Sonoma County looks to expand use of weather radios for emergency alerts

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Looking to boost their ability to notify residents when dangerous wildfires erupt, Santa Rosa and Sonoma County officials are developing a plan to roll out radios and other devices, such as bed shakers and strobe lights, to warn the public when danger is near.

It’s the latest effort aimed at avoiding a replay of 2017, when the fast-moving Tubbs fire killed several people before they could escape their homes.

Two separate grants, one awarded to Santa Rosa in May and the other to Sonoma County in June, will contribute to putting as many as 10,400 weather radios in the homes of local residents before the year is over. The inexpensive weather radios are designed to work even when power outages and downed cellphone towers knock out other means of communication during an emergency, officials said.

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