I was proud to partner with San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and the Office of Emergency Services last month to introduce a resolution that will allow OES to further expand upon its existing alert notification system, to send emergency alerts to a greater number of residents in the county. Currently, only about 10 percent of San Mateo County residents, 70,000, are signed up for SMC Alert.
During the state’s deadly wildfire season, we heard too many times that residents felt they did not have adequate access to information that could have saved lives. With the San Andreas Fault running right through the middle of the county, we know another big quake is looming. Being on the same page as a community during any natural disaster is the greatest way to preserve public safety.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 821 into law Sept. 21, 2018. It allows counties to work with public utilities, for the sole purpose of emergency notifications, to provide their customers with important information in the event of a major disaster. While the intent is to garner a greater audience for notifications, customers will still have the ability to decline the service.
We know natural disasters or other emergencies can strike at any time. During these events, emergency alerts and timely information can save lives. SB 821 improves our ability to connect with the community whether it’s a major fire, earthquake, tsunami or other threat. We may not know when Mother Nature will strike, but this resolution will improve how we communicate when she does.
SMC Alert is San Mateo County’s alert and warning notification system for first responders and emergency management agencies to send emergency alerts to the community. For individuals who live and/or work in San Mateo County, they may go to SMCAlert.info to sign up and register for this free service.
David J. Canepa is a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors serving Brisbane