SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) —
The California Office of Emergency Services said a statewide alert would require multiple people’s input before something was sent out. That means one person could not hit the wrong button and start a panic like what took place in Hawaii Saturday.
“There’s no single person in a silo that’s making a decision, it’s a collaborative effort on any incident that you’re talking about,” said Cal OES spokesperson Brad Alexander.
The multiple layers of accountability are a priority for California State Senator Jerry Hill. He recently co-authored a new bill to beef up the state’s alert system after so many people failed to receive a warning about the North Bay wildfires. “You need a process where it takes a couple of people to make that decision, those people are there, so you don’t have the chance and take the chance of having a false alarm,” said Hill.
Hill worries the mistake in Hawaii could reduce trust in alert systems in general. “When that next one comes that isn’t a mistake, and is intentional, will people believe it? I think they lose a lot of credibility when you have just one false alarm. And that’s really a problem,” he said.
However, he sees a silver lining in Saturday fiasco. Hill thinks it will serve as a reminder everyone needs to make an emergency response plan. Alexander agreed. He said everyone should be aware of the first steps they would take after receiving an emergency text alert like the one in Hawaii. “Where are you going to go? Does your car have gas? Do you have money in your wallet? Because some of the infrastructure could be down in an emergency.” Alexander added, “we have all sorts of natural and man made risks in California and we encourage folks to have an emergency plan.”
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