NAPA (KPIX) – Amid concerns over the wine country’s readiness for the next big wildfire, one North Bay law enforcement agency is using the anniversary as a way to promote its new emergency platforms which use both sight – and sound as a way to save lives.

People only moments to get out of their homes safely during last year’s wildfires. The new system aims to get them up, and get them out safely, even faster.

It’s a siren unlike any siren you’ve ever heard which is exactly the point.

“That at very little cost, allows us to drive a patrol car through rural areas along country roads thereby advising people, rapidly that there’s an emergency,” said John Robertson with the Napa County Sheriff’s Department.

It’s a European high-low siren, and effective Tuesday, it could wake you up in Sonoma, Solano or Lake Counties, as well as Napa. If residents hear it, it’s time to get up, check their TV, radio or cell phone to find out what’s going on.

There’s also a visual element to Napa’s new alert system: evacuation tags.

The tags make it easy to see who has evacuated and who hasn’t. That way deputies don’t have to try and get through a gate and go up a long driveway just find out someone has already left. It saves time and possibly, more lives.

“It helps. That time to go able to someone who hasn’t been notified versus where someone has already left, it’s nice,” said Lt. Swift.

The system is relatively inexpensive, and it could make all the difference in situations where seconds count.

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