Subscribers to Pitkin Alert can now opt into new and improved features that make the local emergency alert system more targeted and efficient and more accessible to visitors to the community. Pitkin Alert is used by all Pitkin County public safety agencies to communicate urgent messages to the public. Subscriptions have nearly doubled since the Lake Christine fire outbreak. Officials used lessons learned from communicating about the fire to create better and more efficient options to push out urgent, as well as general, information going forward.
“The Lake Christine fire has driven home the importance of being connected to the Pitkin Alert system to receive timely alerts,” said Pitkin County Emergency Dispatch Director, Brett Loeb. “This community has proved to be responsive, receptive and savvy in receiving and acting on these notifications, that’s why we’ve taken steps to make it even more accessible, adaptable and efficient,” Loeb said.
Pitkin Alert subscribers, must log in to their accounts at pitkinlert.org and choose features of interest before October 1st when the old categories will expire. New accounts can also be created at the same site, pitkinalert.org. The new opt-in categories include SMARTweather alerts direct from the National Weather Service, and business and community alerts that target geographic location. For example, subscribers can choose to get community alerts about things including traffic, power outages, prolonged street closures, avalanche mitigation, etc. but they’ll only receive them in the geographic locations they choose.
“We’ve learned from the fire that many people are interested in only receiving alerts pertaining to where they live or work,” said Loeb. “They can now make those choices in their Pitkin Alert accounts. The locations to choose from include Aspen, Snowmass Village, Woody Creek, Basalt & El Jebel and the Crystal and Frying Pan Valleys.
Other enhancements to Pitkin Alert include new confirmation settings that give users the ability to confirm receiving an alert which in turn triggers the system to stop trying to notify them on other devices. For example, if an alert is sent via text or email and the recipient confirms receiving it, the system will not make a phone call to the recipient with the same information. If a phone call is confirmed the recipient would not receive a text or email, and so forth.
“We’re also encouraging Pitkin Alert subscribers with access or functional needs to make sure their subscription information is up-to-date,” Loeb said. “If there is a need to evacuate, an extended power outage or if one of our single access valleys is cut off, it is very helpful to know who may need urgent or extra help.”
Other new features that will help to make Pitkin Alert information more widely accessible are its new Facebook page and Twitter accounts. All public Pitkin Alerts will appear on these social media pages. Keyword alerts are also being instituted for special events like the X Games and JAS Aspen concerts so that safety information for large events will be available by texting a keyword to a specific number. This feature will be used for the first time Labor Day weekend during the JAS Aspen festival by texting JASASPEN to 888777. Keyword alerts will be used year-round to make it easier for visitors to get alerts while they’re visiting the community.
“Our main message is to sign up for Pitkin Alert if you haven’t already. If you’re already a subscriber take a few minutes to log in to your account and update your settings to continue to receive your opt-in information after Oct. 1st, take advantage of our new features, and let us know about any special needs,” said Loeb.
For assistance call the Pitkin Alert Helpline at 970-429-6183
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett Loeb, Pitkin County Emergency Dispatch Director - 970-315 2184