Push to get cell phone users to sign up on Alert San Diego Syste - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Push to get cell phone users to sign up on Alert San Diego System

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - The wildfires in Northern California are severely hampering communications and with more people ditching their landlines for cell phones, it’s especially important to make sure you are able to receive notifications in an emergency.

Authorities have issued new and winder evacuation orders as the wildfires in wine country continue to spread – a somber reminder to San Diegans during this season of wildfires to be prepared.

Holly Crawford is director of San Diego County’s Office of Emergency Services.

She encourages San Diegans who have not yet done so, to register their mobile phone numbers with the county’s Alert San Diego System – a way of receiving critical notifications during all types of emergencies from fires and earthquakes, to hazmat spills and SWAT incidents in your area.

Residents with landline phones automatically receives these alerts, but there is currently no centralized registry of cell phone numbers.

“Having your number registered through Alert San Diego is critical so that you can react when you just have minutes to evacuate,” said Crawford.

One life-threatening challenge during the current wildfires in northern California – nearly 80 cell phone towers went down.

While almost all are once again operational, during that time, many residents did not receive evacuation alerts on their mobile phones.

“We should never be over-reliant on technology. Technology many times fails during disasters,” she said.

Crawford points out that the mass notification system is just one tool of many to prepare for possible emergencies like a wildfire. She also pointed out that now is the idea time to form a family disaster plan to build an emergency supply kit before disaster actually strikes.

You can register your mobile phone to Alert San Diego to receive emergency notifications online.

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