Conflicting California Mudslide Warnings Were Issued, Report Shows

In the days before mudslides devastated California neighborhoods, officials released conflicting evacuation orders that left some hard-hit neighborhoods out of the warning zone, a newspaper reported.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office had posted on its website and on Facebook a list of voluntary and mandatory evacuation areas for the coastal town of Montecito, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The many uses of drones

Drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), are rapidly gaining the attention of virtually every industry as a means of gaining greater efficiency in operations and reducing costs.

Drone use has grown exponentially over the past few years, following development of drones for personal and commercial use. Because the use of drones has grown so rapidly, it has been difficult to keep up with the opportunities they offer to industries, including the insurance industry.

Calif. Debris Removal Presents Health, Environmental Risks

Last week, Santa Barbara, California suffered 20 casualties, countless injuries and millions of dollars in property damage due to the unprecedented mudslides that tore through the city of Montecito. Search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of the phenomenon, which was caused by the heavy rains washing away ground laid bare by the Thomas Fire in December 2017. The resulting millions of pounds of debris left behind present biological and environmental risks to the area. Returning residents have been warned to protect against potentially hazardous chemicals and untreated sewage that were swept along with the mudslide debris. Meanwhile, where all this mud and debris will be moved to presents another dilemma.

California proposes stronger laws to help wildfire survivors with insurance claims

California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and legislators from wildfire-damaged communities across the Golden State unveiled a series of new laws designed to strengthen consumer protections for wildfire survivors making insurance claims who struggle to recover, rebuild, and move forward.

California Mudslides: Residents Commit to Rebuilding

At the end of a heartbreaking week that saw deadly mudslides kill at least 20, residents of Montecito gathered to grieve, pay tribute to victims and commit to rebuilding their cherished community on the Southern California coast.

Mourners lit prayer candles and left flowers as a makeshift memorial for the victims after shedding tears, hugs and prayers during the vigil over the weekend outside the Santa Barbara County courthouse.

Does Effective Emergency Preparedness Need to Start with Local Businesses?

When a major storm rolls into an area, there are often numerous citizens who believe the storm will be dangerous. Then there’s the second camp — the more dangerous camp — who may not believe the storm will be all that intense and do not effectively prepare themselves for the storm.

For emergency managers, people who are unprepared for emergencies creates a number of problems. For instance, lack of citizen preparation creates dangerous situations for public safety employees.

These local residents may not believe they need to prepare, because they think that they will still have access to numerous resources during a disaster. Social scientists often pinpoint this type of behavior to determine whether there is a behavior pattern that can be altered.

Emergency managers have long posited that more education helps individuals to know how they can effectively prepare for a disaster. But education often only goes so far — it does not take away the need for disaster preparation.

California Mudslide Victims ID’d as Crews Continue Survivor Search

The oldest victim swept away in a California mudslide was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.

The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.

As their names and those of 14 other victims were released Thursday, crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

The number of reported deaths from the mudslide has reached 17.

“At this moment, we are still looking for live victims,” Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said. But he confessed: “The likelihood is increasing that we’ll be finding bodies, not survivors. You have to start accepting the reality of that.”

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