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Published September 2nd, 2020
Orinda reviews virtual evacuation as notification system is updated, town hall scheduled

Orinda Police Chief David Cook reviewed the responses to the survey of participants in the recent virtual evacuation drill with the city council on Aug. 18. In the week that the survey was available, 1,916 residents responded. Cook noted that his information came from the Moraga-Orinda Fire District emergency preparedness coordinator, who worked on the drill.
With 1,311 respondents saying that they received a Community Warning System (CWS) text to their smart phones, only 670 reported receiving a CWS text to a basic cell phone; 156 respondents said that they received a CWS voice call to their home and 76 reported receiving a CWS voicemail on their home phone. In addition, 106 respondents said that they got an email either from CWS or MOFD, 60 respondents reported being notified by a friend, neighbor or relative in person, and 150 respondents said they received no type of alert.
The great majority of respondents were over the age of 50 and had no children in their households. Over 88% reported that they would be willing and able to check on their neighbors before leaving in their vehicles. Only a very small percent of the respondents considered the exercise to be not valuable, while the majority considered it very valuable.
Cook reported that 3,156 "reverse 911" calls were made, but that they were only 44% successful, which represented the highest failure rate among the attempted contacts. Nearly 8,675 emails
and 8,673 text messages were sent out to residents notifying them of the drill.
In public comments, Nick Warranoff suggested that "given significant failure rates, we need a subsequent test soon." Charles Porges wondered how many people did not receive a warning, either because they didn't sign up or they did sign up, but failed to get a warning. Cook said that most people had registered mobile phone numbers and email addresses, but said he would check with CWS.
Shortly after the Orinda virtual evacuation drill, the CWS changed its Caller ID used to issue alerts from the old caller ID number, 000-000-0000, to the new caller ID number, 925-655-0195.
Lamorinda CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) reported that it has been asked why the CWS system changed its phone number at a time when the CWS is so critical. CERT explained that the number was changed owing to a change in FCC rules, that would have caused calls from the system to be rejected and/or undeliverable if reported as coming from 0000000000.
CERT advises that local residents take the following steps to make sure to receive CWS alerts: add the new CWS number as a new contact in mobile devices and label it "Community Warning System." Then make this new contact a favorite and add it to emergency bypass. According to CERT, taking these steps should stop calls from being identified as Spam or silenced by the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone. For more information about the Community Warning System visit: www.CoCoCWS.us
Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan announced a Wildfire Preparedness and Property Insurance Virtual Town Hall to be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. The town hall is in partnership with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Orinda Firewise Council. The discussion will cover how homeowners can take steps to lower wildfire risk, navigate insurance issues and share helpful resources. State Fire Marshal Chief Mike Richwine, Executive Director of United Policyholders Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policyholders, and experts from the Department of Insurance will speak and answer questions. Interested persons can RSVP at https://a16.asmdc.org/events
/upcoming-events and are asked to submit questions in advance, by Sept. 8, to crb@insurance.ca.gov with "Orinda Firewise Council Town Hall" in the subject line.

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