Assemblywoman Luz Rivas Convenes the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management to Improve Communication Systems during a Pandemic

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, convened a hearing to discuss emergency preparedness and alerts during the COVID-19 era.  This hearing addressed issues with our state’s fragmented emergency alert systems, unacceptably low resident sign-up rates, the consequences of neglecting emergency and evacuation warnings systems, and emergency notification deficiencies that contributed to the loss of lives this year.

“As the State faces an unprecedented pandemic, we must ensure our emergency alert systems are effectively coordinating to safely and efficiently evacuate thousands of residents during a disaster,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “We must evolve beyond our current procedures to include pandemic safety protocols to keep our frontline workers and residents safe.”

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas was joined by Vice-Chair, Senator Mike McGuire, Committee members, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Cal FIRE, law enforcement, and local leaders to provide the Legislature with an in-depth view of emergency alerts and evacuation plans during the pandemic. This included information on testing, social distancing, requiring multiple incident-command centers, wearing masks and PPE, and temperature checks for personnel.

“I’m grateful to Chair Rivas for convening this critical hearing, fire season will be back before we know it. And, there are several lessons learned and reforms made over the past five years. For example, mandating 72-hour backup power for cell towers, training for local emergency managers on deploying emergency alerts and warnings and mandating the reporting of cell and landline telephone outages. Obviously, there’s a lot more work ahead of us which is why today’s hearing with emergency management professionals and local leaders was so important,” said Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Coast).

The Committee convenes after a wildfire season that witnessed four of the top five largest wildfires in California history. The State is also battling an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases that has resulted in more than a million California residents becoming infected with the virus.

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.