordinate return assignments.
e. Volunteers will be issued a card that will identify them as a member of FEAT working on behalf of the Denver Office of Emergency Management.

 

D. RESPONSIBILITIES OF FEAT

1. To maintain an organization capable of responding in an emergency.
2. To work out details of notification procedures and required cooperation with the Denver Office of Emergency Management.
3. To establish a chain of command for response to requests for assistance.
4. To orient and train members to work within the established system and
guidelines.
5. To maintain a list of volunteers willing and equipped to assist in emergencies.
6. To maintain records of volunteers used, man hours spent, and equipment available.
7. To make a report after each use of the system for critique and improvement if needed.
 

E. COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES

1. All services provided will be at the expense of the volunteer. The volunteer will not be allowed to ask for or accept compensation.
2. Volunteers will be provided with cards stating the name and purpose of FEAT and an address to which donations can be sent to help defray mailing and printing costs of FEAT if desired; however, no donations shall be solicited and these cards are only to be used if the beneficiary of services insists on a donation.

Please submit any comments, concerns or ideas for the program.

 

F.E.A.T. Feedback Form

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Are you right for F.E.A.T.?

 

  • Do you live in the metro areas and own a high clearance 4x4 vehicle?
  • Would you be willing to assist people in case of a large storm?
  • Do you have a valid drivers license and insurance?

 

If you answered yes to these questions please fill out our membership application and help us help those in need!

 

 

Application & Information Change Form

 

You do NOT need to be a member of CoA4WDCI or one of its clubs. You are NOT eligible to join FEAT if you have:

 

• No drivers license or state required insurance
• DUI or Felony conviction

 
By submitting this application, you are agreeing to a background investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation
 

Application for F.E.A.T

 

 

PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION:

DRIVER LICENSE INFORMATION (required):

VEHICLE TO BE USED WITH FEAT OPERATIONS:

 

EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

 

I hereby apply for membership in F.E.A.T. and agree to abide by the established rules and regulations of the organization. I agree to a background investigation and advised a copy of this application will be forwarded to Denver Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. I understand that as a F.E.A.T. volunteer, I must furnish my own vehicle, insurance and gasoline. I further understand that neither F.E.A.T. nor the Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. nor the Cities of Colorado Springs, Denver, Greely, Longmont or Montrose or their employees will be held responsible for any accidents or damages to my vehicle or other vehicles or private property in which I may be involved during my work as a F.E.A.T. volunteer.

 

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