Eagle County alert change means you’ll need an app
Non-emergency messages will no longer be sent via text message
You may have read that Eagle County’s alert system is changing as of Feb. 1. Here’s why:
In a recent presentation to the Vail Town Council, Vail Public Safety Communications Center Director Marc Wentworth said the main issue is money.
The Eagle County E911 Authority Board since 2014 has contracted with EverBridge for alert services. The cost is roughly $28,000 per year. Wentworth said EverBridge is changing its billing model. That means the old system of sending out text messages and emails will have to change. In fact, the cost of sending text messages could roughly triple unless changes are made.
Emergency notices will still be sent via text message.
That means people who receive alerts on their phones must now download an app. Users can select the same options for alerts.
Wentworth said using the app allows dispatchers to send longer messages with more detail. Messages can also include images, maps and hyperlinks to other information.
Alerts can range from information about school closures and traffic accidents to criminal activity in a neighborhood or COVID-19 updates.
The alert system can be customized to notify both app users and people in a specific neighborhood. Wentworth said dispatchers can draw polygons around a specific area for “reverse 911” notifications to residents or businesses.
If you’ve already signed up for the alert system, your user name and login are supposed to work on the app. If not, you’ll have to create a new user name and password. If you start fresh, you’ll also have to re-subscribe to selected alerts.