County works for new alert system, helps Butte neighbors

County agencies, although mostly back now, lent their help to Butte County during the recent Camp Fire, which totaled thousands of homes and killed 85 in November, and local officials are ensuring Lassen County is better prepared for emergency services.

According to Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon during the Nov. 27 Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, county employees, dispatchers, deputies, chaplains and search and rescue volunteers spent time in Butte County helping in a variety of ways. When Growdon spoke to the supervisors, all Lassen County employees but some dispatchers had been released from Butte. Dispatchers were scheduled to help out until tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 12, but will continue to be available.

“It’s a really large scale operation,” Growdon said

of the aftermath of the fire. Because the fire was declared a national emergency, Growdon said the county should be reimbursed for most of the costs associated with working in Butte.

“We were glad to help out our partners down there,” Growdon continued. “It’s a good lesson for a lot of us, too, on being prepared and the importance of evacuating and the importance of community planning.”

After seeing the devastation in Paradise and the surrounding areas, Growdon said he started thinking about how we look at our own communities and planning.

Supervisor Jeff Hemphill noted these fast fires were a big topic of discussion in Janesville.

Growdon mentioned the Code Red system, a local alerting system that sends out notifications regarding emergency situations, including evacuation notices, bio-terrorism

alerts, boil water notices and missing child reports.

Messages are sent to home phones, and people can sign up for Code Red for their mobile devices by visiting the county website at   lassencounty.org, selecting the Office of Emergency Services department link and following the directions to sign up for Code Red.

However, there are plans in the works to incorporate a national system to better push out emergency notifications to a certain geographical area, without residents needing to sign up.

“That’s what they found with these fires. We all travel a lot, and if you happen to be in an area and your phone is not registered, you may not get that message,” said Growdon.

He said the system might be ready in a few months, and said the county would allow other local agencies to train and become administrators of the system as well.

Growdon spoke to the board during public comment. The board did

not take any action.