A system that automatically calls cell phones has helped a Southern California school district keep parents and students updated about evacuation decisions. "At some point, we had two-thirds of our district evacuated, and it wasn't like you could count on people having e-mail access or home answering machines working," said Don Phillips, superintendent of Poway Unified School District in northern San Diego County, which was able to contact 33,000 students and parents in less than 40 minutes about a school cancellation decision.

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