Friday, April 6, 2012

La Plata County Emergency Alert "Reverse 911"

La Plata County's Emergency Alert System: Target Notification

This is the primary alerting system in La Plata County. CenturyLink land lines are automatic. All other phone types NEED TO SIGN UP!

The alert system uses phones to call a geographic area and give emergency messages. Emergency personnel pick a point on a map and give a radius or draw a boundary on a map. The system picks up LAND LINE phones associated to an address in an identified area. This means your CenturyLink (formerly QWest) phone should be picked up automatically. Other phones like Cell, Digital, Voice over IP (VoIP), Skype, Cable (phone connected to your digital TV coax cable), and other systems are NOT included; UNLESS: You register your phone with our Target Notification alert system! If you live in or own a home in La Plata County Go to Intrado's Target Notification registration page. This allows you to register multiple phones of any phone system and attach them to your address. This is what you must do to get notifications on any phone other than your land line. The registration page will ask you for your name and address. This should be your name as owner or occupant of the house. The site will also ask you to put wireless/cellular in one column and Internet based VoIP in the other.

Each phone system operates differently and uses different protocols to dial out so the numbers need to be separated.  Target Notification will not use your numbers for any other purpose than to facilitate La Plata County Emergency Calls so please don't worry about telemarketers.

It takes a few days for the system managers to verify your cell and other numbers so do it now. Don't wait till we are in the middle of a disaster. It may be too late. 

You can add multiple numbers to one address. A phone number can only be associated with one address in La Plata County. You can not list your cell at more than one address.

Our emergency messages should be structured for you to understand what is happening:

  • Messages that go out will start with something like "This is an Emergency Message from The La Plata County Sheriff and Office of Emergency Management..." to let you know who is sending the message. 
  • We will issue messages like "A wildfire is spreading towards ___ subdivision north of Durango" letting you know where and in relation to what, in case you get a call on your cell while on vacation in Texas. 
  • We will give an action item of what to do like shelter in place, prepare for possible evacuation later, or to evacuate immediately. 
  • We will give you direction for what to do for the action like close doors and windows, drive South towards the high school or where the shelter is. 
  • Last will be where to get more information such as a radio station, phone number, or a place to go.
Other agencies like Fire and Police have access and their own protocols for using the alert system.

La Plata County OEM will try and do the best we can with getting messages out but remember that you need be responsible for your own personal safety. If you see smoke heading your way or a rising river, call 911 and do what you need to do to protect yourself and your family.

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