Sen. Dodd Introduces ‘Hi-Lo’ Evacuation Warning Bill

Monday, February 3, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced wildfire-inspired legislation today to improve emergency evacuations and public safety. The bill would authorize municipalities across the state to use European-style “hi-lo” sirens in emergency vehicles to alert people of evacuations.

“This distinct warning is proven to be effective and will save lives as California deals with the ongoing wildfire threat,” Sen. Dodd said. “It tells people to stop what they’re doing, gather their loved ones and get out now. When seconds count, that unmistakable blast, telling people to evacuate, is absolutely critical.”

Existing law restricts the use of hi-lo sirens. However, a pilot program last year in Napa County showed the warning popularized in England would be a powerful tool in getting people to flee encroaching wildfires. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office also successfully deployed the technique during the Kincaid Fire. Senate Bill 909 allows all public safety agencies to use hi-lo warnings for evacuation purposes.

“We would like to thank Sen. Dodd for understanding the need for this highly effective community warning tool,” said Napa County Sheriff John Robertson. “The hi-lo audible warning alarm is an effective and efficient method of alerting the members of our communities when trying to evacuate them during a disaster.  Law enforcement agencies cannot go through another fire season without the ability to equip our vehicles to notify our vulnerable community members.”                           


Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at