JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – In March 2012, a wildfire caused by a prescribed burn that went out of control killed three Jefferson County residents, destroyed or damaged 27 houses, and charred about 2 square miles.
That fire exposed weaknesses in an emergency alert system, and sheriff’s officials concluded that about 12 percent of the people authorities intended to notify didn’t get a warning.
Jefferson County sheriff’s officials said they used a new system to send emergency calls to residents when the wildfire broke out near Evergreen on Monday time and the county continues to evaluate how it’s working.
When the Bluebell Fire started putting out smoke, Jefferson County sent out nearly 10,000 alerts to residents. The county says they are constantly reviewing the new code red system and say for the most part it worked well.
Thousands of people evacuated, but there are some questions about the new system. Some say they received a message, but one man asked Tuesday morning why he did not get an alert even though he lived within a mile of the fire zone.
“If you were within the perimeter you should have got a message. Do we think that it was 100 percent? We know that it wasn’t because we got a couple of phone calls from people within the perimeter who did not get the message,” Jacki Kelly with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. “We also got a couple calls from people from outside the perimeter who did the call. So we’re going to look at that data to see if we can explain why.”
The county is asking everyone to sign up for CodeRED and use email, landline and cellphone. And be sure to sign up the phone number for everyone in the family.
There are other things people should be doing to be prepared for any type of catastrophe. Take inventory of your home. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster. It will also verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
When the Bluebell Fire broke out, State Farm Insurance sent out a news release with tips for the evacuees, but the tips apply for all wildfires. (READ: Important Insurance Information)
- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.
- Read recent Wildfire stories.
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