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Showing posts from October, 2020

Finally, Some Media Focus on Tragic Wildfire Fact: Systems That Warn People about Evacuations Have Dangerous Drawbacks. Millions of Californians Rely on Alerts That May Never Arrive. Another Fact: AM Radio Rarely Fails in a Crisis

  Taylor Craig stands on the edge of his family's property outside of Vacaville, CA on Oct. 2020. Craig fought off the flames and protected his home after not  receiving  any evacuation warnings. Photo by CalMatters. CalMatters, the nonprofit journalism venture based in Sacramento, CA, recently turned its health intern loose to examine why so many wildfire alerts and warnings have failed in California’s 2017-2020 mega-fire season.   The resulting 2,700-word-plus article is must-reading for anyone responsible for planning and executing digital messages designed to keep people safe from wildfires.   One drawback of these systems is that they often require citizens to sign up or register to receive messages communicated over cell phone networks.   Ken Dueker, Palo Alto’s Office of Emergency Services director, told CalMatters: “You’ve got to sign up and, frankly, very few people do…. I don’t blame them because they don’t know about the tool -- they falsely assume the government has th