Local emergency response officials are teaming up to implement a system to notify the public of developing situations via text and e-mail messages.
And they are encouraging people to sign up for the messages to help make the system more effective and to keep themselves informed in emergency situations.
It’s a project of the San Juan County Local Emergency Preparedness Committee, under the umbrella of the Emergency Preparedness Office and comprised of representatives of the fire department, ambulance service, sheriff’s office, county health service, search and rescue, and coroner’s office.
County Emergency Preparedness Director Kristine Maxfield said it’s easy for people to sign up for the system — online at www.nixle.com.
Lois MacKenzie, nurse with the San Juan County Health Service, noted September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
“We want to encourage everybody to think about what they would do if a disaster came along,” MacKenzie said.
And Sheriff Sue Kurtz said she sees a lot of potential benefits from implementing the system — but only if people actually sign up and use it.
She noted that in some situations, the sheriff’s office gets “call after call” from people wanting to know what is going on.
This system will allow the sheriff’s office to pre-empt those calls by sending out brief bulletins and updates.
“A lot of time has been put into getting this set up,” Kurtz said, “especially by Kris (Maxfield).”
By signing up for the service, participants can get text messages or e-mails alerting them to emergency situations affecting San Juan County. This could include road closures, hazardous materials spills, long-term power outages or flooding.
Participants may sign up for e-mail alerts, text messages or both, at www.nixle.com.
Maxfield noted that five people will be authorized to send the notifications — herself, Sheriff Sue Kurtz, Undersheriff Bruce Conrad and Assistant Fire Chief Mike Maxfield.
And she said you do not have to be a resident; visitors, second home owners or anyone interested in Silverton and San Juan County can sign up too.
Maxfield said the messages will be kept to a minimum.
“We don’t want to inundate the public with casual stuff,” Maxfield said. “They’ll get text messages only if it’s really important.”
How to sign up:
Online: go to www.nixle.com to sign up.
Cell phone: Text Silverton’s ZIP code, 81433, to 888777.