Useful information from Big Sky Fire, Police

BY ABBIE DIGEL

A community forum on Monday April 11 covered
what would happen if there an emergency, of any
scale, in Big Sky. Around 30 full-time Big Sky
residents were present, as well as some newcomers.
The informative meeting covered types of events
that could occur, the evacuation process, and how to
be prepared.
The team of lecturers, all from Gallatin County,
included Sheriff Matt Daugherty, Lieutenant Jason
Jarrett and Chris Moon of the Big Sky Fire Department. They spoke in a panel-like discussion and
explained hazards specifi c to the Big Sky Area, like
earthquakes and chemical leaks, which could lead to
road closures, evacuations, or containments of Big
Sky residents.
Big Sky’s public buildings (the Chapel, office
buildings and resorts) could house large numbers
of people. The downsides of Big Sky in terms of
emergency situations are:
• Big Sky is a tourist destination where renters/
tourists are transient and don’t always have the
skills or knowledge needed to manage living in
a mountain town.
• Road closures, specifically, Jack Creek Road
• Lack of manpower
• The split between Madison and Gallatin Counties
The fire department has a close relationship with
property managers and keeps track of which properties are full or vacant. Also, the Yellowstone Club
has a full staff of firefi ghters on duty that will assist
Big Sky Fire with community emergencies.
Another big topic discussed was ensuring residents and homeowners’ properties are defensible
against disaster—meaning the grass is cut short,
is frequently watered, and trees are limbed and at
least 70’ from homes. Moon explained that in an
emergency, it’s easier to save a home that is prepared. They pass up homes that have not taken proper
precautions.
The panel also discussed the importance of keeping
72-hour preparedness kits, and in Big Sky’s case,
kits that contain food, water, medications, clothing,
important records and other necessities for a week.
There are extended guidelines for keeping a defensible space at ready.gov. These will also be posted on
explorebigsky.com.
There is a deputy sheriff on duty 24 hours a day,
365 days a year in Big Sky, but the panel stressed
that because of a lack of manpower, it’s important to
be self-suffi cient in this community. For emergencies, call 911. For non-emergency assistance and
questions, call the Big Sky Fire Department at
995-2100. bigskyfire.org, gallatin.mt.gov,
redcross.org