Downtown Oakland in the background; buildings in UC Berkeley in the foreground.

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Berkeley Considers Installing Emergency Siren System

Carrie Hodousek
May 21, 2019 - 10:55 am

BERKELEY — Berkeley residents may one day hear a wailing siren alerting them to an approaching wildfire or earthquake. 

The city’s Disaster and Fire Safety Commission recommends building a siren system, but did not specify the number, type or location of the sirens. 

The idea will be taken up at a city council meeting on wildfire safety on Tuesday evening. 

Right now, Berkeley does not have a citywide warning system in place.

Related: Berkeley Installs First Surveillance Cameras In Park

Small business owners like Eddie Young who runs Paul’s Shoe Service near the downtown Berkeley BART station says the system is desperately needed.

"We live in this area and you have to be prepared for that all the time. Sooner or later, it's going to happen," said Young about the likelihood of a natural disaster. "I think it would be very helpful."

While Berkeley has the capability to send out alerts and evacuation orders through phone calls and social media, firefighters say the additional tool can help save lives. 

Neighboring cities like San Francisco and Oakland have such systems. UC-Berkeley has alerts in place for its campus.