Glenwood Canyon road closure gives emergency notification system a test |

Glenwood Canyon road closure gives emergency notification system a test

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – Greg Keller of Glenwood Springs was woken up at 5 a.m. on Monday by an emergency notification system through Garfield County to tell him that Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon was closed due to a rock slide.

The phone call was part of the county’s newly updated emergency notification system that was implemented last Tuesday, March 2, just in time before the massive rock slide, which closed a 17-mile stretch of the highway. The slide occurred around midnight on Sunday, March 7.

Keller got the call because he was signed up with the county’s Everbridge Emergency Notification System that was implemented in fall 2008, notifying residents of emergency situations via their landline phones.

Those who were signed up for the Everbridge service were sent out messages through the system at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, informing them of the canyon closure. One of the big differences in the upgraded system is that it will notify users through landline phones, cell phones, text messaging, voicemail and e-mail.

Keller was one of about 1,700 people throughout the county who were notified of the canyon rockslide, but he wasn’t really happy about being woken up to be told about a closed road.

“Why was I getting called at 5 a.m. for a road closure?” Keller said. “They said it was because they deemed it was an emergency. The new system and what it can bring is good, but they need to get their priorities straight.”

Users can sign up on the county website and create settings of what things they wanted to be notified about and how they want to be notified.

“They need to go to the Garfield County website and create a username, password and valid e-mail address,” said Carl Stephens, executive director of the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority. “Then it will ask a series of security questions. Along with emergencies, they can be notified of things such as burn bans or road closures.”

There are also options for the vision or hearing impaired.

There is no cost to sign up for the system, but text messaging notices may incur a charge. The system does support AOL and Yahoo and there is no charge for instant messaging notices.

Calls to whatever device you choose will show up with the county’s number of 625-8095.

But the system has not been perfected yet, and there are still a few problems in the sign-up process.

“In time, this will really be so helpful to citizens, but please be patient,” said Tanny McGinnis, public information officer for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. “We have to work through all the glitches.”

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