Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

Emergency Status
Jul 10

Boulder ODM Launches Text Messaging Program with Language Access

The Boulder Office of Disaster Management (ODM) added text messaging to the ways community members can choose to stay informed during a disaster. This is an enhancement to the current communications process, which relies heavily on the ODM website and social media.

The keyword text messaging system will only be used when the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated to respond to a disaster. This typically occurs for larger scale incidents that are likely to last some time and affect a large portion of the community. The system is not to be confused with the alert and warning system, which is how people receive emergency alerts directing them to take actions such as evacuate, climb to higher ground, or shelter in place. Information about signing up for emergency alerts can be found at www.BocoAlert.com.

Instead, the new and optional keyword text messaging system will provide important information that may be helpful to know during a disaster. Examples of information that will be shared include incident updates, community resources, road closures, sheltering information, and information about other community impacts.

To start receiving ODM’s push notification texts, users will need to text BOCOinfo to the number 888777. The request only needs to be made once. The service is free, except for any data usage charges that might apply.

Texts will include a brief subject line, for example, “Shelter Update”, with a link that users will need to click to access the full message. The system does not have the ability to share maps or images. These visual resources will be available, as always, on ODM’s website.

The messages will also be available in over 100 different languages through an integration with the ReachWell translation app. Community members who are interested in receiving content in a language other than English can learn more and download the translation app at www.boulderodm.gov/preparedness/reachwell/ or in your App store on your cell phone. Once you have downloaded the app, select BOCOinfo and BOCOalert to receive both the incident updates and the emergency alerts in your preferred language.

All of the information that is shared via text message and the ReachWell translation app will also be available on ODM’s website which can be found at www.boulderodm.gov.

“We strive to provide a variety of communication methods to the community; adding text messaging capability helps to ensure that more people are in the know when it matters most,” said Mike Chard, Disaster Management Director.