Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


"Civil Emergency Message" Issued for Ventura County; 911 Service Unavailable in Ojai

We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

We're all used to tests by the Emergency Broadcasting System, but, thankfully, rare is the occasion when you hear those sounds, see that screen, and it's NOT a test. That all changed today when I was eating a little lunch and the above image popped up on my TV screen. And it could not have been more nebulous.

What this alert told me was that we were having a "civil emergency." Unfortunately, there was on Page 2 that expanded upon what said emergency actually was.

At this point, I'm pretty sure it's referring to the fact that 911 is not working in Ojai, Oak View and parts of Ventura, and that those needing immediate assistance should call (805) 384-1500. (Update: According to a Ventura County Star article posted at 6 p.m., the lines are now back up and running.)

Support for LAist comes from

More about the alert after the jump.

So, getting back to the alert. There I sat, wondering if it was safe to go outside.

Upon doing some research, I found one online source that stated:

"The Civil Emergency Message (CEM) may be used to announce chemical spills, nuclear accidents, fires, evacuations, road closings, and other similar emergency situations."

That didn't do much to settle my nerves.

A quick search online did bring up a featureon the Ventura County Star's website. According to the article and Ventura County Sheriffs Department spokesman Capt. Jerry Hernandez, callers currently cannot reach an operator when dialing 911 in Ojai, and that calls to other institutions, such as Ojai City Hall and the Ojai Valley Hospital, are also resulting in busy signals.

Though Ojai isn't in LA, it's not too far away, and those traveling in that direction today should take note that they'll need to call (805) 384-1500 if they need to reach emergency personnel.

Update from the Ventura County Star, 6 p.m.

"Phone service, including access to the 911 emergency number, has returned to the Ojai Valley, Oak View and Casitas Springs, authorities said.

The cause was identified as a severed fiber optic cable in the Upper Ojai, according to Ventura County Sheriff officials."

Support for LAist comes from

Hopefully this won't become a growing trend now that everyone's switching over to VoIP...

Most Read