Sen. Dodd’s ‘Hi-Lo’ Evacuation Warning Bill Clears Assembly Committee

Press Release

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SACRAMENTO – With peak wildfire season approaching, the Assembly transportation committee today passed legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help expedite and improve emergency evacuations by authorizing municipalities across the state to use European-style “hi-lo” sirens in patrol vehicles.

“This siren is absolutely essential for keeping people safe during California’s increasingly destructive wildfire seasons,” Sen. Dodd said. “That unmistakable blast tells people to stop what they’re doing and get out now. I thank the committee for passing it today and bringing it one step closer to reality.”

Existing law restricts the use of hi-lo sirens. However, a pilot program last year in Napa County showed the warning popularized in England would be highly effective in getting people to flee encroaching wildfires. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office also successfully deployed the technique during the Kincaid Fire. Senate Bill 909 allows all public safety agencies to use hi-lo warnings for evacuation purposes.

It cleared the transportation committee with unanimous, bipartisan support.

“When seconds count, this is the siren that has proven to get people out the fastest,” said Napa County Sheriff John Robertson. “I thank Sen. Dodd for introducing SB 909, which will greatly assist us in our continuing effort to make communities safer during disasters and other emergency situations.”

Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.