Cal OES initiative outlines comprehensive outreach and communications efforts to save lives this winter
SACRAMENTO – Working diligently to keep Californians safe this storm season, California is taking action to protect its communities by announcing an in-depth effort to ensure Californians have the life-saving information they need before, during and after this possible extreme winter season.
As cooler months bring new interrelated challenges to our state, like floods, wind, power outages, mudslides, deep snow and cold temperatures, Listos California, a resilience initiative of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), has a series of resources in 13 languages on storm preparedness, response and recovery to ensure California families can stay safe.
“Winter Storms and climate extremes are a real threat to Californians. Cal OES is taking early action to protect our most vulnerable community members,” said Cal OES Director Nancy Ward. “As uncertain weather heads our way over the holiday season, all Californians should remain vigilant and be prepared.”
Text Message Campaign
In addition, Californians can sign up for the “Storm Season Safety” 5-day text message course through Listos California to learn about what to expect this winter and how you can prepare to keep your family safe. This course is available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Punjabi. Text “CAWINTER” to 20202 via SMS or click here to sign up.
Upcoming Winter Weather
In 2022-23, California experienced more than a dozen atmospheric rivers, impacting nearly every community statewide. This intense deluge resulted in heavy rains, high winds, deep snow and significant flooding for millions of Californians. As the state looks to another impactful Storm Season, there is a predicted chance of an El Niño event developing during the 2023-24 rainy season, including possible heavy snows earlier in the season, with warmer rains later in the season.
El Niño occurs when unusually warm water temperatures along the equator results in areas of the U.S. experiencing severe weather. This typically brings wetter-than-average conditions to California which can result in increased weather events like rain, flooding and snow, among others.
In the Resource Hub, Listos California has developed helpful informational resources in 13 languages to spread the word on this season’s safety tips, including:
- Flyers on preparedness, response and recovery tips for floods, power outages, high winds, cold temperatures, deep snow and mudslides/debris flows.
- A Quick Guide to Safety Before, During and After a Storm
- A Palm Card on finding safe shelter during a storm
- One-pager on safety/vehicle safety
- Dedicated webpages:
- Preparedness resources: https://www.listoscalifornia.org/StormSeason/
- State’s efforts this storm season: https://news.caloes.ca.gov/StormSeason
We all have a part in preparing for the next disaster or emergency. Now is the time to prepare, before the storm arrives, to keep you and your loved ones safe.
- Flash floods can develop very quickly. Be ready to evacuate all people and animals to higher ground if ordered. Have emergency supplies packed in a Go Bag.
- Keep your car gas tank at least half full in case you are asked to evacuate. There may be traffic and delays.
- Never drive around barricades or drive or walk through floodwater. It may be deeper than you think and can sweep you or your car away. Turn around, don’t drown!
- Keep phone batteries fully charged and save your battery power by limiting phone use during an outage.
- Sign up for alerts through your energy company so you can be notified about any energy issues. If you use electric medical and/or assistive devices, be sure to enroll in a medical baseline program to ensure you’re safe if the power goes off.
- If your needs cannot be met during a power outage, plan with caregivers for transportation to a location with power.
- Flying debris can be a killer. Stay indoors or in a sheltered location. Avoid driving if possible.
- Secure any loose items outside that could blow away and cause damage or injury.
- Stay away from trees and power lines, and never go near downed power lines. Avoid anything that may be touching a downed line, including tree branches and vehicles.
- Body temperature can drop to unsafe levels in cold temperatures. Stay indoors as much as possible. If you must go outside, dress warmly in insulating layers, gloves, scarves, socks and a hat.
- Heat your home safely. Do not use stoves, camp stoves, generators or gas/charcoal grills for heat inside your home. The fumes are deadly.
- Know where you will go if your home becomes too cold. You could go to a friend’s house, community center, shopping mall or public library. Check with county emergency officials about warming centers available near you.
- Heavy snowfall can cause power outages and trap you in your home for days.
- Gather food, water and medicine before a snowstorm.
- If you must travel, let someone know where you are going so they know where to search for you in an emergency.
- Find out if your area is at high risk due to steep slopes and runoff, prior mudflows, floods or burn scars from wildfires.
- Mudslides are dangerous even after the rain has stopped. Use caution and remain vigilant for days after.
- Pay attention to weather reports and evacuate immediately if ordered.