Monday, October 15, 2007 4:21 PM MDT
Emergency Notification Available via Email, Voicemail
By Marta Tarbell

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY, Oct. 15, 4:16 p.m. - San Miguel County emergency service notification techniques have gone high-tech, and residents can now sign up for emergency text-messaging and/or email notification in the event of emergencies.

“It depends on your lifestyle,” says Telluride Fire Marshal Jim Boeckel, asked if users should opt for one or both services. “If you’re on the computer 24/7,” sign up for voice-mail. “When it comes across on a cell phone,” he adds, “it rings, just like it normally would do, as if you were texting a friend.”

To deliver the service, the County Emergency Telephone Service Authority has selected Inspiron Logistics' Wireless Emergency Notification System, or WENS, to provide instant emergency alerts. Citizens can sign up for emergency notification messages from San Miguel County Sheriff, Telluride Fire Protection District and the Towns of Mountain Village and Telluride via links on each organization’s website.

If residents want to be notified of emergency information from the various jurisdictions they can sign up on that jurisdiction’s Web site. For example, a resident of Norwood who works in Mountain Village should probably sign up with both the Sheriff’s Office site and the Town of Mountain Village. A Montrose commuter to Telluride, on the other hand, would most likely opt for the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office website, as well as the Town of Telluride and Telluride Fire Protection District websites.

“Local governments know that we cannot provide effective disaster assistance without effective communication,” says San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Manager Jennifer Dinsmore. “Providing timely information to first responders and the general population is the first step in any emergency response,” she adds.

“WENS is a vital platform for fast and effective information broadcasts,” Dinsmore emphasizes, in that it “transforms the personal cell phone from an item of convenience into a link to timely emergency information for the public.”

The WENS platform enables local government to notify and communicate directly with county residents as well as key emergency personnel via text messaging on their cell phone and/or through email. Officials have found, in recent catastrophes, that email may be the most reliable form of communication, because phone networks often become overloaded during a major disaster.

Inspiron Logistics Corp. developed WENS specifically to deliver real-time community information in a post-9/11 world. “This system was designed to work proficiently in the event of the most extreme-case scenarios,” says Dinsmore. “Therefore, ensuring a reliable method of communication at a time when it is needed most, and allowing first responders and emergency personnel to focus on aiding a fully informed community.”

To sign up for WENS, visit the following websites (each website is linked to the other government sites to make signing up as easy as possible).

Rosencrans already has set up many subgroups that will be able to tailor their own messages for specific audiences, such as college students or individual municipalities. Those internal group alerts won’t go out to everyone else unless the county deems it necessary, he said.

Telluride Fire Protection District: www.telluridefire.com

Town of Mountain Village: www.mountain-village.co.us

San Miguel Sheriff: www.sanmiguelsheriff.com

Town of Telluride: www.town.telluride.co.us

For questions regarding the WENS system, please refer to John Cheroske, Fire Inspector for Telluride Fire Protection District at 728-3801 or email at jc.telfire@montrose.net.