WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Emergency responders say notification systems are key to keeping families safe, but huge population growth along the Interstate 25 corridor is impacting how families receive those warnings.
Adams and Weld counties are the most tornado-plagued areas in Colorado. In Firestone, in Weld County, the population has increased nearly 800% since 2000. That means the cost for keeping the community safe is soaring as well.
Local emergency management officials tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers tornado warning sirens for Firestone and Frederick were deactivated in the first quarter of 2013 because of costs.
At least 10 new sirens were needed to properly protect the community, but with a general price tag of approximately $20,000 each, the money just wasn’t there.
Roy Rudisill, director of the Weld County Office of Emergency Management, tells FOX31 that cell alerts are more effective than sirens because they can pinpoint a location and tell you exactly what to do in an emergency situation
“It’s a little easier to have those notifications to go out on a cell phone,” he said.
The CodeRED Reverse 911 call notification system allows residents to sign up to receive immediate notifications of a threat by text, phone and email. Residents should sign up for emergency alerts now to receive future alerts and can do so here.
Weld County is also the number one area for lightning and hail. CodeRed provides information about traffic and power outages.
Rudisill tells FOX31 another way to protect your family is to obtain a weather radio.
“I can find out what’s going on, what direction that storm is moving and making sure that myself and my family is prepared,” he said.
Residents can also sign up to be “Skywarn Weather Spotters.” To register for training visit the Skywarn website.