Test of new emergency notification system nets 74% of registered phone numbers

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Sheriff’s Office pleased with results

By Ramsey Scott

A test of the county’s new emergency notification system is being considered a success, after it reached out to more than 347,000 phone numbers across Jeffco and Broomfield, along with parts of Adams, Douglas and Clear Creek counties.

The test, which took five hours on Feb. 6, successfully connected to about 74 percent of the registered telephone numbers, a high mark, said Jeffco sheriff’s spokesman Mark Techmeyer.

“We’re pleased with the results — very pleased,” Techmeyer said. “We got a 74 percent success ratio, which is really good for any kind of emergency notifications system.”

The new system is being operated by CodeRED, a company that provides Web-based emergency notification services for governments and other institutions like colleges. Previously, emergency notification had been provided by First Call.

During the Lower North Fork Fire last March, Techmeyer said, there were issues with First Call’s system, but the decision to switch services wasn’t related to that specifically. He said First Call declined to enter in a new bid when it came time to renew the contract.

Now that the new system is in place, Techmeyer said, the next major step is to start getting cell phones in the county registered. Only a few thousand numbers of the 347,000 test calls went to cell phones.

“Well over 25 percent, close to a third in unincorporated Jefferson County, no longer have a land line. If you don’t have a land line and you don’t opt in with a cell phone, you won’t get that call,” he said.

Even cell phones that had been registered in the old system need to be re-registered, Techmeyer said, because many of those numbers didn’t transfer over.

The more cell phone numbers registered means the shorter amount of time it takes to notify residents of an emergency, Techmeyer said. While it takes hours to call every land line in the system, CodeRed’s system can send out a blast text-message and e-mail in an instant.

“When we do an emergency notification, the call is the slowest method,” he said. “The land line can carry only so many calls at one time. … If you opt in with a cell phone, we’ll send you a text and an e-mail, and it’s instantaneous.”

Since the test, Techmeyer said about 19,000 cell-phone numbers had been entered into the new system. To register a cell phone, visit www.jeffcosheriff.com and click on the “CodeRED” link on top of the home page. The process takes a minute or two, Techmeyer said.

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.