September 28, 2018

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM • Lunch will be available

Blue Water Resort and Casino

11300 Resort Dr, Parker, AZ 85344

Enter to the right of the main entrance, between the movie theater and the main entrance.

The purpose of the Significant Event Readiness Forum (SERF) is to provide an environment for exploring opportunities along the disaster response continuum. The SERF is not a disaster preparedness exercise, but instead is a facilitated discussion to foster information sharing. However, you will want to reference your disaster plan in advance to be prepared to offer information if asked.

Support: The SERF is a project of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security, Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, and the Arizona Department of Education (Health and Nutrition Services Division, School Health and Safety Program). It is funded by the Arizona Department of Health Services, and staffed and supported by Coyote Crisis Collaborative (the Collaborative), a multi-disciplinary preparedness network supporting robust healthcare and other community sector emergency management programs.

Host: This event is hosted by Coyote Crisis Collaborative, with the support of the Arizona Department of Health Services. There is no cost for registration.

Target Audience: This meeting is by invitation only. It targets leadership from police, fire, emergency management, healthcare (including behavioral health), school districts, colleges, military, tribal government, local government, public health, and others involved in disaster response for the Northern Region of Arizona.

Background: The SERF is planned by representatives from the Western Region of Arizona.

Objectives: Establish new disaster planning relationships and gain new information to improve disaster planning.


It is Labor Day (September 3, 2018), and there are multitudes of party revelers in boats and along the sides of the Colorado River in Lake Havasu (these include college and high school students, who are inebriated and on boats; it is estimated between 25,000 and 30,000 individuals are on or near the River on the Arizona side). The parking lots are full, and there is already gridlock from families and others trying to access the Lake.

The same situation prevails along both sides of the Colorado River in the Bullhead City/Laughlin area and in La Paz County south of Parker Dam. In and near Parker, there are also hundreds of campgrounds and housing areas bordering the River; many are populated with folks from California. Approximately 9,000 campers, boaters, and weekend visitors will be in La Paz on the Arizona side of the River, with another 3,000 from California who may be reaching out to Arizona for help. Additionally, there are 500 in Arizona and 300 from California living in homes bordering the River.

Due to very high temperatures, reaching 115 degrees in the Bullhead and Lake Havasu areas, cooling stations have been set up, and local EMS and hospitals have seen a large increase in heat and alcohol related emergencies.

Small groups of “day campers” are celebrating along the River near Yuma, include veterans from the Cocopah Nation, nursing home “clients,” and Yuma Regional Medical Center (annual picnic of a number of nurses, docs, and staff).

4:00 PM – A strong earthquake in the Bullhead City area occurs. Some significant structural damage occurs in homes, resorts, and businesses along both sides of the Colorado River, and dozens of injuries have been reported, some of which are life-threatening. The quake is not strong enough to inflict widespread catastrophic damage; however, there is major damage to the earthen Davis Dam, and an uncontrolled release of water occurs. The initial release is relatively small but rapidly widens the original breach in the dam.

4:30 PM – Public warning messages have gone out using both the Wireless Emergency Alert system to public cell phones and the commercial radio Emergency Alert System. The initial rise in the level of the river is gradual enough to allow many boaters to reach shore. However, because the rise is so gradual and some boaters are not received cell phone alerts, some groups have ignored the alerts for various reasons.

4:45 PM – Evacuations of areas bordering the Colorado have been ordered in Bullhead City, Ft. Mohave, Mohave Valley, and Laughlin. Lake Havasu City, La Paz County, and Yuma County have been alerted, although it will take several hours for Lake Havasu to see an impact and substantially more time to see an impact further downstream.

5:00 PM – Media reports of the earthquake damage have reached many people downstream of Bullhead City, all the way to Yuma. Social media is filled with many comments and photos, including much information that is misleading, false, or inaccurate. False reports that Parker Dam has failed and that walls of water are traveling at high speed below both dams are widely believed. As a result, many visitors and residents from Parker Dam to Yuma are self-evacuating. Due to panic and the large numbers of drivers who have been drinking, the number of vehicle crashes has skyrocketed, and traffic jams block many roads. In addition to severe injuries from accidents, motorists stuck in the jams are suffering heat related medical emergencies and life-threatening symptoms related to pre-existing medical conditions.

5:30 PM – Due to the mass casualties caused by the earthquake and subsequent evacuation accidents and medical emergencies, on top of the already high number of medical calls prior to the earthquake, an overwhelming mass casualty/medical surge condition exists from Bullhead City to Yuma. This is combined with a major evacuation and mass care incident in Mohave County, with possible similar consequences pending for La Paz and Yuma Counties. Emergency communications and public information in all areas along the river are hampered by the jamming of cell phone towers by tens of thousands of calls.