DICE rolls out backup in Colorado fire

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07/10/2012

They are powerful numbers: More than 18,000 acres burned, 32,000 residents forced to evacuate, and nearly 350 homes destroyed. The Waldo Canyon fire outside Colorado Springs is now under control, but not before leaving its mark as one of the most destructive in the state’s history.

It’s a long way from the sagebrush to Bay City, Mich., but that’s where DICE Corp.’s Disaster Recovery Center geared up to help any clients threatened by the Waldo wildfire and others in the region. DICE software is used to monitor thousands of homes and businesses in the Colorado Springs area.

“Having accounts in an area that could, at any time, be in jeopardy on a large scale … will cause intense management issues at the monitoring centers located in non-affected areas,” the company said in an email statement. “Part of the preparation we did on behalf of the recent Colorado evacuations was to make our Disaster Recovery Center available to receive signals from any of our clients if the [fire] was affecting their normal day-to-day businesses. In doing so, it provided an advanced storm mode, if you will, in which case the extra signal activity is removed from the center’s inbound circuits, which is really an expansion of capacity and services to the center.”

Melissa Courville, head of marketing and communications for DICE, said there were clients in the Colorado Springs area that did turn to the company’s DR center for assistance, but she was not at liberty to disclose who they were or to what extent they were affected.

Courville said the situation served as a reminder of when the company provided backup for a central station that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina until it was able to rebuild.

“I’m humbled to say it was my first opportunity to step up as an emergency operator to dispatch,” she said. “To us it is only natural to offer our assistance, as we have done always and continue to do so.”