Saturday, September 11, 2010

#boulderfire Boulder Channel 1 used Twitter to Evac Fourmile Canyon fire peeps

Well, I just wanted to let everyone know.

When the fire broke out I was hiking up there and got run off the mountain by smoke, ash, embers etc.

then went to work.......... news editor ron baird was llready at it posting news when i arrived at our BC1 office.....
. at 12:30, turned on the scanner...started monitoring Red 1, Green, Blue, Fire and AIR.
Where my house is located we get perfect reception for all. If you go to you can see all of the early stories.

Boulder channel 1 broke the following news:

reverse 911 failure...... so I called command...dispatch, city pio and came up with a plan to use social media via Boulder Channel 1 to get word out to foot hill homes to evacuate , that reverse 911 was down.

we started posting Boulder channel 1 news headlines on Twitter immediately and that spread to the top tweet for #boulderfire.( and it still is).... I then started getting phone calls and emails from citizens who were stranded on Sunshine canyon and Sugar loaf....

..... "we didn't receive a reverse 911" and 911 is busy so I'm calling you.
I know, it failed, get out now." What?.... get in your car and leave"

Next call: I'm on sunshine, but i can't see.... should we evacuate.( saw our tweet on mobile device)
Green Channel: Sheriff deputy to Command:" The fire has crossed the road in two place on sunshine......Tell people not to drive down above poor man".
my text Shit! don't drive down... fire.

Text message: my brother is missing. 911 busy. Evacuate sugarloaf??
me: yes, try to get out...

And so it went all afternoon and into the night.\

we also broke the story on the car propane tank.
911 failure
sm to fourmile residents evacuate
200 homes burned

Our sources gave us everything.....and being an expert newroom scanner listener......the horror of it all was a Holy shit moment
then...We had CNN, NYT and other media giving us sources and leads in order to move information......since they saw we were breaking every new story..
Meanwhile we are writing furiously.....pounding out story after story As the Scanner provided real time information
Our tweets on Twitter exploded till we were the most retweeted and viewed source in the world
plus Boulder channel 1 News far surpassed every news agency in the world.
after 4:00 everybody and their brother was on twitter. But when we started.........we were the first. first to tweet, first in news..first to react.
by 4 everyone was evacuated...........twitter wnt down......and we did our job.

we did get one story wrong..... fatality.......which we had confirmed by two we apologized for that. ( this one still may unfortunately come true in days, weeks or months to come.) Some of my headline were a bit over the top...but i wnate d people who didn't realize to get the hell out.

I did take some heat for reporting ..from some twitter kids..who were in shock that we had moved in and took over their play ground for some serious business........but we knew we had it right and lives were at stake.
the time period i am talking about is between 12:30 and 4pm
we also had the only offical interview on the cause of fire by noon.

we went Live on tuesday from the Target parking lot. Allison did 3 hours Donna did two hours, to pass out crucial information and then picked up a WW audience on TV.
We internet cast a few early press conferences. too

Tomorrow we will broadcast some of the relief efforts on boulder channel 1 , com

deep breath
from Americas most famous small cityJann Scott Boulder Colorado

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