Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

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By edhat readers

  • We're in the evacuation zone and didn't receive an alert for the fire, did anyone else? We're signed up for every service possible.

  • Who else got an alert about the Holiday Fire in Goleta? I got nothing.

  • Government notification felt slow for the Goleta fire, what do other edhatters think?

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72 Comments

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a-1531162587 Jul 09, 2018 11:56 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

AI6YR - Ham Radio @ai6yrham. "Every county (in California etc) needs a decent ADS-B receiver-on-a-peak and a tunable scanner to Broadcastify, it would make this a lot easier for folks to figure out what's going on here."

ZeroHawk Jul 09, 2018 11:32 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I was in the middle of this, while staying at a friends house off of northern patterson ave.
we saw flames, then 1st responders, then the sheriff department on loudspeakers giving up about 10 mins to pack and go. it happened in a matter of 20 minutes when we saw the smoke. no power either, total blackout.

TWOSCOOPS Jul 09, 2018 11:30 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

WHAT’S IN A HASHTAG? A hashtag on Twitter is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. I’m not a Twitter member, but I can use this method to get information on absolutely anything and everything. For a fire, just put the # and then the name of the fire, Holiday. So, you’d put in #holiday, or you’d try #Goleta or #Goletafire. Sometimes, you try different hashtags to gather all the news. If there’s lots of activity on that hashtag, it’s said to be “trending”. Trending is a word used on social media. On the gofundme account for the Wildlife Care Network, the page says “This campaign is trending!”, which means lots of people are going to that page to read the story and see who is donating. I enjoy twitter accounts (different than hashtags) and these two give lots of ongoing information about our area and fires. (1) 805 Weather is: https://twitter.com/805Weather AND (2) AI6YR - Ham Radio: https://twitter.com/ai6yrham?lang=en . Twitter puts the “i” in immediate. What/Who are your favorites for following fires in our area?

Factotum Jul 09, 2018 09:32 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

What do taxpayers pay Robert Lewin? Robert Lewin - $195,685 a year:
Assistant Department Leader-Executive
Regular pay: $137,173.00
Overtime pay: $0.00
Other pay: $28,385.00
Total pay: $165,558.00
Benefits: $30,127.00
Total pay & benefits: $195,685.00

Flicka Jul 09, 2018 09:22 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

What is the point of an immediate warning system if it's 4 hours late? As mentioned here, if the wind kept up the fire could have spread much farther. It seems to me the Painted Cave fire took about 30 minutes to move from the start on the mountain to crossing the highway. A waitress at the Colonial House restaurant on Modoc went out for a cigarette and saw a car on fire so alerted patrons inside. They only had time to run for their lives. The restaurant burned, cash register melted.

simplynotmyaddress Jul 08, 2018 08:51 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

PSTARSR-->> EXACTLY!! Most of these folks (read: complainers) lived a sheltered life elsewhere and came here expecting us to babysit them. To demand to be, then complain about not being "told" there was a fire... is so absurd... I can't even find words to quantify how pathetic these people are. How they made it this far in life is beyond me.

Bob Wilson Jul 08, 2018 06:56 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Lewin at SB County is a danger to the community. He completely screwed up the alert and warning/evacuation notice prior to the debris flow (people died!). Now, months later, this guy still doesn’t know how to use the alert and warning system to inform the community threatened by the Holiday Fire. It took 4 hours for a notification to come out! Lewin had clear and reliable information days prior to the fire that there would be (1) extreme temperatures, (2) extreme low humidity, and (3) high winds. This guy was a fire chief. He worked in the fire world for 30 years. Why the hell, in his new role as OEM director, was he NOT prepared to use his alert and warning tools to talk to the community that was at risk. THIS IS THE LEWIN’S JOB!

a-1531113101 Jul 08, 2018 10:11 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

We had heat warnings and red flag warnings for Friday/Saturday and yet it took Lewin four hours to send a text? And the phone number used after the Debris Flow was not being answered nor was the 211 line. Poor planning. Lewin should have had several people working Friday night in anticipation of events. Did he?

a-1531113093 Jul 08, 2018 10:11 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

We had heat warnings and red flag warnings for Friday/Saturday and yet it took Lewin four hours to send a text? And the phone number used after the Debris Flow was not being answered nor was the 211 line. Poor planning. Lewin should have had several people working Friday night in anticipation of events. Did he?

a-1531112890 Jul 08, 2018 10:08 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Agree. And in BOTH fires his office issued printed directions for evacuation that were wrong! Somebody in his office doesn’t know S B/Goleta OR how to read a map to tell people north/south/east/west. He already has one retirement paycheck. Time for him to resign.

pstarSR Jul 08, 2018 09:54 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

before cell phones, before facebook, before text message or reverse 911. how did we survive?
im just going to leave that here.

Gobbledygook Jul 09, 2018 09:28 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Lots of people did not survive. "We" may have survived as a group, but lots of individuals didn't and still don't. 23 of "us" just died in Montecito a few months ago, remember? "We" need all the warning systems we can get.

Gobbledygook Jul 09, 2018 09:28 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Lots of people did not survive. "We" may have survived as a group, but lots of individuals didn't and still don't. 23 of "us" just died in Montecito a few months ago, remember? "We" need all the warning systems we can get.

Potif Jul 09, 2018 12:11 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

For one thing, there didn't use to be as many people living here to be in danger. And, people knew most of their neighbors and friends and how to get a message to those who might not know what was going on. A lot of these areas that now have houses, were agriculture land, meaning much less threat to human lives. Fewer people to evacuate as well. There were landlines, and ways for others to contact those who were elderly or handicapped. However, now we do depend on a system that we have been told will alert us if there is any danger. When it fails, lives could be lost. It used to be safe to just let your kids go out and play, with little worry. The times have changed.

simplynotmyaddress Jul 08, 2018 07:44 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

When you move to an area historically known for some of the most destructive wildfires, and the media and NWS has been predicting record breaking temperatures and fire weather, it is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and not rely on others to keep an eye out for you. Because you decided to immerse yourself in a DVD, or your IPad, or any other activity that makes you ignorant of your surroundings, is not the fault of the PIO or anyone else. Plain and simple. Further, I DARE you to try and sue.
Perhaps it would be better for your own safety to move back to the city where you can be protected from these elements.

Red Creek Jul 07, 2018 08:31 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Both phones buzzed at 12:30am. We are across the fwy and 3 miles north, off off Storke by UCSB. The message said to evacuate. We were in no danger as wind was going in opposite direction.

Gobbledygook Jul 09, 2018 09:50 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

It's normal and conventional around here to say Storke is "north" of Fairview, because you travel on 101 North to get from Fairview to Storke. Real estate agents call that end of town "Goleta North," lots of people I know who live near DP call it "North Goleta." However emergency announcements always use real cardinal directions, so it's easy to get confused and quite worthwhile to have good map and understand that north means west and south means east, except when they don't.

I often direct tourists to the beach from where I work at the corner of State and Las Positas, where if you go straight down *either* street you will get to a nice beach on the Pacific ocean, which as we all know is to the "south." Not confusing at all.

Potif Jul 07, 2018 11:47 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Three miles NORTH(?) of the fire off of Storke by UCSB? The mountains are to the north, and the ocean is to the south. Where you described is south, and the fire was headed mostly in a southern, somewhat east at times... direction. I don't know where you are in relation to the airport, but sounds like you may be to the south which might give a good firebreak, except for all the areas which have a lot of brush in and around the airport area. Right now, I believe I am in the same general area, and there was concern that it could move in this direction had the strong winds persisted. Check a map in the meantime, and take note of north, south, east, and west in this region. Might save your life someday.

therealbebe Jul 07, 2018 06:18 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

How about a combination of both warning and awareness? I was listening to dispatch in the first hour or so, and it was truly an emergency. All energies were focused. There were medical calls going out with engines refusing, because they were needed at the fire lines - so engines were sent from Lompoc for those calls. It's hectic when it's happening. There SHOULD be a system in place to notify the vicinity, but it will never, ever be fail safe. This is where being part of a community and having relationships with others plays a big part in humankind's survival - we hope our friends call when we're snuggled safe in bed. It takes all of us, on many levels, so please, quit complaining.

MissBleu Jul 07, 2018 06:54 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Re: How about a combination of both warning and awareness?
Well stated THEREALBEBE. Thank you. Unfortunately Fire Season is now year round. The more layers of individual responsibility, communication improvements
and community effort the better.

tagdes Jul 07, 2018 05:20 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

The fire burned fast down slope but eastward was slow progression, the was no immediate need to notify anyone like the first complainer east of 154 and by midnight with the dozer line across the northern perimeter I'm sure they were considering the slow progression before concerning people likely unaffected.

Potif Jul 09, 2018 01:09 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

A simple wind shift could have changed all that in a few minutes. Concerning people to be alert that there is a fire, and that they should be aware if they would like to at least think about what to take and where they might go... Isn't a bad thing. Especially if it is done soon after the fire. I received many alerts about the Thomas Fire, and the chance of my area becoming involved was slim. But, even then I was glad to have information about areas that were directly involved. Also gave me a chance to check weather predictions, and for wind speed and direction hourly, which also helped to know where it PROBABLY would go. I learned a lot over the years, and have a collection of about 36 websites that I can get information related to fires from... But I still like to be alerted when there is one nearby ASAP so I can keep an eye on what direction it may head... Without being able to see, hear, or smell it.

Flicka Jul 07, 2018 03:21 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Of course people should be incensed about no warning. "Be aware of your surroundings" is elitist judgement. In the house, settled for the night; should they go check out the front door every 15 minutes, every night "just in case"? What is the point of emergency warning if it's not used. Only a couple hours after the start it was announced 20 buildings were burned, well before the "after midnight" warnings.

ljmdance Jul 07, 2018 03:03 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I also was concerned that I didn't get a notification, when I usually get many. I'm much closer to the Holiday Fire than I was to the Thomas Fire, yet got many notifications about the latter (which I appreciate, to stay aware). It was almost 12:30am when I got a notification alert. Thankfully, a couple of friends called to see if I was ok & that's how I became aware of it. I am/was NOT immersed in an iPhone, but I don't have cable TV and wasn't watching online local news all evening. That does not make any of us "dumasses (sic)." I had watched a DVD movie & was getting ready for bed, so it's a good thing I was MADE aware before I did go to bed. And, for the editorialist who mentioned that maybe we should have smelled smoke, it was hotter outside than inside my house all day & night, so my windows & doors have been closed. That also doesn't make me a "dumass (sic)" or an idiot unaware of my surroundings. It's important to share the information that not all of us got the messages in timely manner, in light of the experience during the January Debris flow that followed the Thomas Fire. Organizations sending out the messages need to know whether or not their communications are being received as expected. Thank you to all for sharing your experiences & checking on friends, neighbors, & acquaintances, EVEN if you think they probably already know what's going on.

a-1531045193 Jul 08, 2018 03:19 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I thought about notification and awareness in general when I slept last night with a fan blowing on me all night. That white noise drowned out everything. I'm in an area west of the fire, but I will make readjustments for safety. I can imagine the risk to elderly, disabled and non-smart phone owners, like me. It's not good. Rethinking neighborhood online community (Next Door, I guess), but I know 4 next door neighbors in two directions very well, in person, as a start. I hope others do too!

simplynotmyaddress Jul 07, 2018 01:33 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Wow. Really astonishing to read these whining complainers. Personally, I'm thankful all those folks who were devoting 110% of their resources to protecting our neighbors and friends homes and lives, rather than devoting manpower to facebooking warnings to dumasses that don't have enough sense to stop looking at their iphone long enough to look out the window and make adult decisions for themselves. Absolutely pathetic.

a-1531041456 Jul 08, 2018 02:17 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

You stated it well. I don't use FB. I knew of the fire because I'm a news addict. I used to work for County; worked 12 hour shifts, as a clerk, including in Emergency Ops Center. You may be part of Equine Evac.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There is a Reason We Have Full-Time PIOs!!
And this is the main one.

Potif Jul 07, 2018 11:19 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I don't have an iPhone, nor was I Facebooking. And, there are people within the emergency services that are NOT trained to fight fires, or police areas, whose job it is to just put out alerts. I helped evacuate some horses, and you couldn't see, smell, or hear the fire from the area they were at. Yet it was headed in the direction of the stables, which were NOT that far from the fire! And, my cousin who was also helping move horses out, didn't get any 'alert' until about 12:30 AM. She only knew about the fire because a friend had called her and told her about 9 PM. If we had started to go to move horses after the alert went to only HER phone , and the winds continued to push it East, we would probably not have been allowed to get up to the stables with the horse trailer. I've gone through several evacuations over the years with horses, during fires in the foothills.

a-1530994177 Jul 07, 2018 01:09 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

30 miles or so. That's how far the Thomas Fire moved. Plus, for people with health problems, children, elderly, they should not be breathing smoke. Give parents a warning, so they can take precautions for their children against smoke. Even if the fire isn't within striking distance, the particulate matter from smoke is. Everything that was burning is in it, stuff from farming, stuff from garages (paint, thinners, pesticides), plastics and other toxics from inside houses, that's all carried within the smoke.

a-1531003358 Jul 07, 2018 03:42 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Are you saying the Thomas Fire moved 30 miles in one night??? Because it didn't. If you want to be warned way in advance so you can escape particulate incursions such as smoke you need to set up your own private alert system. First responders have a job to do and that means protecting those in IMMEDIATE danger first.

Z Jul 07, 2018 01:00 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

OMG! I live twenty miles upwind of the fire and didn't get a warning. Curious though, how many of the unnotified complainers here actually live in the evacuation area.

Potif Jul 09, 2018 12:48 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

A lot of 'the unnotified complainers' live in areas that could have easily become involved with the fire. The main thing that saved a lot more houses and areas from becoming involved was the fact that the winds died down. If they hadn't, I am pretty sure, based on keeping a close eye on all the fires I've lived through here (many, and from an area that we did receive many many evacuation alerts, warnings, and told to 'get the hell out' especially since the start of the Zaca Fire), that most of the complainers would have been in an evacuation zone and MANY MORE houses and buildings would have been lost long before the time the alerts were sent out. And, not everyone even received one, myself included. And, sadly, there probably would have been deaths added to the statistics. For example, Old San Marcos Road and the San Antonio Creek area is not an easy area to evacuate from due to narrow and winding streets, and lots of people crammed in. Especially without a well functioning alert system, I would have to say Goleta, and Santa Barbara were blessed that night. And, that I am thankful that the winds died down, and allowed the firefighters to save what they could.

a-1530992482 Jul 07, 2018 12:41 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Grand Jury time. Please present this to the Grand Jury and let them sort it out, and make recommendations about emergency notification to Goleta during the Holiday Fire. Seems that what has been happening is not good enough. Try something else.

sbsweetpea Jul 07, 2018 12:28 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Usually I am always getting those OEM or Nixle alerts whether I am in the area or not. I was surprised not to receive anything last evening.

a-1530990123 Jul 07, 2018 12:02 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Last night, at Puente/Hollister, it was 112 degrees at 8:30 pm, and swirling winds. The winds were out of the north with warning that wind was pushing fire east. East would have it or embers headed in my direction. I didn't expect an evacuation notice, but given the conditions, notification was imperative for this FAST MOVING FIRE. There was no notification of any kind. Crickets. Preparation allows for lives to be saved. Luck this time, maybe not next time. Get it together.

mtndriver Jul 07, 2018 11:42 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Evacuation zone did not extend south of Cathedral Oaks, right? So if you live south of Cathedral Oaks, that's why you didn't get a notification.

Potif Jul 07, 2018 11:02 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

That usually would be a 'warning' zone, and notification would be appropriate. It could easily have crossed Cathedral Oaks. The Paint Fire crossed over 6 lanes of freeway, and the center divider, as well as the shoulders of 101. I watched the flames go across.

cherplan Jul 07, 2018 11:05 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I live in a big senior complex and we have set up our own warning system; but in spite of that I did not receive an alert until 12:30 am. Our complex is on Fairview, south of Cathedral Oaks about a mile. I am signed up for alerts, but they didn't come early enough to be effective.

simplynotmyaddress Jul 07, 2018 10:52 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

What I read is a bunch of people too reliant on expecting other people to watch out for them. As someone else said, be aware of your surroundings. You smell smoke, see fire, hear sirens, see your neighbors leaving... THAT would be a clue.
SBC (or anyone else) is not REQUIRED to notify you of ANYthing. It is a courtesy service.
Further, infrastructure demands become overwhelming during an event such as this. Cell sites are overloaded from everyone updating their facebook and so on. Power failures are routine.
To rely on a non-mandated courtesy notification to be your sole source of security is naive, irresponsible and just plain stupid.

ljmdance Jul 07, 2018 03:07 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

Those of us who live near a fire station & hospital hear sirens almost constantly, and once indoors for the evening, wouldn't likely see our neighbors or flames that aren't upon us, or smell smoke. Stupid is as stupid does.

StuckOnBathSt Jul 07, 2018 12:51 PM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I think that SB County's disaster notifications are much more than a courtesy service. While these notifications may not be legally required, timely disaster notifications will help emergency personnel in assisting people immediately impacted by the disaster evacuate to safety. The more people who are out of the disaster area, the easier the job is for first responders to deal with and contain the damage.

susie in goleta Jul 07, 2018 11:54 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

I live in Ranch del Ciervo. I received an emergency alert from my neighborhood emergency network on my cell phone but I am out of town. I called my husband (who also received the alert) and he went outside and did not see flames or smell smoke. There was nothing on the news or edhat yet. He got in the car to see what was going on and saw evacuations being conducted one street over. I agree that people should think for themselves and that this fire became dangerous very soon after it started. BUT, without this volunteer neighborhood network, he would have had no advanced warning prior to the mandatory evacuation.

a-1530984812 Jul 07, 2018 10:33 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

No alerts no warnings no nothing, we live near Turnpike/Hollister, direction the fire was supposed to be moving toward. Turnpike is next major street after Patterson (mandatory evacuation east line).

PheonixAir Jul 07, 2018 10:30 AM
Were Alert Systems Used for Holiday Fire?

SHERRIFF BROWN NEEDS TO GO! This is the same "slow-to-go" response that happened during the Montecito mudslides. Do yourself a big favor, VOTE IN FAVOR OF A NEW SHERRIFF!!

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