Public Alert and Warning System

The Basics:

Why use warning over pre-evacuation or voluntary?

The types of wildfires we have that are devastating involve fast moving and escalating fires. The pre-evacuation or voluntary implies less urgency and that a second order or mandatory evacuation order is going to be made, in some cases the fire may be moving faster than information can be processed. If a resident receives only one alert it must elevate concern and if in doubt default to leaving the area not create an opportunity to stay. Getting people out is the goal and leaving a fire area prematurely does cause an imposition or disruption but public alerts and warning cannot be customized to each and every resident. Our goal is make sure an evacuation order goes out and gets you moving, if possible we will warn you of a possible evacuation order coming soon but if you are feeling uneasy or slightly in danger this is your time to leave.

Categories of Notifications

  • Advisories are used to raise awareness of a possible evacuation situation and used in areas where the community is affected. Time frame to issue is three plus hours (3+) or later.
  • Warnings are used to get residents taking action to be ready to evacuate generally within the next one to four hours (1-4).
  • Orders are used when residents must go immediately and should be issued as soon as possible for residents being immediately affected. If a threat or hazard is imminent the order would ideally be issued within one-to-one point five (1-1.5) hours of the hazardous impacts occurring.
    • Evacuation, Shelter in Place, Climb to higher ground
  • All Clear- When there is no threat present and prior orders, warnings and advisories expire.
  • Missing Endangered Person is issued to alert the community and hopefully assist in locating the person.
  • Climb to Higher Ground Order is issued during a flash flood.

An Evacuation Warning

An Evacuation Warning is when public safety official issues a warning that there is a high possibility of an evacuation due to an wildfire that poses a risk to life or property.

  • Instruction (Warning Goal): The warning will be sent to allow residents to have time to get SET by preparing their method of transportation and gathering of their belongings.
  • Public Messaging:
    1. Arrange transportation, confirm your evacuation plan, gather items from your home, be ready to leave and if you feel if you sense you are in danger leave immediately.
    2. People with access and functional needs or with large animals should take action now.

Evacuation Order

Evacuation Order: Public safety officials are ordering residents to leave now if in the designated evacuation area.

  • Instruction (Evacuation Order Goal): Residents will have to GO with plenty of time to get to a safe place.
  • Public Messaging:
    1. The incoming wildfire poses an extreme risk for loss of life and property in designated areas. Persons who refuse to comply with an evacuation order will not be forcibly removed from their home.
    2. You should not expect rescue or lifesaving assistance after the onset of the emergency event.
    3. You may be stranded for several days.
    4. Authorities will return people home as soon as it is safe to do so.
    5. Arrange transportation, confirm your evacuation plan, gather items from your home and be ready to leave.

Information that will be in a warning or order includes the following:

Order Warning
1. Source Identify who- agency / authority- the alert or warning is coming from. This should be a source that is familiar to and trusted by the community.
2. Hazard Describe the threat and its impacts.
3. Location Articulate the impact boundaries in common language, i.e. use street names, landmarks, neighborhood names, etc.
4. Protective Action Say what protective action to take, the time to do it, how to accomplish it and how doing it reduces the impact. Go to BoulderOEM.com for more information.
5. Time Expected duration, if know, or “until further notice”

Remember:

  • Advisories are used to raise awareness of a possible evacuation situation and used in areas where the community is affected. Time frame to issue is three plus hours (3+) or later.
  • Warnings are used to get residents taking action to be ready to evacuate generally within the next one to four hours (1-4).
  • Orders are used when residents must go immediately and should be issued as soon as possible for residents being immediately affected. If a threat or hazard is imminent the order would ideally be issued within one to one point five (1-1.5) hours of the hazardous impacts occurring.