BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Boulder County has announced a number of changes to its countywide alert and warning systems.
On the day of the Marshall Fire, the first emergency alert was sent to 215 people 42 minutes after the fire started. The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said the changes will help get alerts out quicker.
“We learned a lot from the Marshall Fire. We made changes from the feedback we got,” said Steve Silbermann, with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the changes includes updates to Everbridge, the software the county uses to send out emergency alerts to cell phones, landlines, email and fax. The alerts from all the dispatch centers in the county are now going to go to BOCOAlert.org.
“The intent of the BOCO Alert is to not confuse people on where their message is coming from, and it gives it a place for a one-stop shop for them to go,” Silbermann said.
The alerts sent through Everbridge will now include a link to the BOCO Alert website. The website will have full details of the emergency and an interactive map. Residents should sign up for alerts by visiting the website here. Users can sign up for up to five addresses in the jurisdiction.
Emergency alerts will send quicker in Boulder County
The Sheriff’s Office said recent collaboration among agencies means alerts will go out quicker.
“We’ve developed stronger partnerships with all the alerting authorities, all the law and fire agencies, so it doesn’t matter where the alert needs to go,” Silbermann said. “The person in the field who has eyes on the scene can send it no matter what jurisdiction they’re in.”
Public safety officials spent the last year mapping out the entire county, so emergency responders can quickly look at a map and see which sections of the county need to receive an alert.
“It essentially looks like a big puzzle. They name the puzzle piece or puzzle pieces, and we define those or send those out to the people in those shapes,” Silbermann said.
In addition, the county partnered with an app called Reachwell, so alerts can be translated into a hundred different languages.