After experiencing several devastating fires Montecito Fire has taken input from the community, and realizes that providing timely, accurate information is critical during emergencies.
Some of the concerns regarding emergency notification that surfaced after the Tea Fire included:
- Reverse 911 failures - Many calls were not received due to power outages and phone lines being burned
- Night time/late evening notification - Many don't hear or answer their phones and might miss the Reverse 911 notification
- Sirens and bull horns are difficult to hear indoors and in windy conditions
- Not enough personnel to go door to door
After learning that existing emergency notification methods don't necessarily work for everyone, or in all circumstances, the Fire District conducted tests of various alerting systems and devices, including sirens, external voice systems and internal notification systems.
In an effort to increase the access to this critical information, Montecito Fire Protection District uses the following methods to disseminate Emergency Alerts and other community information.
- Reverse 911
- This system is managed by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. All home phone numbers are a part of their data collection set, including unlisted numbers, and geocoded to the location in which they are registered.
- You can add additional cell phone numbers associated with your location by registering them at http://www.sbsheriff.org/reverse911a.html.
- HomeALERT receivers
- Residents who live within the Montecito Fire Protection District boundaries are able to purchase a tone alert radio for their home or office. This radio, called HomeALERT, will transmit an up to 90 decibel tone and scrolling text with instructions on how to respond when activated. The system utilizes FM frequencies to distribute the notifications via the HEARO Network through a partnership established with KDB Radio, FM 93.7.
- The radios are programmed with the address they are purchased for, which corresponds with pre-identified evacuation zones within the District.
- To purchase a HomeALERT Emergency Warning Receiver, you can order them in person at Station 1, 595 San Ysidro Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, or you can call 805-969-7762 to order with your credit card.
- Montecito Fire sends messages utilizing NIXLE which allows Residents subscribe to the service for free and receive trustworthy information directly from the Fire District regarding public safety and community notifications immediately by text message, email and/or web.
- Register to receive NIXLE notifications for FREE at www.nixle.com
- AM 1610
- AM 1610 is a low powered AM Radio station owned and operated by the Montecito Fire Protection District. During normal activities, the station broadcasts fire prevention and disaster preparedness information continually on a loop. However, during emergencies, the District broadcasts evacuation and other critical information as it becomes available.
- It is important to understand that most home stereo systems do not pick up AM broadcasts - especially those coming from a low power station. To hear these broadcasts, it is best to listen to them on a battery powered portable radio or your car radio.
- Local Media Outlets
- Local Media, including TV, Radio and Print have provided email and text messaging contact information to Montecito Fire and are notified as soon as possible on all emergency events. They have also been provided with contact information for our Public Information Officers as well.
For assistance or information relating to any of our notification methods, please contact [email protected] or call 805-969-2537.