Amid battling COVID-19, Governor Newsom declared another State of Emergency in California as a result of several wildfires burning throughout the state. Evacuations have been ordered in several areas and evacuees are being directed to temporary evacuation points where the Red Cross is assessing needs and trying to find motel rooms for people to stay in. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is making every effort to shelter evacuees in non-congregate settings to minimize the risk of spreading COVID. However, Cal OES reports that traditional shelter will be used if needed but only as a last resort.
Emergency personnel are warning people not to wait, if you live or work near an area that is under an evacuation order you should be prepared to leave. There is no universal alert system in California at this time, but each community has policies and procedure for notifying residents of pending evacuations. One of the best ways to find out what the alert or notification system is in your community is to call you county office of emergency services and ask what their specific alert system is and how to sign up for alerts. Some, but not all, counties also have opt-in programs for people with Access and Functional Needs so it is important to ask if your county has specialized services. If you rely on public transit or paratransit it is critical to have a back-up plan in the event of an evacuation order.
Disability Disaster Access and Resources is a program of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and they have developed a website dedicated to disaster preparedness and recovery. This website has a lot a very good information and resources that are specific and accessible for people with disabilities https://disabilitydisasteraccess.org.
Stay Safe and Healthy!