Sen. Dodd’s ‘Hi-Lo’ Evacuation Warning Bill Advances

Friday, May 29, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help expedite and improve emergency evacuations in disasters such as wildfires by authorizing municipalities across the state to use European-style “hi-lo” sirens in patrol vehicles cleared a key committee today with unanimous support.

“Keeping people safe with the continuing threat of wildfire is a top priority, and the hi-lo siren is an important tool to allow us to do that,” said Sen. Dodd. “That unmistakable blast has proven to be effective elsewhere. It tells people to stop everything and get out now. The siren is absolutely critical, especially when every second counts.”

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 highly effective 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.

It cleared the Senate Transportation committee today with bipartisan support.

“I would like to thank Sen. Dodd for introducing SB 909, which will greatly assist us in our continuing effort to make communities safer,” Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said. “This alert siren will allow law enforcement vehicles to be equipped with a siren to help with the notification and evacuation of our community members in both rural and urban settings during disasters.”


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  


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