Sitting at the western edge of tornado alley, the Denver metro area is home to severe weather of all forms. In an effort to keep residents aware of the dangers Mother Nature brings every year, the City of Thornton is set to roll out an email alert system.
It has been nearly 31 years since the most destructive tornado to strike the Denver area tore through the city of Thornton. In the intervening time between now and then, it is ironic that neither Thornton nor Adams County deployed any sort of alert system for its residents beyond Reverse 911.
Seeking to correct that lapse, Thornton’s Office of Emergency Management presented a significant enhancement to the city’s T-Alert system to city council at a planning session last night.
T-Alert is the existing email subscription system for Thornton residents that can keep them up to date with everything from traffic to trash services to recreational opportunities. Now, emergency management announcements will be added to the service.
Emergency Manager Gene Putman explained that with the proliferation of email on mobile devices like cellular phones, the system will allow the city to send out warnings to residents in a matter of seconds. The system was tested during the February snowstorms and was a resounding success.
Dispatches can be sent out by the city’s emergency management personnel or in an urgent situation, the new 911 center. Spanish translations to the messages will also be included in the emails.
Putman said, “Within 30 seconds of a warning being issued by the National Weather Service we can have that critical information out to residents.”
Uses for the emergency management service will include obvious items such as tornado watches and warnings and severe hail or flooding. Also thrown into the mix will be important announcements about major snow events, hazardous material spills and other types of civil alerts.
- Don’t wait: Sign up for the City of Thornton’s Emergency Management Announcements here
- PDF: City of Thornton Emergency Management Tmail Brochure
Jack Ethredge, City Manager, is no stranger to disasters having served as Emergency Manager along the Gulf Coast during two hurricanes. He told council the system gives the city an “important, broader way to communicate.”
While the new system will help to keep residents safe, officials also remind residents that they must take responsibility for their own safety as well and stay aware of developing weather. Local news media should be monitored and residents should own a NOAA All Hazards Radio.
- Note: In addition to the city’s alert system, you can subscribe to ThorntonWeather.com’s alert system. We believe the two systems will complement each other. Our system provides all watches and warnings from the National Weather Service while the city’s will maintain a focus on the major events.
Thornton also continues to improve and refine its disaster preparedness as a city government.
Emergency management personnel are receiving important training on disaster response and new emergency procedures are being developed all city employees.
When disaster strikes, the speed and accuracy of a response is essential and Emergency Investigation Area Teams have been created to aid on this front. Each team will be comprised of personnel from key city departments. These teams will be responsible for one of six Emergency Investigation Areas and when needed, will be deployed to document a situation and provide direction.