In a successful effort to prepare for and mitigate against wildfires, the City of Irvine has implemented an updated all-hazard evacuation map and a unique Hi/Lo siren to alert residents of the need to evacuate during an emergency. The Irvine Police Department released a Public Safety Announcement (PSA) video in multiple languages on Thursday, August 26, 2021, to inform the public about the new siren.
View the videos by clicking the buttons below:
In January 2019, Irvine established a team of local emergency response experts and City staff from various disciplines to address evacuation coordination and public alerting challenges. The team created pre-designated evacuation zones for at-risk communities along the wildland open space, and tested this technology to ensure staff could direct residents to lifesaving tools through its mass notification system, AlertOC, and Wireless Emergency Alerts.
“Interoperability between public alerting and the virtual map was critically important, as past wildfires had underscored the need for both text and visual evacuation instructions. These initial zones were used in the live, online evacuation map during the Silverado Fire to evacuate over 90,000 residents, and notify the public of accessible routes and locations of evacuation centers,” said the City of Irvine’s Office of Emergency Services Manager, Robert Simmons.
In December 2020, the City prepared an After Action Report (AAR) to examine and document all aspects of the Silverado Fire response. The AAR identified two main areas for improvement: the need to develop and create pre-established evacuation zones for the remainder of the City and to identify additional ways to communicate evacuation orders to non-English speaking populations.
“Irvine’s new evacuation map includes 116 evacuation zones,” said Simmons. “In the event of an emergency, the Irvine Police Department will broadcast the new Hi/Lo siren and play a recorded safety message in multiple languages to alert residents of the need to evacuate.”
It is critical for community members to “Know Your Zone” ahead of an emergency and be prepared to use this map during the next incident. The City encourages residents to view the PSA videos and familiarize themselves with the evacuation siren. To learn more about the City of Irvine’s emergency response and preparedness, visit cityofirvine.org/prepare.