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League Supports SB 833 to Make Cities More Prepared for Emergencies

Cities Encouraged to Support Measure Creating a “red alert” Warming System for Evacuations

February 23, 2018
The size, season, and scope of wildland fire events in California have been getting larger, longer, and worse in terms of the destruction and calamity they inflict in this state.
With the North Bay Area Firestorm of 2017 ranked as the most destructive and deadly in American history with 44 lives lost and residents still missing, followed by the similarly destructive Thomas Fire in Southern California, the largest wildland fire in the state’s history, it has become increasingly important to provide additional training and improvements to emergency response led by state and local governments.
As a result, the League is supporting SB 833 by Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), which would require the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to ensure that each emergency management office within a city or county is a registered federal Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) operator and has functional, up-to-date WEA software and annual training for operation of the WEA system.
Additionally, this bill would require a “red alert” system designed for quick response to issue and coordinate alerts for evacuation orders and to incorporate the system into a variety of notification resources, including the state-utilized emergency notification system inclusive of local digital signs, radio, television, text messaging, or other technologies. The bill would also require state and local government agencies using the federal WEA system to use the term “red alert” during an evacuation order and to notify OES of the alert and to send such alert to all landline phones in the evacuation area using standards that must be established by OES by Jan. 1, 2019.
SB 833 will help create uniform standards, consistency, and coordination for state and local governments to send out emergency alerts notifying residents of evacuation orders. SB 833 has been referred to the Senate Governmental Organization committee, but has not yet been set for a hearing.
If cities would like to submit a letter of support, please send letters to your local legislator and a copy to cityletters@cacities.org. The full text of the measure along with the League’s support letter can be found at www.cacities.org/billsearch by plugging SB 833 into the search function.

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