Aug 1, 2016

Some SCV residents say reverse 911 didn’t work during Sand fire

Santa Clarita, CA
USA
by
Nikolas Samuels
,
Santa Clarita Valley Signal
Some Santa Clarita Valley residents who live in neighborhoods evacuated during the Sand fire say they did not receive emergency phone calls notifying them of mandatory evacuations, although they had signed up for them. Photo: Katharine Lotze, File Photo
Some Santa Clarita Valley residents who live in neighborhoods evacuated during the Sand fire say they did not receive emergency phone calls notifying them of mandatory evacuations, although they had signed up for them. Photo: Katharine Lotze, File Photo

Some Santa Clarita Valley residents who live in neighborhoods evacuated during the Sand fire say they did not receive emergency phone calls notifying them of mandatory evacuations.

The Signal spoke to residents at three homes in Sand Canyon and four homes in Fair Oaks Ranch who say they did not receive the automated calls from Alert L.A. County, commonly called reverse 911 calls. Two Sand Canyon residents said they did receive the calls.

Michael Glazier said his mother, Christine Glazier, who was trapped in her home on Oak Springs Canyon Road in the Sand Canyon community, was one who did not receive emergency notification.

“The only reason she was there is that she didn’t get the reverse 911 call to leave,” Glazier said...

Christine Glazier, along with everyone else in mandatory evacuation zones in the Santa Clarita Valley, was supposed to receive an automated message from Alert L.A. County to her landline telling her to evacuate, according to Lt. Charles Norris of the Sheriff's Department Emergency Operations Bureau. All listed and unlisted landlines in evacuation zones were supposed to receive the message.

But some residents with landlines in the evacuated areas say they did not receive calls...

More than 10,000 homes were evacuated between July 22 – the day the fire began – and July 24 due to the Sand fire. Most evacuation orders were lifted July 25.

The Sand fire was not the first time concerns have been raised about the reverse 911 system.

Deputy Robert Boese of the Sheriff’s Department Headquarters Bureau said in 2010 that the county’s reverse 911 system failed during the 2009 Station fire. The department responded by launching a program which allows residents to subscribe to text and email alerts through Nixle.

The Station fire, which raged for more than a month, destroyed 89 homes