Pandemics, Wildfires, Earthquakes, Floods – Five Steps Californians Need to Know to Prepare for Disasters

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Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Listos California is a grassroots campaign anchored at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal/OES) to build a culture of disaster preparedness across the state. Research commissioned by Listos California reveals that 88% of Californians are aware of the need to prepare but many don’t because they are scared (66%), feel it’s too expensive (61%) or don’t have time (54%).

Speakers in the EMS conference on July 23 shared information on what could be free, easy and life-saving steps to take now for possible future disasters as well as one key step to stay safe in the COVID-19 pandemic.  Speakers from Listos California provided a snapshot of the campaign’s efforts along with representatives from Cal/OES and the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom provided timely information about COVID-19 and several major news announcements.

The Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign is an effort based on an investment of public funds by Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers, to ready our most vulnerable populations for disasters like wildfires, earthquakes and floods, and now public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, before disasters strike.

With a focus to boost community resilience through disaster preparedness, Listos California advances levels of equity and authentic community engagement by putting people at the center of this work.   Listos California has been reaching members of California’s Latin, API, African-American and other communities of color credibly and in language.

Justin Knighten, Co-Chair, Listos California Campaign & Advisors, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal/OES) spoke on the importance of the campaign. “If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to get ready for other emergencies that could also impact our vulnerable communities,” said Baker’s co-chair, Justin Knighten. We partner with over 200 organizations to empower people who have been hard to reach, or socially isolated all across the state by giving them the right type of support to safeguard themselves, their families, and their communities from the next disaster.

Karen Baker reaffirmed the five keys to preparedness. Baker explained that the campaign will connect over one million of the most socially vulnerable Californians with culturally and linguistically competent support through a grassroots, people-centered approach. “We know that people who are socially isolated or live in poverty, have language barriers, or other access or functional needs challenges, need to be the top priority for preparedness campaigns,” Baker said.

“Taking care of each other, showing courage when it matters most, is what we do in California.” The Listos campaign has also built hazard maps for every county in the state to understand where vulnerable populations lie in relation to potential hazards.

We have also translated the preparedness curriculum into seven languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, and Mong. Listos California is reaching the communities in need with a data-centric approach that eliminates guesswork and delivers results.  Karen introduced the text tool, text LISTOSCA to 72345 to get details on the campaign in all Listos CA languages. Embracing technology has been instrumental in fostering a new culture of preparedness among vulnerable communities.

This campaign has built deeper ties to nonprofit organizations that have direct relationships to the populations that need to be reached.

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