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Garfield County Reverse 911 service has seen little response so far

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Since the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority implemented its state-of-the-art emergency notification system in November 2008, they’ve not had the amount of people sign up as they had anticipated.

Emergency Communications Authority Executive Director Carl Stephens estimated that the system had a “few hundred” county residents sign up in November when the system was first introduced. But signups quickly slowed to a “trickle” of just a few people signing up each week over the next nine months.

Only until this week, when the Emergency Communication Center mailed out postcards with information urging residents to sign up for the service, did they see another spike in numbers.



“We maybe have had about five or six hundred in the past few days,” Stephens said.

He said that he could only estimate by what he has seen but did not have exact numbers of how many people have signed up for the service.



There have not been any upgrades to the system since it was implemented. Besides the company 3N changing its name to Everbridge, all the services remain the same.

Stephens said that the recent post cards were an attempt to notify people of how to sign up.

“We were looking for more ways to [inform people], and the mailers would get the most direct response,” he said.

Traditional land line telephone services from such companies as Qwest are already in the system, according to the mailer, but the service is capable of contacting people at their place of business or by cell phones, and can send alerts to e-mail accounts, cell phones via text messages, or through other electronic devices listed on the site.

Stephens said that it’s also important for people to remember to return to the website and update their information if they have recently gotten a new cell phone number.

The system enables the public safety agencies in Garfield County to provide essential information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, fires, floods, unexpected road closures, or evacuation of buildings or neighborhoods.

Stephens said that part of the reason for the upgraded system was because more and more people have switched to cell phones as their primary phone number and are doing away with traditional land lines altogether.

Sign up is easy. Residents can simply go to http://www.garco911.org and click on the “add your contact information” link under the Sign up for Emergency Alerts section.

After submission of your information, it may take up to two weeks for information to be verified and added to the emergency communications’ notification systems, according to the website.

Stephens said that the system has only been used a couple of times in the nine months that it’s been operational, but he said that the Emergency Communications Authority only uses the system when necessary.

“We don’t want to launch an alert for everything,” he said.

Because then people would be more likely to disregard a message from the service. “We don’t want to be like telemarketers and calling all the time,” Stephens said.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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