JACKSON CO, Or.- A Jackson County commissioner candidate is calling for an investigation into the county’s decision not to use the emergency alert system during last week’s Almeda fire.
Unsurprisingly, the Democrat and Republican candidates disagree on the issue. NBC5 News spoke with them both today about how they would handle the situation.
Democrat Terrie Martin lost her family business to the fire. She insists there should be no delay in investigating why the county didn’t use a mass alert warning system.
Republican Dave Dotterrer says a complete evaluation should wait until after things calm down.
“They say this will happen in time and there will be a reckoning and an evaluation. I still have my car packed in my garage with everything I think is important close to me nearby because this could happen today,” Martin commented.
“You don’t need to find the guilty party. You need to hold a dispassionate, rational analysis of what happened,” Dotterrer said.
The emergency alert system interrupts all broadcast television, cable channels, and local radio stations.
An alert can only be sent by Jackson County or Oregon State Police.
The county instead chose to use it’s “Citizen Alert” notification system because it can warn people in a specific area, like Talent and Phoenix, as opposed to the whole county.
That system only works if you’re already signed up for it or have a land line telephone in the affected area.
County officials have said there’s a lot the county can learn about what happened last week. They’re asking the public for patience.
The two candidates are running to succeed republican commissioner Bob Strosser, who isn’t seeking re-election.