Using a newly adopted catchphrase, “If you hear Hi/Lo, it’s time to go,” the Irvine Police Department has debuted a new “Hi/Lo” evacuation siren that will be used to notify residents of an immediate emergency.

The new Hi/Lo siren was demonstrated in a video posted on IPD’s Twitter page on Aug. 26. In addition to the emergency siren, IPD vehicles will also play a previously recorded message in multiple languages that will determine the type of evacuation order: Evacuation Warning, Immediate Evacuation,  Shelter-in-Place and Repopulation.

The new siren is part of Irvine’s “Know Your Zone” public safety campaign that also gives residents updated emergency evacuation routes — that include areas outside the threat of wildfire.

This new evacuation warning system does not replace AlertOC or Wireless Emergency Alerts, but works in tandem.

Robert Simmons, Office of Emergency Services manager for the city of Irvine, said in response to the Silverado Fire, which required more than 90,000 people to evacuate Irvine, the city now has more than 100 evacuation zones.

“Interoperability between public alerting and the virtual map was critically important, as past wildfires had underscored the need for both text and visual evacuation instructions,” Simmons said. “These initial zones were used in the live, online evacuation map during the Silverado Fire to evacuate over 90,000 residents, and notify the public of accessible routes and locations of evacuation centers.”

After the Silverado Fire, the city of Irvine determined, through a city prepared After Action Report, that improvements needed to be made in order to safely evacuate residents efficiently during an emergency.

View Irvine’s updated Evacuation Zone Map here.

Those improvements were defined as, “the need to develop and create pre-established evacuation zones for the remainder of the city and to identify additional ways to communicate evacuation orders to non-English speaking populations.”

“Irvine’s new evacuation map includes 116 evacuation zones,” Simmons said. “In the event of an emergency, the Irvine Police Department will broadcast the new Hi/Lo siren and play a recorded safety message in multiple languages to alert residents of the need to evacuate.”