San Mateo County approves resolution seeking to expand emergency alert system

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution today encouraging the county's Office of Emergency Services to expand its current emergency alert notification system to a greater number of residents.

Supervisor David Canepa introduced the resolution in partnership with San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and the county OES to implement a new state law, Senate Bill 821, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September.

The law allows counties to access resident contact information via a public utility with the sole purpose of enrolling them in a public emergency warning system.

Currently, only about 10 percent of county residents are signed up for SMC Alert, the county's alert notification system administered by the county OES. Residents would have the option of opting out of the system once enrolled.

"I'm proud that San Mateo County will be the first in the state to adopt this protocol," Canepa said in a statement. "During the state's deadly wildfire season, we heard too many times that residents felt they did not have adequate access to information that could have saved lives."

The utility that San Mateo County would use to access the contact information has not been determined, according to Bill Silverfarb, a legislative aide to Canepa.

The protocol will ultimately have to be approved by the county OES, a joint powers authority overseen by a the Emergency Services Council, a board consisting of representatives from the county and each of its 20 cities.

Residents who want to sign up for the alerts can go to