Mar 17, 2014 12:53 PM by Tony Spehar
Everyone signed up to receive reverse emergency notifications from El Paso-Teller County 911 will have to re-register to receive notifications by April 15 due to changes to the system.
As Southern Colorado knows all too well disasters happen quickly and often with little or no warning. After a summer of flash floods off the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar Debora Blanchard at Lane Mitchell Jewelers in Manitou Springs keeps preparedness on her mind.
"You have like no notice with the flooding, the fires at least you could kind of see," Blanchard described. "But the flooding, you didn't know until it was right up on you."
Blanchard is a bit more dependent on El Paso-Teller County 911 emergency notifications than most, in her case the flash flood warning sirens installed in Manitou Springs aren't enough.
"It was scary because my hearing isn't good so I couldn't hear the sirens," she said.
Blanchard is one of thousands registered to receive alerts who need to know about changes to the system. El Paso-Teller County 911 began looking for a new vendor to send notifications in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire, they found the previous system could be overwhelmed and not all alerts could be received as flames took down infrastructure in the burn area.
"When you start losing means of contact cordless phones will all go away, your VOIP phones unless they're on a battery backup you might not be able to get contact there, if the lines are so busy coming into our area because of relatives checking on you that could affect a phone call getting delivered," explained Ben Bills with El Paso-Teller County 911.
That issue could be less of a problem with the new system, users can select up to five locations to receive alerts about and eight ways to be contacted including phone, email and text messages. While all the contact information from the previous system has been transferred to the new one everyone who still wishes to receive alerts must create a new login to change their information.
If you registered with the system after the Black Forest Fire you don't have to re-register, but if you signed up before you will need to.
"No time better than now, we don't have any major emergencies happening, we'll give people some time to get that done before we start getting into flood and fire season," Bills said.
Everyone is asked to sign up for reverse notifications that help get critical information out during emergencies such as fires or floods.
To register or re-register go to https://member.everbridge.net/index/1772417038942752#/login. If you need help or have any questions about the change in systems you're asked to call El Paso-Teller County 911 at (719)785-1971 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.