COLORADO SPRINGS — El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority reminded people in Colorado Springs on Friday of the importance of being prepared, and one way to do that is to sign up to receive emergency alerts which work for both El Paso and Teller County.

In the event of an emergency, Peak Alerts are sent out to people who need to be warned about a disaster in their area.

“They are very targeted, very focused notifications,” said Ben Bills, spokesperson for the El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority. “And you are required to register to receive those. Don’t automatically assume that you’re in those notification databases.”

An example of a public safety alert that everyone in the area receives.

These notifications differ from the broader public safety alerts everyone receives.

“Those are like the Amber-style alerts that you receive to your phone, or if you’re in the grocery store and you hear everyone’s phone buzz, like during severe weather,” Bills said.

The public safety alerts tend to not be as accurate and have one-tenth of a mile buffer around them.

On Thursday during the multiple fires in Colorado Springs, people well outside the targeted zone received alerts.

“We are aware there was some bleed over that might have caused a little panic or some chaos. But we are digging into that right now. We’re trying to figure out what the root cause of it was,” Bills said.

This is something the 911 Authority said they try and look out for because they don’t want to over-alert.

“We want to just target the people that only need to have that information. One, so we’re not trying to move the whole county at once in the event of an evacuation. But number two, we don’t want to impact everybody with an alert if it doesn’t pertain to them,” Bills said.

Bills talks about the importance of Peak Alerts as we head deeper into fire season. Credit: Dez Rowe

To further reduce confusion, Bills recommended everyone in El Paso and Teller County to sign up for Peak Alerts.

“Information is coming from a public safety official. It’s coming from a reliable source. It’s coming from somebody at the scene of that incident that’s providing information that could pertain to the safety of you and your family or your property.”

Bills said not only can you sign up for yourself, but you can also enroll kids and older adults in emergency notifications as well.

“Look out for your friends, look out for your families and neighbors. If you got elderly relatives or neighbors, jump in and give them a hand.”

If you would like to sign up for notifications, you can follow this link.