The County of Sonoma, City of Santa Rosa, and the National Weather Service Bay Area will conduct an emergency alert and warning exercise comprised of two individual tests on August 17. The effort includes a countywide test of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm system as well as a targeted text message, email and/or phone call alert test to select subscribers of SoCoAlert. Please Note: If an extreme weather event is forecasted the test alert and warning exercise will be canceled.
The first test, at about noon, is a test emergency message broadcast to all NOAA Weather Radios (NWR) throughout Sonoma County. The NWR warning alarm will sound one time, then be followed by a short test message, and then a closing alarm tone. This test message will be transmitted as a Civil Emergency Message and the words “Civil Emergency Message” may scroll across the NWR displays of compatible radios. The NWR test cycle will play through only one time. NWR owners are encouraged to ensure that warning alarms are enabled for Civil Emergency Messages in order to take part in this test. NWRs distributed via the City of Santa Rosa distribution events are already preprogrammed with this feature enabled.
The second test, a targeted email, text message and/or phone call alert, will be directed to those who have addresses within the City of Santa Rosa’s Montecito Heights and Fountaingrove 2 designated evacuation zones. At 1:00 p.m., a test emergency message will be launched in the City of Santa Rosa’s Montecito Heights designated evacuation zone. This will be a short text message, email and/or phone call to all contacts associated with an address within the Montecito Heights zone. At 1:15 p.m., a test emergency message will be launched in the City of Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove 2 designated evacuation zone and will also consist of a short text message, email and/or phone call to all contacts associated with an address within the Fountaingrove 2 zone.
Residents are encouraged to prepare ahead of the exercise on August 17. Santa Rosa residents who are unsure of their designated evacuation zone, should look it up at srcity.org/evaczones or by calling 2-1-1 for assistance over the phone. While only select Santa Rosa residents will be included in the text, phone, and email alert test, it is important for all residents to know their evacuation zone to be prepared for an emergency, and all community members are encouraged to take a few minutes to do so. All Sonoma County residents who own a NOAA Weather Radio should also make sure their device is plugged in, with back up batteries installed, and set up per the radio manufacturer instructions. To be prepared for an actual emergency at any time, all Sonoma County residents should register for emergency alerts at socoemergency.org/sign-up, and existing subscribers should review and update contact information as necessary.
The targeted text message and phone call alert test will compare two separate alerting systems that utilize the County’s SoCoAlert subscriber base – Everbridge will be used for the 1:00 p.m. test and Code Red will be used at 1:15 p.m. By comparing the alerting systems side-by-side, emergency officials can evaluate how two separate warning system providers perform in reaching targeted residents. The State of California has selected Sonoma County as a pilot county to test the efficacy of the Everbridge system. The test of the Non-Weather Emergency Message system using NOAA Weather Radios will provide the opportunity to test an expanded use of an existing alerting tool. This summer, the City of Santa Rosa distributed approximately 12,000 NOAA Weather Radios to city residents to leverage this additional emergency alerting opportunity. Funds for this distribution were provided through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
More information about the Joint Alert and Warning Exercise on August 17 is available at socoemergency.org/2021drill and srcity.org/August17Exercise.