Flagstaff unveils evacuation zone map for residents in times of emergencies

As wildfire season inches closer up north, the city of Flagstaff has a brand-new weapon to help save resources and lives.

This organized map will be a game changer in the next few months. It's color-coded and - most importantly - zone coded.

Over 115 evacuation zones have been marked for Flagstaff residents and those living in county areas. The goal? A clear, concise form of communication in crisis.

Daniel Kelly, the emergency manager for the city, says the previous method of alerting citizens to leave wasn't always clear or immediate.

"Incident command would pull out a map, circle the area that they needed to have evacuated and send it to the county, and they would have to take the time to draw the polygons to send out to emergency alerts," Kelly said.

Now, the city and Coconino County have been broken down into dozens of zones.

"This way, it’s streamlined for them.," Kelly said. The polygons are already set."

Daniel says this won't just be faster. It will also clear up communication issues.

"There will be less confusion of ‘Well my neighborhood is kinda called this, but kinda goes by this name too—does that mean they’re telling me to evacuate?’ Now it’s ‘hey, we will list off the communities because we gave a name and also gave out a number," Kelly explained. "So we’ll give out the name and the number of the zone so therefore there’s not a lot of questions of ‘Did they give out my zone or not?'"

How it works

Residents can enter their addresses online to see their assigned zone. 

They can then sign up for emergency alerts or read posts from the city and county about up-to-date information on social media or neighborhood groups.

Then in critics situations, officials can quickly name the exact zones that need to evacuate or prepare to evacuate.

"It reduces the resource burden, helps with the re-entry process, and helps the community transition to recovery faster," Kelly said.

Find your zone here: http://coconino.az.gov/evacmap

He also suggests learning the zone of your child's school, workplace or loved one's residences to be prepared in all situations.