June 13, 2013

Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

Emergency preparation starts with you. Having a plan in place for any type of emergency is one of the best ways to be prepared. It will not only keep you safe, but could help others as well.

Since the Waldo Canyon Fire, flooding has become the number one concern in our community. Working with the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County, we want to help ensure everyone is informed and prepared for flooding or any other type of emergency that may occur. This includes knowing the resources that are available to you and knowing how to utilize them.
Many individuals with disabilities were not aware of some of the resources available or had problems with how the emergency alert systems worked. Howie Kent, resident of Colorado Springs, shared his Waldo Canyon Fire experience.
“I lived on Fillmore and Wood which was less than a mile from the evacuation zone. The day when things went haywire, I had conflicting reports from friends (and) neighbors and I could not rely on the news because it was not captioned,” Said Kent.
“I was being told by the police on the phone to prepare to evacuate; friends were being evacuated. My neighbors told me we would not be evacuated so I absolutely had no clue to what was going on,” Kent continued. “I couldn’t go to sleep because what if they came over? I wouldn’t know. It was a scary experience.”
Kent stated that he believes adding captions to emergency alert programs, as well as providing interpreters would have made a big difference in his evacuation experience. Kent’s story demonstrates how important communication and accessibility with emergency alerts is.
In response to Kent and others who spoke up about the uncertainty of knowing where to get information during the Waldo Canyon Fire, The Independence Center created “Know Your Sources” a resource of accessible emergency alerts. The resource highlights sources of where people can get information from, products a person can purchase, creditable news sites and a checklist. Emergency preparation starts with the individual and the “Know Your Sources” guide enables individuals, especially those with a disability, to take control of their information sources and be prepared when a disaster strikes.
Know Your Sources
Accessible Emergency Alerts
When it comes to being ready for an emergency, the best advice we can give is plan ahead! One aspect of that is knowing HOW you are going to get your information. There are several options available:
TV: Ensure you are tuned into a creditable source. The IC is working with local news stations to ensure information is captioned in real time and at a pace people can read.
All-Hazard Radios: Know instantly when an emergency alert is issued with these audio and text alert radios! There are add-ons including flashers or bed shakers so if an alert comes out at night you’ll know. We have a list of retailers on the back of this page and on our website.
Creditable Internet Sites: It is important to ensure you are getting accurate information online during an emergency. The IC has identified several creditable websites for emergency information on our website.
E-911: Go to El Paso County website to sign up for local emergency text messages. Sign up at www.elpasoteller911.org.
Smart Phones: In this digital age the best way to get information is through your smart phone. Most phones now have a warning system built into them that works with the National Weather Service, meaning if you are traveling and there is an emergency where you are, you will still get an alert! Many newer smart phones are automatically set up to receive alerts. Others may require the downloading of a free app. Check with your wireless carrier to make sure your alerts are in place and turned on.
Emergency Source Checklist:

  • Know the local news stations and websites that are accessible to you during an emergency.
  • Research and purchase an All-Hazard radio and the add-ons you need.
  • Sign-up for E-911 at www.elpasoteller911.org.
  • Ensure your smartphone is able to receive emergency texts

All-Hazard Radios
The Independence Center has identified the Midland Weather Radio as one that is accessible with add-ons that include a light flasher and bed shaker. It is available through www.midlandusa.com.
Similar radios have been found at Radio Shack  and The Oregon Scientific Store, though The IC is not sure if they sell the accessible add-ons.
Credible Internet Sites
El Paso County Websites:
El Paso County
Web: www.elpasoco.com
Twitter: twitter.com/epcpio
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ElPasoCountyCO
El Paso County Sheriff
Web: shr.elpasoco.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/EPCSheriff
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EPCSheriff
El Paso County Public Health
Web: www.elpasocountyhealth.org/
Twitter: twitter.com/EPCPublicHealth
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ElPasoCountyPublicHealth
City Websites:
City of Colorado Springs
Web: www.springsgov.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/springsgov
Facebook: www.facebook.com/springsgov
Colorado Springs Police Department
Twitter: twitter.com/cspdpio
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/ColoradoSprings-Police-Department/133820446633849
Colorado Springs Fire Department
Twitter: twitter.com/CSFDPIO
Facebook: www.facebook.com/csfdpio
Manitou Springs
Web: www.manitouspringsgov.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/manitouGOV
Local TV News & Weather Websites:

The Gazette
Web: http://gazette.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/csgazette
 Facebook: www.facebook.com/springsgazette

Channel 5 KOAA (NBC)
Web: www.koaa.com
Twitter: twitter.com/koaa_5
Channel 11 KKTV (CBS)
Web: www.kktv.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/kktv11news
Channel 13 KRDO (ABC)
Web: www.krdo.com
Twitter: twitter.com/KRDONC13
Channel 21 KXRM (Fox)
Web: www.coloradoconnection.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/FOX21News
Local Radio Websites:
KRDO 105.5 FM or 1240 AM
Web: www.krdo.com/
Web: www.kvor.com/
KZNT 1460 AM
Web: www.newstalk1460.com/
Other Websites:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Web: www.noaa.gov/
Twitter: twitter.com/NOAA
Facebook: www.facebook.com/usnoaagov
2-1-1 Emergency Evacuation Registry
Download the application, or call 2-1-1 or 719-955-0742 to register: