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San Luis Obispo County

Atascadero announces new evacuation alert siren

Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services

ATASCADERO, Calif. - The City of Atascadero has new evacuation alert sirens, as another way to notify residents of the need to evacuate immediately during an emergency.

They are called "Hi-Lo Sirens,” and the City says the distinctive two-tone sound made by the sirens cause people to pay attention. The City says residents will never hear the particular sound unless there is a major problem and there is a need to evacuate.

The new sirens have been in use in pilot project since 2018. That project was between the Sonoma, Napa and Solano County sheriff’s departments, after many residents failed to receive evacuation alerts during deadly 2017 fires.

Until recently, the Hi-Lo alerts were not allowed by the California Highway Patrol. But new legislation authorizes the use of Hi-Lo sirens for the purpose of notifying the public of an immediate evacuation in an emergency. These sirens will not be used for regular emergencies. 

The sirens will be installed in ambulance, lifeguard, police, fire, emergency services or forestry vehicles.

The City says with recent massive wildfires in the last year, it's important to be able to evacuate large populations quickly. It wants to remind residents that: “if you hear the Hi-Lo, you know it’s time to go!"

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