Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Sonoma County’s SoCo Alert System Blasted
Firefighters in California now believe they have turned the tide in containing the Thomas fire, which has burned for two weeks. The wildfire broke out December 4, near Santa Paula and has now blackened 270,500 acres, making it the third largest in California history, reported Noozhawk.
But earlier fires in Sonoma County in October still cause officials concern. The emergency alert system, SoCo Alert, failed to connect with 54 percent of telephone numbers in the government database, reported The Press Democrat. That means over half of the alert messaging didn’t get through to the public, with many people’s first warning coming from neighbors.
According to Chris Helgren, the county’s emergency services manager, the system was hindered by damaged cell phone towers and burned utility lines. “During disasters, it’s not uncommon to have lower success rates,” he said. “You’re not going to have the same kind of numbers you would when the system is whole.” Continue Reading