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Colorado Springs launches ‘COS Ready’ emergency preparedness campaign

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Monday, the City of Colorado Springs launched a citywide emergency preparedness campaign called 'COS Ready.'

According to the city, the campaign provides a series of actions focused on preparing for an emergency, including a checklist on how to get ready.

"I'm here to tell you that the city of Colorado Springs is more prepared than ever before to respond to emergencies,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.

This comes one month after the Colorado Springs City Council passed an amended emergency evacuation ordinance. The new ordinance will divide the city into separate zones and send notifications only to specific zones affected by an emergency instead of multiple areas.

600 zones were established after nearly a year of research and testing technology.

Officials say the software, Zone Haven, has been utilized in California for years.

"These zones, which are developed by our public safety professionals, will help us take strategic actions during an emergency incident," said Mayor Suthers. "By knowing your zone, you'll be better informed when an emergency happens.”

During the Waldo Canyon fire in 2012, 35,000 people were evacuated from Fillmore west of I-25 all the way up to the Air Force Academy. Fire officials say that size of the evacuation was unnecessary and won't happen again.

"That same area today probably has 30 to 40 zones, if not more in that area," said Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal. "So you can picture that as being smaller zones now, and in this case, what we would be doing is evacuating just the people that were up by Centennial, then close off the Mountain Shadows neighborhood those were the ones that were directly impacted, and then putting others on pre-evac notice.”

People will know if their zone is evacuating through emergency alerts and texts on their phones, posts on social media, and reports on the local news.

"What they've seen in California is, from the time the incident commander says 'We need to evacuate zones X, Y, and Z,' it's two and a half to 3 minutes and everybody's notified," said Chief Royal. "That's huge.”

COS Ready launched Monday, Aug. 22 at 3 p.m. during a press conference. Mayor John Suthers, Colorado Springs Utilities, Fire Chief Randy Royal, Chief of Police Adrian Vasquez, and the management director of Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency were all on hand for the announcement.

To identify your zone, click here.

Officials recommend memorizing your zone number as soon as possible since you never know when an emergency could strike.

Watch the full press conference below:

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