Emergency Management Division Banner

Disaster Communications

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another. Think about how you will communicate in different situations.  Visit Ready.gov to develop your Family Communications Plan.

How To Get Information In An Emergency
NOAA Weather Radio
How To Use Your Home Phone During A Disaster
How To Use Your Cell Phone In A Disaster
Other Considerations
If You Are Lost

    How To Get Information In An Emergency


    • KTVU Channel 2
    • NBC11 Channel 3
    • KRON Channel 4
    • KPIX Channel 5
    • KGO Channel 7

    ↑ Back to Top


    • KZST 100.1 FM
    • KSRO AM 1350
    • KCBS AM 740
    • KBBF 89.1 FM (Spanish)


    Emergency Dial 911

    • In California, most 9-1-1 calls from a cell phone go to a CHP central dispatch that may be located far away from your location.  Oftentimes, this number is very busy and long hold times are not uncommon. 
    • Program the seven digit emergency reporting number for the local 9-1-1 dispatch center into your cell phone to get a quick local response.


    In Sonoma County the seven digit emergency reporting numbers are:

    Fire/Medical: REDCOM at 576-1371
    Law Enforcement: Sheriff at 565-2121
      • City police departments will also have a seven digit number for cell phone users to call.
      • Recently, some local jurisdictions have been upgraded to automatically receive 9-1-1 cell phone calls at their local dispatch centers.  This means that if you are within city limits when you make a 9-1-1 call, it will go directly to the local dispatch center, not CHP.

      ↑ Back to Top

      NOAA Weather Radio

      NOAA Weather RadioNOAA Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day and is provided as a public service by the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The NOAA Weather Radio network has more than 425 stations in the 50 states and near adjacent coastal waters.

      A NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) provides instant access to the same weather reports and emergency information that meteorologists and emergency personnel use - information that can save your life!

      We recommend purchasing a NWR equipped with a special alarm tone feature that will sound an alarm and give you immediate information about life-threatening situations.  The hearing and visually impaired also can get these warnings by connecting weather radios to other kinds of attention-getting devices.

      During an emergency, National Weather Service forecasters interrupt routine weather radio programming and send out the special tone that activated weather radios in the listening area. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards - both natural (such as earthquakes) and technological/man-made (such as chemical releases or oil spills).

      Working with other Federal agencies and the Federal Communications Commission's Emergency Alert System, NWR is an "all hazards" radio network, making it the single source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information.

      Depending on where you are in Sonoma County, you should be able to pick up one or more of the following frequencies on your NWR:

      AreaSAME #NWR Trans.Freq.Call SignWatts
      Sonoma006097San Fran.162.400KHB49330
      Marin006041San Fran.162.400KHB49330
      Mendocino006045Point Arena162.550KIH301000

      National Weather Service - NOAA Weather Radio

      ↑ Back to Top

      How To Use Your Home Phone During A Disaster

      • Be persistent, yet patient, as call volumes generally increase during emergencies.  If calls do not immediately connect or if you hear a fast busy signal, realize the network is operational – though crowded.
      • Limit your calls to your critical emergency contacts and try to be brief.  If there is no power, there will be fewer lines available than usual, so leave them open for emergency calls.
      • Your phone call is more likely to be connected if you are calling someone outside the local area code.  There will be limited capability to connect calls within the local area code.  This is why we ask you to preplan an out of area emergency contact, preferably out of state.
      • If there is no tone when you attempt to dial from your line, wait, as you may get connected as lines become available.  When you do get one, the tone will last for a much shorter time – be ready to dial the number immediately.
      • When the power is off your cordless phone won't work.  Nonetheless, the phone jack may have power from the local phone exchange to operate.  Any phone without a 110V plug will work when plugged into an operating phone jack.  Therefore;
        • Have a phone you can plug into a phone jack that you can use for calls.  You can pick these up cheaply at a yard sale or thrift store.
      • Phone companies rely upon battery power back up when the power is out, these batteries will only last for a short while.  Batteries and backup generators can be disrupted, especially in an earthquake, so find out if there are any ham radio operators living in your neighborhood that may be able to help you reach your pre-identified emergency contacts.

      ↑ Back to Top

      How To Use Your Cell Phone In A Disaster

      • When power goes off, most cell phone towers only have battery backup power.  Without power at the towers, there will be no cell phone reception.
      • The cell phone network still ties into the traditional landline phone system.  If the local system does not work, cell phones will not be able to complete a call.
      • Cell phones require antennas that are precisely aligned to connect calls.  After an earthquake, these antennas may be moved and/or damaged and not functioned as designed.
      • Text messaging may still work and can be a good way of getting information out, even if you cannot call and talk.
      • When using a wireless phone, wait at least 10 seconds before redialing a call.

      Information stored on cell phones:

      • Program ICE (In Case of Emergency) as a contact on your phone.
        • First responders may look at your cell phone for the “In Case of Emergency” phone numbers that you have programmed.  They may use this information to notify your loved ones if you are unable to do so.
      • Cell phones can be used to hold a lot of information useful to you, even if the phone cannot connect with another phone.  Some examples are:
        • Make sure your preplanned emergency contact number is programmed on your cell phone, and all of your family members cell phones
        • It should be a separate listing; don't presume that in a disaster people are going to remember which person they are supposed to call
      • Location of your local meeting place (near your home), regional meeting place (in case of evacuation) and out-of-state meeting place
      • Seven digit emergency phone numbers of local fire and police departments
      • Non-emergency numbers of local fire and police departments
      • Glasses prescription
      • Name of any medicines, prescription numbers, and the pharmacy you use
      • Insurance agents numbers, policy numbers
      • Bank account numbers, but keep passwords separate
      • Any food or medical allergies
      • Shelter in place information
      • Emergency day care contacts
      • Recent pictures of loved ones and pets
      • First aid and CPR instructions
      • or any other useful info you can store in your phone

      ↑ Back to Top

      Other Considerations

      • Have coins for pay phones, or a charge card which can be used for pay phones.  Pay phones are considered essential service numbers and receive priority when lines are limited.
      • Have a prepaid disposable phone which can be used in an emergency.
      • Consider traveling with a hand crank or solar charger to recharge your cell phone.

      ↑ Back to Top

      If You Are Lost

      • Limit phone use to preserve power.
      • Leave phone on when you think people may be using it to find your location.
      • Using cell phone as a flashlight quickly drains its power, but may be used when you hear helicopter flying over.

      ↑ Back to Top

      Contact Information

      Christopher Godley

      Director of Emergency Management

      Department of Emergency Management
      Business Hours
      Monday – Friday
      8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
      2300 County Center Drive
      Suite 220 B
      Santa Rosa, CA 95403
      38.46229, -122.725377

      Sign up for Local Alerts for Local Emergencies

      Learn More about SoCoAlert

      SoCo Alert

      Get local alerts when you need them. Smart phone apps are available.


      Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative

      The Bay Area UASI is a regional program that provides financial assistance to improve the Bay Area's capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist incidents or related catastrophic events. Projects facilitated by the program enhance regional capability through regional collaboration and efficient allocation of funds available.


      Sonoma County 2-1-1

      2-1-1 Sonoma County is an information and referral center that connects people quickly and effectively to community, health and disaster services through a free, 24/7 confidential phone line and searchable online database.


      Sonoma County Public Safety

      Sonoma County agency contact information and links.

      Public Safety Information