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Reducing Our Risk
In a maximum of 175 words, please give an overview of your entry including the hazard, the solution and actions implemented.
Boulder County, Colorado, with its Rocky Mountain front range communities, is an urban-wildland interface. Each of our mountain communities is unique in some way, but we share the same vulnerabilities - fire, flood and extreme weather; but, even in ordinary times, we lose power and communications. The town of Gold Hill, population about 250, is located on a ridge above three major canyons, Four Mile, Sunshine and Left Hand. In 2010, the Four Mile Fire in western Boulder County decimated much of Four Mile and Sunshine Canyons. The community of Gold Hill also lost properties, but the town itself was spared. After the fire, Gold hill organized NeighborLink, a robust circular neighbor-to-neighbor link to ensure that everyone is quickly informed of any emergency. SafeSite then was created to provide emergency supplies and a safe place for our neighbors in the nearby canyons.
When the historic floods of 2013 occurred, we not only lost power, phone and internet service, but roads leading into the mountains were completely destroyed. Deep gullies and sink holes appeared on roads, paths and fields, impeding even foot, bicycle and horse travel.
We found ourselves clearly needing a way to communicate during extreme weather/disasters with each other, with surrounding communities and with the authorities in Boulder. This experience led to the creation of a unique coalition between the Boulder County Emergency Operations and a group of citizen volunteers to provide robust communications using old technology, amateur radio. In Gold Hill, this volunteer group is called AirLink.