Santa Rosa, CA – June 11, 2021 – Residents of the Occidental and Camp Meeker areas are invited to participate in a County of Sonoma evacuation exercise that will take place on Saturday, June 19. The exercise is part of a community-wide effort to prepare for wildfires and other potential disasters.
This exercise will provide public safety departments an opportunity to practice alerting an area using the Hi-Lo sirens and to further test the County’s alerting system. Residents will have the opportunity to go through the process of evacuating their homes and leaving their neighborhoods at the same time as their neighbors.
The exercise will start at 9:00 a.m. Neighbors, community groups, local law enforcement and fire agencies, the City of Sebastopol and the County Department of Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Office are collaborating to make the event possible.
Residents wishing to participate in the exercise must sign up to receive the SoCoAlert when the drill begins. More information about the exercise, including maps and registration form, can be found on the socoemergency.org web site.
“I encourage everyone who lives in Camp Meeker and Occidental to participate. This is as close as you will get to experiencing a real evacuation, including knowing what the sirens sound like,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins, who represents the Fifth District. “Exercises like this are an invaluable opportunity for residents to help emergency managers stage one in a large area that will pose challenges if we need to evacuate it quickly.”
The Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management is identifying high-priority areas within the County and will work with those communities to coordinate evacuation exercises. The high-priority areas face a higher threat due to a number of factors such as thick vegetation and limited access.
“Each time we hold an evacuation exercise, we all learn a tremendous amount—emergency officials and first responders as well as residents who participate,” said Chris Godley, Director of Emergency Management for Sonoma County. “Each area of the county poses different challenges, from vegetation to geography to road capacity. That is why it is so crucial that residents participate, including signing up for SoCoAlert, connecting with their neighbors and routinely practicing their evacuation routes.”
Here’s what will happen on June 19:
- On the morning of the drill, participating residents will receive a SoCo Alert on their phone announcing the beginning of the drill and an exercise message. The phone number will come up as: (866) 419-5000
- Residents should react as if this were a real emergency by immediately evacuating their home and going to their assigned meeting location, which will be at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, at 282 South High St., Sebastopol. Signs will be posted to direct participants.
- Public safety offices will use Hi-Lo sirens and drive through the Camp Meeker and Occidental communities alerting participants of the start of the exercise and to begin the evacuation practice.
- At the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, participants will be given a survey with general questions about their evacuation planning and the exercise.
- Participants are welcome to join public safety agencies and organizations at Ives Park, directly adjacent to the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, where they can receive additional preparedness information.
- Event officials will give brief remarks at Ives Park following the exercise.
If you are a resident and would like to participate in the drill:
- Fill out the registration form online
- Registration is required in order to receive the alert for the exercise and fully participate (contact information you provide will be for this exercise only).
- Registration will end at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 17.
To prepare for future emergencies, all residents are encouraged to sign up for SoCoAlert. Filling out the Drill Registration form will not sign residents up for SoCo Alert.
A similar exercise was held June 5 in the Fitch Mountain community east of Healdsburg. For more information visit: www.socoemergency.org