SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s top emergency manager says public safety warnings are being hurt by the vulnerability of cellphone service and other privately run communications.

Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci spoke at a legislative hearing Monday on the failures in emergency-warning systems in October’s wildfires. The Northern California blazes killed 44 people and destroyed about 8,900 houses and other structures.

The wildfires also burned scores of cellphone towers, knocking out some of the service used to try to warn the public of disaster. Authorities also reported widespread failures of telephone land lines, internet and cable TV services as equipment burned.

Ghilarducci says one complication is that most public warning systems rely on privately owned communications. He says the state has no authority now to order private companies to strengthen their systems.

blog comments powered by Disqus