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State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson on the future of CA emergency alert system




State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson speaking to the State Assembly.
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson speaking to the State Assembly.
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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The deadly and destructive wildfires that have burned through California these past few months are putting a hyper focus on our emergency alert systems and how quickly officials can notify people of certain dangers.

California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson represents District 19, an area that straddles Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. She chairs the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management and has been looking at ways to improve the state's emergency alert system.

Senator Jackson joined Take Two to talk about how the state can improve its alert system for residents in time of crisis. 

"There are a variety of emergency warning systems in place," Jackson said. "Most of these warning systems are cellphone based, but we also have systems through social media. In the case of the fire in Sonoma, there were public safety officials going door to door alerting people."

Many of the current cellphone-based systems are not accurate.

"There's an issue of panic, obviously," she said. "On the other hand, better to have too many people alerted than not enough people. The goal here is to save lives."

Going forward, the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management plans to make the alert systems more resilient and more redundant. 

"We need more vegetation control and fire proofing around cell towers as well as more non-cell-based, outdoor warning systems," Jackson said.