Improving the Ready, Set, Go Emergency Alert System
In the face of an emergency, time is of the essence. This was abundantly clear with last year’s Tunnel Fire in Flagstaff, which had 75-mile-an-hour winds at the source and was moving at an astonishing 30 miles per hour. As evacuation teams hustled to notify residents through the Ready, Set, Go System, it became clear that the manual mapping process was taking up valuable time. In fact, some residents only had 12 seconds between the “Set” and “Go” directives at one point.
To ensure the effectiveness of the emergency alert system, evacuation areas need clear geographic boundaries before issuing communication. That’s why Coconino County Emergency Management has created a way to simplify the process through automation. By pre-designating evacuation zones throughout most of the heavily populated areas in the County, emergency teams can now simply call in a zone name and number to implement the Ready, Set, Go System, rather than stopping to draw each notification area by hand while an emergency is underway.
This new system eliminates the need for emergency management teams in the field to manually draw evacuation areas, freeing them up to focus on more critical tasks. And while some may worry that pre-designated zones may be less precise than made-in-the-moment evacuation areas, the use of geo-fencing technology ensures that people in the relevant region are the only ones who receive an alert.
Of course, it’s important to remember that a resident’s success during an evacuation ultimately depends on their personal preparedness and how fast they respond to the system’s alerts. If you have livestock or multiple family members and pets to manage, don’t wait for the “Set” directive to get ready to roll.
It’s worth noting that the map is only designed to apply to unincorporated areas, so those living off-grid or outside the zones will need to take an active role in figuring out what zone they live next to and pay attention to that area. If a nearby zone is evacuated, there’s a good chance that they should consider evacuation as well.
For those living in Munds Park, the designated zones are 17, 18, and 19. The map is available for public viewing online at www.coconino.az.gov/evacmap, and we encourage all community members to check it out. With this new system in place, we can all feel a little more secure in the face of emergencies.
Not registered for emergency alerts? It’s past time. It is essential to you and your family’s safety, especially during fire season. Do it today at www.smart911.com.