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Severe Storm Alert: Support and Safety Tips from CIL

Golden gate bridge san francisco, california.

Press Release

Golden gate bridge san francisco, california.

Severe Storm Alert: Support and Safety Tips from CIL

Beginning this morning, Wednesday, January 4th, a severe winter storm has arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Heavy rains have initiated a Flood Watch across the entire Bay Area, and high winds with gusts between 35 mph – 60+ mph could lead to downed trees and downed power lines; mudslides and landslides are predicted due to already-wet soil, widespread power outages could occur. The impact of flooding and landslides to roadways and transportation is likely. It is critical to us at The Center for Independent Living that our cross-disability and older adult communities have the information and resources they need to be prepared, safe, and resilient during this severe storm

As a Disability Disaster Access and Resources Center (DDARC), The Center for Independent Living’s Emergency Preparedness program is here to support consumers across Northern Alameda County who are being impacted by this severe storm and atmospheric river event. CIL has resources for people with disabilities and older adults who have been displaced from their homes due to flooding or landslides, or who are experiencing sustained power outages due to recent severe rains and winds. 

We’re here to assist—please contact us:

via phone at 510-422-5085 or 510-841-4776 

or via e-mail at emartin@centerforindependentliving.org or DisasterHelp@centerforindependentliving.org. 

We have staff on call from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. during this severe weather. 

Severe Storm Safety Tips

One of the most important safety measures you can take during this severe storm is to minimize any travel on January 4th, between the hours of 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., during the height of the rainfall and high wind.

  • Pack a ‘go-bag’ in case you need to evacuate quickly. Go-bags should include (at minimum): important documents, like copies of identification, insurance, financial documents, emergency contact information, and other important papers; wallet, phone, and phone charger; N95 masks; medications and a list of all prescriptions; important pieces of assistive technology and their chargers; a change of clothing; pet food for your pet or service animal; and a flashlight with extra batteries. 
  • Stay informed. Continue to check local news resources for storm updates, and sign up for AC Alert, the Alameda County emergency alert system. If you need assistance signing up for AC Alert, reach out to CIL’s Emergency Preparedness Program at 510-422-5085 or emartin@centerforindependentliving.org
  • During a flood: if you experience flooding or receive city or county evacuation orders, it’s important to get to higher ground as soon and as safely as possible. If evacuating, disconnect your utilities and appliances in your home if it is safe to do so.
    • Avoid flood waters, as waters as low as 3-6 inches can cause wheelchair wheels to lose their grip, or knock someone off their feet. 
    • Do not enter flooded basements, especially if water covers electrical outlets or if cords are submerged, as there could be electricity in the water. 
    • Never drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
  • During a power outage:
    • If you are experiencing a sustained power outage that is also impacting your health, safety, or ability to use your medical equipment or assistive technology, please contact CIL’s Emergency Preparedness Program at 510-422-5085 or emartin@centerforindependentliving.org
    • During a power outage, keep fridges and freezers closed; do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home; if using a generator, camp stove, or charcoal grill, only operate them outdoors and away from windows in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning; turn off or disconnect appliances to avoid damaging power surges when power returns.
    • If you encounter a downed power line, never touch them and avoid driving over them. Call 9-1-1 immediately to report a downed power line.
  • During a landslide/mudslide: if you suspect an imminent landslide, evacuate as soon as possible; getting out of the path of landslide or debris flow is the best protection.
    • Landslides often happen where they have happened in the past. If you are a hearing person, you can also listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking.
    • Be especially alert when driving, because landslides can be more likely along the embankments or hillsides of roadways. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, or other signs of landslides. 

For information about accessing shelters and emergency housing in your area, please reach out to 2-1-1 (Eden Information and Referral). For residents who need temporary refuge from wet weather, or who are experiencing a power outage, most public libraries in the county are open and have power. Check the hours and location of a public library closest to you!

The Center for Independent Living will continue to issue alerts, as well as safety and preparedness tips, throughout the severe weather this week.

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