Public Information in the Event of a Flood or Other Disaster
The City of West Sacramento, similar to other cities throughout the country, is subject to disasters, natural or human-caused. Because the city is almost surrounded by water, the possibility of flooding exists. In order to be prepared for a flood or any other type of disaster, the Police and Fire Departments in consultation with the Washington Unified School District have designed a plan for the coordinated evacuation of all or any part of the City.
The City along with County, State and Federal agencies will work in a coordinated effort to minimize injury, loss of life and property damage. The management of resources and the establishment of evacuation and recovery strategies during a major emergency or disaster require careful planning, coordination and direction. The Police Department is responsible for coordinating the evacuation process. The Fire Department will conduct search and rescue operations and in addition, will coordinate with the Police Department efforts to carry out an effective evacuation.
What is being done to prepare for emergencies, such a flood situation?
Although some emergencies and disasters occur with little or no warning, in many instances, emergencies will be preceded by some sort of build-up or warning period. This provides sufficient time to warn the community and implement measures designed to reduce loss of life, injury and property damage. The City has prepared a flood warning plan intended to provide information on the status of water levels slowly rising in the Sacramento River. The following Flood Stage definitions are being made available to the public to illustrate the steps being taken by City personnel during a slow rising flood.
How will the public be notified of a pending evacuation?
One of the major methods of warning the public of an emergency situation is the Emergency Alert System (EAS) which is designed exclusively for the rapid notification of an emergency situation. Activation is utilized when an anticipated or existent emergency poses an immediate threat to life or property. During any major emergency or disaster it is recommended that residents keep their televisions and radios tuned to one of the below stations. Additionally, a battery operated radio and plenty of extra batteries should be available in the event electrical power is disrupted or lost for extended periods of time.
Emergency Alert Stations for West Sacramento are:
KFBK –1530 AM KCRA Channel 3 KTXL Channel 40
KRAK—1140 AM KCSO Channel 19 (Spanish/Espanol) KXTV Channel 10
KK105—105.1 FM KOVR Channel 13 KQCA Channel 58
KCTC—1320 AM KMAX Channel 31
The City is also a partner with Everbridge which is capable of rapid notification to a specific geographic area or selected population by telephone. In the event of an emergency the system can identify the affected area or selected population by sending a recorded message that describes the emergency and recommends the protective actions residents should take.
The system will automatically call out all AT&T and Verizon land lines within the affected area and deliver a recorded message. If phone lines are busy, the system will attempt to redial those numbers a predetermined number of times to make contact. The system is designed to play the message upon voice activation, such as if an answering machine picks up the call, the emergency message will be left on the machine. To register land lines other than AT&T or Verizon, cell or work numbers, please visit https://member.everbridge.net/index/453003085611271#/login.
Information provided to the public will include, but not limited to the following;
- Description of the emergency.
- Identify the specific area involved.
- Provide instructions to people living in the area directly involved, such as, evacuation routes, cautions, relocation assembly areas and shelter locations.
There could also be public address announcements from helicopters, vehicles driving in the area or door to door notification if circumstances allow.
How will child/infant Day Care and Pre-School centers be notified?
The City has identified those child care and/or pre-school centers having eight (8) or more children under their supervision. The address and phone number of each facility has been assembled. Should the city encounter a slow rising flood or other emergency it will be necessary to provide sufficient warning time to evacuate the threatened population. Volunteer evacuation notices will be given at the Emergency---Stage 4 phase. In addition of notification being made by phone, if possible a personal contact will be made by a police officer to ensure the evacuation process is taking place
Transportation of children at each site, should it become necessary, will be the primary responsibility of the Child/Infant Day Care and Pre-School Centers. In most cases the children will be released to the parents /guardian and removed from the threatened area. The facility’s staff will be directed to transport the remaining children to a pre-determined designated temporary shelter.
Who will be responsible for my child at the temporary shelter?
Children while at the temporary shelter will be under the immediate care and supervision of childcare facility staff. It is the responsibility of the childcare staff member to notify the parents and inform them where the shelter is located. Upon arriving at the temporary shelter, a child care facility staff member will provide the shelter coordinator with the names of all children under their immediate custody. All releases of a child to a parent/guardian will be documented and a copy provided to the City’s Care and Shelter Branch Chief or their designee.
How will parents be notified if their child is in school during the emergency?
Key personnel of the Washington Unified School District (WUSD) will be notified by the Evacuation Coordinator of an impending or actual emergency to insure that information on the emergency conditions are timely passed on to the district’s decision makers. If school is in session, parents will be notified by the school site administrator. The WUSD also utilizes a parent phone call-up system that is capable of delivering pre-determined messages to every student’s household. In the event no one is home, the system is designed to leave the message if there is an answering machine.
If evacuation of public schools is required, students will normally be transported on school buses to other schools outside of the risk area, where their parents can pick them up. It is essential that the public be provided timely information on these arrangements. In the case of a large-scale emergency situation with advance warning, schools will generally be closed and students returned to their homes so they can evacuate with the families.
In the event that flooding or other emergency occurs either in the north or south portions of the city, the WUSD has developed a plan to transport students to sister schools in the unthreatened area. The following identifies schools and in which portion of the City they are located.
Schools North of Canal Schools South of Canal
Alyce Norman Elementary Bridgeway Island Elementary
Bryte Elementary River City High (new)
Elkhorn Elementary Southport Elementary
River Bank Elementary Stonegate Elementary
Westmore Oaks Elementary
The Pre-arranged sister schools are as follows:
River Bank Elementary River City High School (new)
Alyce Norman and Bryte Elementary Stonegate Elementary
Elkhorn and Westfield Elementary Southport Elementary
Westmore Oaks Elementary Bridgeway Elementary
How will special needs adult and elder care facilities be notified?
The City has identified the major Adult Elderly Care Facilities and the address and phone number of each facility has been assembled. If the city encounters a slow rising flood or other emergency, it will be necessary to provide sufficient warning time to evacuate the at-risk assisted living population. Volunteer evacuation notices will be given at the Emergency---Stage 4 phase. In addition of notification being made by phone, if possible a personal contact will be made to ensure the evacuation process is taking place
When the evacuation order is given, those patients having no means of transportation or family members who can remove them from the site will require transportation assistance. The facility has the responsibility of providing those in need with the transportation of its patients to a designated pre-determined temporary shelter. If transportation resources are available, assistance may be directed to the facility and aid in the transportation of non acute care persons to a shelter. The care facility will be responsible for arranging the proper mode of transportation and medical needs for the acute assisted-living patients or those with limited mobility to the appropriate local hospital or alternative like facilities.
Residents who have been transported to one of the City’s established temporary shelters will be under the immediate care and supervision of a care facility staff member. The care facility staff member will be responsible for notify any next of kin and inform them where the shelter is located. Upon arriving at the shelter, the care facility staff member will provide the Shelter Coordinator with the names of all patients under their immediate care. Any releases of a patient will be documented and a copy provided to the City’s Emergency Operations Center.
Where are the City’s temporary care and shelter facilities located?
Public schools within the Washington Unified School District have been identified and designated as temporary shelters and rally points. The schools will be used as pickup sites for residents without transportation and/or a gathering point for families to reunite. Residents who have no place to go will be transported to one of the American Red Cross Shelters in Woodland or Sacramento by means of school and/or Yolo Transit buses or other modes of transportation as deemed appropriate.
What is the City’s plan to evacuate the public in the event of a flood or other emergency?
Evacuation is one means of protecting the public from the effects of a major emergency or disaster by moving people out of the threatened area. The City has prepared emergency evacuation plans designed to deal with emergencies affecting either the north or south side of the City independently or a City-wide emergency. Evacuees will be directed to the designated evacuation routes at specific points. If a decision is made to evacuate, the notification could be made in a number of ways and combinations.
These include helicopters and vehicles with a public address system, local radio and television announcements, the internet, early warning sirens and reverse 911 telephone systems. In addition, a door to door neighborhood canvass could be made, if possible.
What steps are being taken to avoid gridlocks?
Specific routes and instruction will be provided by the most appropriate means. Staff will be assigned to traffic control points. By controlling the volume of traffic, entering at any given point, staff can minimize gridlock, and move vehicles out of the threatened area safely and quickly.
Evacuation maps have been designed to identify the key locations such as temporary shelter locations, staging areas for mass transportation of evacuees and heliports for transportation of the critically injured to local hospitals.
When receiving official warnings to evacuate citizens should heed the warnings and be prepared as possible to leave the threatened area.
What are some of the things I should do before leaving my home?
Gather your disaster supplies kit.
Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages.
Turn off Main electrical breakers.
Turn off gas main on meter
Take your pets along with several days of food for them.
Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
Secure your home --Close and lock doors and windows. Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves, freezers and refrigerators.
Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate immediately. Let others know where you are going.
Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather or heavy traffic.
Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts as they may be blocked.
Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas.
Stay away from downed power lines.
Take your medications with you. Some, like insulin, may need to be kept chilled so have a small ice chest and cold packs readily accessible to pack and go. If you have infants remember their formula and medications.
If I have an additional questions about emergency preparedness, who can I contact for more information?
The City of West Sacramento has prepared a 20 page information booklet titled “Planning for Disaster-The First 72 Hours” and is posted on the City’s Flood Protection webpage. Click here to view the document.
Disaster preparedness information is also posted on the Fire Department’s web page.
When will I be allowed to return to my home?
Re-entry into a hazardous area will be allowed at the discretion of the Emergency Center (EOC). Controlled re-entry protects the public from exposure and injuries and protects unattended property within the vacated areas.
Who will determine when it is safe to return?
Emergency responders will have access to all evacuated areas to facilitate rescue, security and recovery. Additionally, a Damage Assessment Team (DAT) made up of specially trained personnel shall determine the state of damage and threats to public safety from things such as unstable structures, damaged or weakened roadways, downed power and phone lines, contaminants left by receding floodwaters or any other safety conditions that may be detrimental to the public.
This assessment will consider factors such as road access, water levels, availability of utilities and services, such as water and sewer service, search and rescue activities, impeding weather threats, integrity of the levee system, environmental hazards, debris field, and other health hazards.
How will access by residents or business owners to an affected area be handled?
In areas that have suffered damage, access must be controlled to protect health and safety, as well as to protect property from looters in the vacated areas. The Police Department will control access by establishing check points at key locations around the disaster area. After a home has been determined to be safe, a list will be developed and maintained at entry check points. Residents will be required to show identification at the check point to be allowed reentry after their home has been declared safe. Residents may be required to obey a curfew and/or be escorted.
Are you and your family ready?
If a major disaster occurs, emergency responders will be working day and night but the resources available to deal with a wide-spread emergency will be limited. Therefore, you should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a period of at least seventy-two (72) hours. So this is the time to prepare.