According to the Los Angeles Times, nearly a third of the residents of Paradise who signed up for emergency alert phone calls didn’t receive them.
Instead, many residents said they relied on word-of-mouth and the sight of flames approaching. As the fires spread over Paradise, they blacked out cell phone towers and those who were able to use landlines filled them up to capacity. And once residents did start the evacuation process, there were issues with traffic and transit.
The evacuations process in the Camp fire underscored the limitations in wireless communication alert systems, as well as issues surrounding evacuation transit and education.
What can be improved for the future?
Kelly Huston, deputy director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
Frances Edwards, professor and deputy director of the National Transportation Security Center at San Jose State University