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Jason Snell for Macworld
October 20, 2017 10:23 AM PT
This week I’ve been in Chicago for a conference, and people keep coming up to me to ask if I’ve been impacted by the horrible fires ravaging the Bay Area this month. Fortunately, beyond all the smoke in the air making it hard to breathe outside, my family has been unscathed. But just a couple dozen miles to the north, whole neighborhoods have burned and people have lost their lives.
One story that stuck with me last week was about the president of Sonoma State University and her husband, who narrowly escaped the fire when they were awakened by their home smoke alarm and discovered that their entire neighborhood was on fire.
As everyone gets smartphones and drops their land lines, it’s become increasingly complicated to get the word out when an emergency strikes. Emergency authorities have the ability to make mass calls to land lines in a geographic area, but it’s harder to collect information about cellphones.