For the past week, Northern California has been fighting massive wildfires that to-date, have taken the lives of 40 people and destroyed an estimated 5,700 structures. 

What has become exposed as business continuity plans are being enacted, are flaws in several Northern California county’s emergency alert systems.

Counties took varying approaches to notify residents—some used a Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system, some took to social media or used reverse 911 calls to landlines while others sent no official alert.

Emergency Notifications Done Right

California’s Lake County has been praised for its emergency response actions. Upon realizing their 64,000 residents were in imminent danger, they sent call and text alerts to all phones via FEMA’s WEA system, along with a community notification sending officers door to door. 

This action has arguably contributed to the lives of residents being saved as the county has no reported fatalities.  

What’s encouraging is that many of the counties are realizing the gaps within their systems and are re-evaluating their efforts as part of their after-action planning.

Don’t let your organization fall short when it comes to emergency notifications—here are a few extra lessons that can help you set plans in place and act fast in the event of a disaster.