Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

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By an edhat reader

I live near the Loma Fire and I didn't receive a single emergency alert, Reverse 911, or anything about the fire that crept into my neighborhood. Edhat was the ONLY source of information I was receiving about what areas to evacuate. A neighbor down the street received a knock on the door from a firefighter, I did not receive such a courtesy.

What happened to the emergency alerts and city response? This is infuriating.

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lovesbalot May 21, 2021 11:32 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Edhat is where I go to find out emergency info. Emergency alerts and city response calls were no where to be seen. I found out about it from my son's friend who texted him. Would love to know what happened to reverse 911. The winds were strong last night and we were lucky the fire dept put it out pretty quickly. Thank you fire fighters, again!.

a-1621622164 May 21, 2021 11:36 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

The City needs to take responsibility for this. Our tax dollars pay them more than enough money, they get more and more every year, and we shouldn't have to risk our lives for something that can be easily fixed. Reverse 911, text alert, a frickin' loud speaker in the neighborhood. Whatever it takes to inform residents to get out. Whoever fell asleep at the wheel needs to be fired, no pension, ASAP.

a-1621622538 May 21, 2021 11:42 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

pulse point is absolutely worthless. even today there is NOT ONE mention of the loma alta fire.

why is it there ? misdirection ??

a-1621630168 May 21, 2021 01:49 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

So, you don't know what Auto Aid means? It has nothing to do with automobiles, but with multiple fire agencies responding together.

Roger May 21, 2021 11:43 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

It was happening too quick and every responder was needed at the scene so I was trying to repeat what they were saying over the scanner to help out.

Ahchooo May 21, 2021 07:09 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Roger, I am grateful beyond words for the service you, and now a few others, provide us. Thank you so much for keeping us informed.

a-1621622938 May 21, 2021 11:48 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Sounds like a socialist idea that you expect the City government to alert you personally about things happening outside your own door...?! How about some personal responsibility. Do you want to pay for such a fire dept communication service?

a-1621623424 May 21, 2021 11:57 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

What an ignorant response. We already pay for these alert services and the big marketing campaign urging everyone to sign up for reverse 911 and text alerts.

Luckily I was fine. But what about my elderly next-door neighbor whose hearing isn't well and they don't use social media. What if I'm out of town and can't contact them. The city needs to take responsibility and prioritize informing residents of their safety.

shorebird May 21, 2021 01:36 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

A Fire Department is socialism. If we all had “personal responsibility” we would have to extinguish our own fires. The socialism flag flies most capriciously since it became a republican talking point and rant.

a-1621623597 May 21, 2021 11:59 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Deep sleeper, loud music or tv, being handicapped, being elderly, hard of hearing.. just of a few reasons why someone wouldn't hear the sirens.

a-1621698955 May 22, 2021 08:55 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

I assume there is notification technology. Lights flash when phones or door bells are activated, and buzzer/vibration is another alert -- that fully able people also use.

CoastWatch May 21, 2021 12:14 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

You have to sign up for the County reverse 9-1-1 program. That being said, there was most likely a lack of communication between the County Office of Emergency Service / County Dispatch initiating the "Reverse 9-1-1" as the call was in the City of SB jurisdiction... Someone on the City of SB's side failed to notify the Reverse 9-1-1 initiation plan- I don't know if City Dispatchers have the ability to initiate the plan on their own or if they have to go through someone or some organization within the County Emergency services... (?)

a-1621625560 May 21, 2021 12:32 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

I am also very concerned regarding the lack of warning about the Loma fire. I get alerts on my phone for missing children and red flag alerts. I live in the Highlands right near KEYT. Why didn't we get any warning about the fire or the order to evacuate? KEYT was off the air. Thanks goodness for Edhat.

Seabird May 21, 2021 01:29 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

The lack of emergency alerts was definitely... alarming. I don't count on those anymore. The best source I've found for real-time news (besides our trusty scanner reports here on Edhat - it's where I hear pretty much everything FIRST) is Twitter, hands down. That, and tuning into the scanners myself when able.

a-1621629595 May 21, 2021 01:39 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

So I don't mean this offensively, but if you want to be in the know in 2021, you've got to use 2021 sources of information. The local news is not what it used to be, anywhere, not just here. Twitter and Facebook are major disseminaters of information nowadays. Every public agency has both a Twitter and a Facebook account which the PIO/etc uses to directly post information. Other sources require a middleman to pass on the information. When time is of the essence, you go straight to the source. Of course, this does little for alerting people to the emergency in the first place, you'd have to already have an inkling of what's going on in order to know to go to those sites. Hope this is helpful.

JB86 May 21, 2021 01:41 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

The City just dropped the ball. Even before KEYT got back up, KCAL in LA had the story. County Dispatch can activate Reverse 911, but the Incident Commander (IC), who was SB City Fire, makes the decision, and apparently didn't ask for it. I listened to county and city fire, SO and CHP and none of these agencies made mention of it that I heard.

SantaBarbaraNative May 22, 2021 08:23 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

@JB86

This incident was in the City so it's up to City Dispatch to activate not County. City Dispatch is run by City PD.

ScannerAndrew May 21, 2021 02:43 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

This fire spread extremely quick due to the wind, and units were scrambling just to get to the scene. It did seem like there was a lack of alerts/notifications for nearby residents. I think there was just not enough time to get the proper coordination to do that because of how fast the fire was spreading and how close it already was to structures.

This is why Edhat is so great. You can get news here FAST. Other news sources wait to gather more information and write up a report, and then publish it. Edhat does this as well sometimes by adding updates to our posts, but Edhat allows us scanner reporters to post immediate news to the public and not worry about having to write up a news report. I think it would be great if Edhat could have an app on phones that could send out push notifications for when we post events and updates to get news even quicker.

In the meantime you could enable notifications for my twitter account @SBIncidents if you really want to get notified immediately. My posts there are the same on Edhat. Following and enabling push notifications for city/county twitter accounts is also good to do as well for immediate info.

MarcelK May 22, 2021 12:33 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

"I think there was just not enough time to get the proper coordination to do that because of how fast the fire was spreading and how close it already was to structures."

Yes, obviously. Thanks for being a calm and rational voice in addition to the yeoman service you do with your reports.

a-1621633613 May 21, 2021 02:46 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Are local governmental agencies waiting for us to have a "Paradise" type disaster where ferocious fires caused by heat and winds bear down on the south coast, say from both directions, in a true fire storm, wiping out the City of Santa Barbara or Hope Ranch, with a horrendous loss of life? They really need to get their act together with communications/evac at least. In the Thomas Fire, 1,000 homes burned but the terrain and housing were different, not so compact, and everyone was able to flee (except for one civilian who died in a car crash during evac, a firefighter who died fighting the fire and 17 people who perished in the resultant flood in Montecito). A fire chief once told me after the "Paint" fire that all of Hope Ranch could of gone up if the down winds had continued one more hour. Not blaming the fire departments, they do their job with tremendous skill and courage. It's the "planners" and top agency heads who have the overall responsibility to see the possible parameters of disaster and plan accordingly.

bornatcottageho... May 21, 2021 03:06 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Typical entitled Santa Barbarans wanking about everything. There's an old saying, where there is smoke, there is fire.

MarcelK May 21, 2021 04:32 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Try as I might, I can't make any sense of your comment. I didn't need smoke to know there was fire, I could see it out of my window.

Ahchooo May 21, 2021 07:14 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

I heard sirens but could not see or smell any fire. It could have been any sort of emergency—no way for me to know there was a fire half a mile from my home.

LincolnLady May 21, 2021 03:34 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

The first detailed information I got about what became the Loma fire was on edhat. At the start of the next possible area-wide emergency (of any kind), contact local Amateur Radio operators (such as the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club, www.SBARC.org) to get an Amateur Radio emergency communications network up and running. This type of emergency system has worked well during previous disasters in this area, including during wildfires. Why it didn't happen last night, I don't know.

Bndtech May 21, 2021 04:33 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Hi, SBARC Net was active last night during the fire on 147.69 Mhz; we secured the channel so others would not use the channel for matters other than an emergency. I am W0JFB, one of three or four members on Net Control, calling all SBARC members in the affected area. One was evacuated due to our efforts.
Anyone can "Monitor" this frequency, but if you use a radio to communicate you should have a license from the FCC. On occasions like last night and you had a radio set to that frequency and you were in danger, there is an understanding and your call for help will be heard.
Everyone should register with the SB County Emergency 911 call list.
Mike W0JFB

LincolnLady May 21, 2021 07:38 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Hi Mike, thanks for the info. Knew nothing about it. Is 147.69 a standard emergency frequency? Is it duplex? Nothing on SBARC website about it. Checked the SBARC web page and the EmComm tab, is mostly out-of-date. Suggestions:
1) Update the EmComm tab. Rename it "Emergency" or "Click Here for Emergency" or something like that.
2) Put frequencies to scan that would be standard for an emergency. Then add a live link for the current emergency net (has been done before on the site).
3) On edhat, post emergency net frequency(ies) and who's operating once an event starts. Update info periodically. (Many people read/post on edhat.)
4) Need help with the webpage, let us Amateur Radio potential volunteers know. -MQN (the idea person)

JB86 May 21, 2021 05:50 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

I'd urge anyone concerned about timely notification to get a basic scanner and learn to use it. You only need a few channels to pick up any major local incident as soon as fire responders are notified - half a dozen fire freqs will have you covered and not inundated with non-emergency traffic. And fire traffic is almost always in plain English, so there isn't a need to learn the police codes. If you want it now and ASAP, I don't think you can beat a public service scanner. Andrew, Roger, others and I try to relay critical info quickly, but it is easy to get it first hand if you want.

adp May 21, 2021 07:45 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Hi there, are you referring to something such as a Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner? Just doing some research on this know and curious if you're talking about some of the handheld devices I am seeing available online. Thank you.

JB86 May 22, 2021 03:02 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

ADP: Yes, a basic hand-held is a great option. You can run it with a plug-in converter most of the time, then grab and go when you need to. The Uniden is a fine choice; I have two unidens, one base and one mounted in a car. Good voice clarity and sensitivity. In SB County you can cover all the basic stuff with about 20 freqs, fewer if you just want major incidents and not routine chatter. The unit you reference has 500 freq capacity I think - way more than you would need, but good to have as you can set up bands for specific reasons - like wildfires, versus everyday police, fire and medical calls. A good thing here in SB is that all the important stuff is basic UHF or VHF - no fancy trunked systems that are hard to program. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected],net

shardin1 May 21, 2021 06:14 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Edhat is a lifesaver...literally! About two years ago, I was on a lockdown in my classroom for several hours with my students. I was able to keep up with the situation on Edhat better than the scant information coming from the front office. I had found an iPad on the ground next to the desk where we were sheltering - the classroom had windows everywhere so we had to stay below the window line. I logged onto Edhat and, voilå, instant access as to where, why, how, who, and the like. It was sooo helpful.

smary May 22, 2021 08:10 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

It's time to award Murillo and the rest of the city hacks the "Nero Fiddled while Rome Burned" award for their ineptitude and failure to act, during what will doubtlessly become one of the worst fire seasons in Santa Barbara history. Failure of emergency alerts, Failure to mitigate obvious dangers. Failure to initiate a comprehensive response to the clear and present danger we are living under.

MarcelK May 22, 2021 12:30 PM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

So you think that Cathy Murillo personally sends out the alerts? None of the attacks on her that we see at EH are intellectually honest ... they are all just political posturing by ideologues.

smary May 29, 2021 07:51 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

unsure how one could see the failure to meaningfully address the problem of recurrent fires in the city/county as anything but inept. Contingency plan post covid should have already been formulated. Joint effort w/county, railroads etc should be well underway.
Instead they have lost millions in litigating coastal B&B's which is NOT a solution to hi cost rentals in residential areas.

Suzi805 May 22, 2021 09:51 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Check out the SB office of emergency services (OES) website to sign up for emergency alerts. https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736723794#/signup

Emmenanthe May 22, 2021 10:23 AM
Lack of Emergency Messaging for Loma Fire

Major Blunder by the City of Santa Barbara!!! The City got lucky - this time.
I am signed up for alerts and did not receive any notification, despite living near KEYT. Congratulations to those who got timely notice of the fire via EdHat, but - guess what - many of us are not glued to Ed Hat 24/7!

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