California Bill Would Create Opt-Out Alert System

"Recent California wildfires have driven home how important it is that we have a way to notify people quickly and effectively so they can leave burning neighborhoods, check in on loved ones, and make the best choices for their safety at any hour of the day or night," said State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

Two Democrats in the California Legislature, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), announced Jan. 3 that, following the devastating Thomas Fire, they will introduce bills to create an opt-out emergency alert system, improve emergency communications to non-English speaking immigrant communities, and reduce wildfire risk to new homes.

Jackson's Senate Bill 821 would give counties the option of automatically enrolling every resident in a location-based emergency notification program -- a program from which residents could opt out of the alerts. They reported many of California's public warning systems have the ability to deliver notifications to residents based on their homes' location but require residents to sign up before they receive the cell phone and email alerts, while a federal Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system does not require residents to sign up but can't precisely target specific neighborhoods.

When the Thomas Fire, a major wildfire, began, fewer than 30 percent of residents had signed up to receive county cell phone and email alerts, they said.

"Recent California wildfires have driven home how important it is that we have a way to notify people quickly and effectively so they can leave burning neighborhoods, check in on loved ones, and make the best choices for their safety at any hour of the day or night," Jackson said. "With climate change creating the potential for longer and more severe fire seasons, we must strengthen our emergency alert systems and allow officials to effectively target alerts to specific areas or neighborhoods under threat."

Another bill by Limón would require state and county Office of Emergency Services emergency communications to be made available in the second-most-spoken language in a county. It would require translation for the second-most-spoken language be made available during OES emergency communications such as broadcasts, emergency hearings, and press conferences. "Accurate, updated information is absolutely vital in an emergency—this can be even more challenging for the communities where a significant percentage of the population speaks another language," she said. "In a dynamic emergency like the Thomas Fire, timing is everything. Real time translated emergency information is essential to alleviate confusion and ensure the safety of everyone."

A third bill by Jackson would strengthen CalFIRE's ability to weigh in on local development plans in order to reduce wildfire risk to new homes and neighborhoods.

Hearings for the bills have not yet been scheduled.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Easy to Use Safety Incident App

    Record incidents on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Collect data for multiple types of incidents including including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries; at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together a resource that’s easy to digest so you can get answers to your training questions and ensure you're complying with OSHA's standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus