Sometimes you run across bills where you say “how is it that they are not doing this already?”
The Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) is something I am sure you are all familiar with, because you all have received an emergency alert on your phone in an emergency. Like a Tornado Warning or a Flash Flood. It scares you to death when the alarm goes off, as intended so as to get your attention. But apparently, Delaware does not use this system to warn residents of any catastrophic release of chemicals or some other toxic substance, like the Croda Ethylene Oxide release, from any of Delaware’s industrial or power facilities, or from the nuclear power plants nearby in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
Delaware still uses reverse 911 notifications to landline phones for environmental hazards, but only 6.5% of U.S. households use landlines as their only form of phone communication. In contrast, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that during the first 6 months of 2020, 62.5% of adults and 73.8% of children lived in wireless-only households.
So Representative Larry Lambert has introduced House Bill 259, which will require Delaware to use the WEA system to notify the public of emergency alerts and requires that the emergency alert system be used when a catastrophic release occurs.
This bill will require the alerts to be sent to mobile phones regardless of whether the user or resident has registered with DEMA to receive the WEA alerts.
|House Bill 259 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Hansen, Gay, Pinkney|
|Current Status: Out of Committee|
This bill is in response to the 2018 incident at the Croda plant near the Delaware Memorial Bridge, was discovered to be leaking an extremely hazardous substance called Ethylene Oxide. The bride was actually shut down for fear that the gas would ignite and cause a failure of the bridge. At the time of the leak, many of the residents had no idea that it was even happening.