Boulder County, Colorado. – Multiple improvements have been made to the alert and warning systems used by the four public safety answering points, or PSAPs (911 dispatch centers) in Boulder County following the Marshall Fire. Some of these changes were already being worked on before the fire and some of the updates have been made since the fire.
“Since the Marshall Fire, a tremendous effort has been made to ensure we can warn the community when there is an emergency. The collaborative approach to this work has created a system that can operate across jurisdictional boundaries,” said Boulder County Sheriff Curtis Johnson.
Implementation of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)
Boulder County Communications, Boulder Police and Fire Communications, and Longmont Emergency Communications completed the implementation of IPAWS in April 2022. This system allows 911 personnel to send notifications about imminent threats to life through emergency alerts wireless (amber alert style), emergency alert system. (broadcast and television) and NOAA weather radios at the request of local authorities and fire personnel.
The ReachWell translation app is now available to download and receive emergency alerts in over 100 languages/dialects. Alerts are automatically sent to the app, where users can access content in their preferred language. Alerts are received by opting into a single ReachWell group and do not require sharing your location. This app will deliver all notifications sent from Boulder County Communications, Boulder Police and Fire Communications, and Longmont Emergency Communications.
Google Translate is available on all www.BoulderOEM.com websites. Click the “Select language” drop-down menu in the top right corner of the website to select your preferred language.
All Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) messages will be translated for community members and visitors who set their mobile device’s preferred language to Spanish.
Everbridge is the software used to send emergency alerts to landlines, cell phones, text messages, TTY/TDD, emails or faxes. Community members who are not yet registered are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by visiting www.BOCOAlert.org.
Everbridge Resident Connection has also been added to our package plan. Resident Connection is a crowd-sourced information database that aggregates residential and business phone numbers that can be used to send emergency alerts to affected areas. Phone numbers in this database will automatically receive text messages and voice alerts when an emergency alert is sent; however, Resident Connection is not a substitute for receiving messages on www.BOCOAlert.org .
Emergency alert messages and an interactive map are now automatically posted to the www.BOCOAlert.org website each time an emergency alert is sent in Boulder County using Everbridge software. Each alert will contain a web address to access more information about the specific alert. The entire content of the alert is published, so people who only received a 90-character message can see the full content. The alerts and map capture the time it was sent and are not updated as the status changes. As additional alerts are sent, they are posted in chronological order.
Associations of public safety leaders
We have collaborated with all Boulder County fire and law enforcement stakeholders to develop consistent policies and practices for issuing emergency alerts, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.
Planning sessions and hands-on exercises were held with first responders from Boulder, Larimer, Weld and Broomfield counties. These experiences allowed officials to resolve potential issues and optimize business practices should we have an incident that crosses county lines.
All Boulder County PSAPs can provide support and support to each other in real time. All PSAPs have common business practices and use the same alert terminology. This allows one facility to send an emergency alert to another if it becomes overwhelmed during a major incident.
Rebranding and updated education
It had become difficult to streamline alert and warning recording and educational information in a county that has more than 30 different police, fire, EMS, and search and rescue agencies. To help minimize complexity, Boulder County’s four PSAPs renamed the alert and warning materials to “BOCO Alert.” You can register to receive emergency alerts or review additional information at: www.BOCOAlert.org.
Outdoor warning sirens
Some of the outdoor emergency warning sirens have been reprogrammed, depending on each community’s preference for when the sirens can be used (for example, adding an option for use during wildfires). The sirens are in the communities of: Boulder, Eldorado Springs, Erie, Jamestown, Lafayette, Louisville, Lyons and Superior. For information specific to your community’s siren, contact your local municipality administration, police, or fire agency.
Public safety officials have developed predefined alert areas for the entire county. These puzzle-piece-like shapes help first responders quickly communicate the alert distribution location to their 911 center. The western half of Boulder County already had the areas identified, but now the entire county is complete. Additionally, the forms were redesigned to ensure compliance with the IPAWS system. Finally, the predetermined flood areas were also renewed for the same compliance factors.
If you already have an Everbridge account, Please log in at: www.BOCOAlert.org to review addresses and contact information to receive alerts.
If you need help logging into your Everbridge account, or have specific questions, please use the following contact information for your jurisdiction: