Donít miss out on Sublette emergency alerts
Sign up to receive emergency notifications in Sublette County
by Joy Ufford, Sublette Examiner
March 8, 2018
Sublette County residents who want timely notices about bad weather, fire dangers, evacuations, pipeline explosions, tornadoes or any number of warnings and alerts can sign up for electronic notifications through the county.
However, late at night on Feb. 23, many in the Bondurant area were unaware an armed man being chased by a Sublette County deputy had jumped from his crashed vehicle near Black Powder Ranch and run into the subzero night.
With the man on the loose, the countyís public alert system was set into motion by Sublette County law enforcement and emergency management to warn nearby residents along Highway 191 of his escape.
Some people got the message Ė and some didnít.
A number of people living in Bondurant were asked the next day if and when they found out about the late-night search. Several were alerted by Sublette County emergency Managementís Facebook page post or by friends who called or texted them right away.
Some found out the next day as word spread among neighbors, with those unaware of the search wondering why they werenít notified.
In fact, the county used its AlertSense communication system on the night of Feb. 23, making "reverse 911" calls to landlines and more commonly, electronic notifications to enrolled cell phones, landlines, computers and handheld devices.
AlertSense is free, easy to access and available at www.sublettewyo.com, where a click on "Sign up for Emergency Alerts" takes a person to the Citizen Emergency Notification System enrollment page.
"This serviceÖallows fire, police and other emergency response agencies to issue emergency alerts to warn citizens of events such as need for immediate evacuation, crime/imminent danger, and local area emergencies," it states.
Since many households have phased out traditional land-lines, the county "urges" Sublette residents and businesses to register their cell phone numbers with AlertSense, sign up for a variety of contact methods and choose which alerts to receive, from missing persons to dust storms.
Sheriff K.C. Lehr explained how AlertSense, with the caller ID of 307-200-4366 worked that night.
"We can draw an area to alert a specific areas without sending it out countywide," he said. "As was the case with the fugitive at the head of the (Hoback) canyon. We wanted to alert those living in and around the Black Powder Ranch and extended it to the Bondurant post office. We didnít feel it necessary to warn all those living in the Hoback Ranches as it was too far for this guy to get to on foot and we had established a perimeter."
Sublette County emergency Managementís Jim Mitchell tends to AlertSense, as do dispatchers taking emergency calls. They can immediately pull up a county map, zoom into a location and type up an alert, he explained in the Tip Top Search and Rescueís war room.
Mitchell showed perimeters and parameters are determined for the most effective alerts and warnings in a short time.
"For the Bondurant fugitive, we built in a 1-mile buffer," Mitchell said. "We knew he was on foot and it was really cold, so we knew he wouldnít get far."
Around 10:50 p.m., the reverse 911 alerts went to nearby homes with landlines, a confidential feature provided by CenturyLink, Mitchell said. Then he helped the dispatcher by issuing the computerized notice to those with Internet and cell phones in the immediate vicinity.
Only 554 people in Sublette County are signed up for AlertSense, which means the general public isnít so well prepared for emergencies.
To enroll, go to www.sublettewyo.com and click on "Sign Up for Emergency Alerts."