Vail Daily Editorial: Alert yourself
February 14, 2017
You've probably seen the news this week about the mass evacuations downstream from the Oroville Dam in California. It's scary stuff.
It's hard to evacuate more than 100,000 people from anywhere. It's even harder to figure out where you can put them all, much less their pets and livestock. If you're the praying type, then spare them thought.
Disaster usually seems far away for Vail Valley residents. We are surpassingly fortunate to live and play here.
But disaster, while rare, is only a mistake or fluke of nature away.
Hazardous materials roll through the valley on trucks every day. And, while there's nothing anywhere near the size of the Oroville Dam anywhere near us, the reservoirs above Gore Creek, Gypsum Creek, Brush Creek and the Eagle River would make a big, big mess if their dams ever failed.
Then there's weather. Snowstorms often close our roads, and we're coming into rockfall and sinkhole season.
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All of this is the setup for a reminder for everyone to sign up for the Eagle County Alert system at http://www.ecalert.org.
The system works well, and is easy to join. Users can pick what parts of the county they want to be alerted about, from Basalt and El Jebel to Bond, McCoy and Red Cliff and everywhere in between.
You can also pick and choose how to receive alerts, via text message, email or both. And, as one of our reporters discovered when January's seemingly-constant snow lit up the alert system like a Las Vegas slot machine, you can turn off the alerts between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
From road closures and alerts to school lockdowns, the alerts cover a broad range of things people might want to know.
The alerts come quickly, too. Monday's sinkhole on Swift Gulch Road was discovered just after noon. The first alert was issued at 12:26 p.m. that day.
Best of all, the alerts are free to users.
No one expects a dam to burst or a train to derail anytime soon here in the Vail Valley, but do sign up for the alerts. It could save you a good bit of aggravation.
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