Linda Roemisch: Too high-tech for our own good? | TheUnion.com

Linda Roemisch: Too high-tech for our own good?

Are outdoor fire warning sirens the answer? I’ve been asking my self this question for months. There are emergency siren alert systems for flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Why is there not one for fires? According to a Paradise survivor I spoke with he said, “All alert phone systems failed.” He was unaware that there was a fire raging towards him, he got a call from a neighbor a mile away. All cell phone alert systems were down. He lost everything but made it out alive. I’m sure there are hundreds of testimonies but here are just a few.

Elizabeth Hawkins, whose home in Santa Rosa’s Riebli-Wallace neighborhood was destroyed, hopes the disaster will strengthen the county’s emergency response system.

Hawkins smelled smoke on the night of Oct. 8 but assumed she was not in danger because she heard no sirens and received no official warning.

More to read on the failures of not having sirens:

Today, San Francisco has 114 outdoor wailing sirens capable of broadcasting pre-recorded messages in Spanish, Cantonese, and English, and also live announcements. The city tests the siren system every Tuesday at noon. Its main purpose is to warn residents of an incoming tsunami and supplement the city’s public emergency alert strategy, said Francis Zamora, director of external affairs at the city’s Department of Emergency Management.

“You want to have a healthy redundancy,” he said. “My mother is not on Twitter, but she will hear the sirens.”

Is Nevada County looking into this type of a system? If not, why then can’t Nevada County be the lead on installing and setting up a system to warn residents like it is done for other disasters? Have different sounds for different designated evacuation areas and alert signs for tourists, hotels, and campgrounds. Are we so high tech that we can’t go back to old school or can we use both to make us safer?

Linda Roemisch

Nevada City


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