BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Officials in Boulder are taking measures to ensure that any future evacuation-inducing emergencies do not have notification delivery issues similar to the ones reported in Superior and Louisville during the Marshall Fire.

After the historic disaster caught many in the county off guard, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office began receiving questions in regards to why there was a lack of evacuation orders sent out to residents who felt they should have been notified to do so.

Boulder County’s current emergency notification system, Everbridge, can access landlines, cell phones, text messages, TTY/TDD, emails or faxes. A limitation it carries, however, is those who receive the alerts, must have created an account with an address beforehand.

The program used a geographical footprint to predict and forecast which addresses were threatened by the fire’s spread. On Jan. 30, the mixture of location, unusual wind speeds and wind trajectory affected the program’s estimate, making dispatchers create emergency messages on the fly.

New alert system expected in 2022

Wireless Emergency Alerts, a superior alternative to Everbridge which is utilized by the Amber Alert, is an emergency notification system fueled by cellular providers, and one more far-reaching.

Boulder’s Office of Disaster Management won approval to complete the upgrade to this technology back in 2019, but COVID-19 slowed that process. The full transition is expected to be completed at some point in 2022.

Create an Everbridge account

Meanwhile, to create an account on Everbridge, you can visit the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. In fact, officials at the ODM want you to create an account for each member of your house who has a cellular device.

Geographical locations in which Everbridge is accessible:

• City of Boulder
• City of Lafayette
• City of Longmont (including the Weld County side of Longmont)
• City of Louisville
• Town of Erie (including the Weld County side of Erie)
• Town of Lyons
• Town of Superior
• Town of Nederland
• Town of Ward
• Unincorporated Boulder County

While creating an account, you will input the addresses of your home, work, children’s school, and loved ones, as location is the main factor used by the software when calculating which areas to blast messages to when an emergency unfolds.

Everbridge is currently designed to send out three types of messages which are advisory, warning, and order. The five actions that can be requested in an emergency notification include:

  • Climb to higher ground
  • Evacuation
  • Shelter in Place
  • Missing/Endangered Person
  • All Clear

Marshall Fire related links