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Inconsistent emergency alerts confuse some Santa Barbara Co. residents

Posted at 12:18 PM, Nov 27, 2019

Santa Barbara County residents are asking questions about the emergency alert system following Tuesday night's debris flow evacuation warning.

Some people received duplicate messages, both in English and Spanish, to their cell phones, while others only received the alerts in Spanish and then some did not receive the alerts at all.

Kelly Hubbard, the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management director, says there could be a few reasons why people received inconsistent alerts.

"We don't have control over how those messages go out but what they do is they go to cell towers, so depending on where you are in relation to that cell tower, if you're in a pocket that's maybe in a bad zone for connection to that cell tower, you may not get it. And different carriers receive that messaging differently and push it back out differently," she said.

Officials say the best way to stay informed is to sign up for emergency alerts through

By providing your address, phone numbers and email, emergency managers can send more targeted, accurate alerts based on your location and risk.

All evacuation orders and warnings related to the Cave Fire were lifted Wednesday.