Sonoma County has experienced a number of disasters over the past several years including floods, earthquakes, power shutoffs, a pandemic and wildfires. The County’s alert and warning systems have grown to notify residents of an emergency in their area early and accurately. Many alerts require individual’s opt-in, below are links to sign-up and information on additional warning systems.
Sign up for alerts
The County of Sonoma strongly recommends subscribing to the following alert and warning systems:
SoCoAlert – Upon signing up for SoCoAlert, select to receive alerts through landline calls, cell phone text messages or pre-recorded verbal messages and email. The system also works with telephone devices for the deaf.
Nixle – Receive email and text messages from local fire and law enforcement agencies that include public safety messages as well as emergency information.
Text your zip code to 888777 to opt-in or sign up online to receive email or text messages with alerts and advisories.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio – This alert system is available for purchase at a relatively low cost. When properly programmed, the National Weather Service can remotely turn on these radios and send basic alerts, including for wildfire. The message may be accompanied by a warning tone, depending on the model of radio you purchase.
Sonoma County residents may tune their NOAA radio to:
County of Sonoma Frequency 162.475
Northwest Sonoma County Frequency 162.550
Southwest Sonoma County Frequency 162.475
If you are deaf or have hearing loss these radios have add-on equipment such as strobe lights and bed shakers. An instructional video regarding how to set up this weather radio is provided below:
Alerts that do not require subscriptions
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) – This federal system works exclusively by sending a text message to your cell phone, much like an Amber Alert. A WEA message is accompanied by a special warning tone. To activate this alert, make sure you cell phone settings are set up to accept these emergency and public safety alerts.
Emergency Alert System (EAS) – The system sends messages to local radio and television stations who may broadcast it. An EAS message is typically accompanied by a special warning tone. Find out what local stations are part of the EAS, so you know where to go for the latest information.
Hi-Lo Sirens are modifications to existing law enforcement patrol cars. When activated, this distinctive two-tone siren acts as a warning notice by an officer attempting to alert you of danger.
Sebastopol Evacuation Maps
As part of ongoing efforts with the County of Sonoma, Sebastopol now has evacuation maps. You can find links on the Fire Department page of the City's website.
Sebastopol City Limits - Evacuation Map (Enter your address in the top right search bar to find your evacuation zone.)
Sebastopol Addresses Outside City Limits - Evacuation Map (Enter your address in the top left search bar to find your evacuation zone.)
Assemble an emergency supply kit
Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. Plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time. Each person should have a readily accessible emergency supply kit.
See readyforwildfire.org for more information on building an emergency supply kit.
Sebastopol area time bank - building community one hour at a time
Sebastopol Time Bank is a network of local residents who help each other by sharing their skills and talents on an hour-for-hour basis.
Virtual orientations are held by appointment and on the 10th of each month at 5pm. To register or receive more details email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water conservation tip of the week
Water savings are urgently needed. See the City's Water Conservation page for actions you can take to reduce water usage and check out these indoor and outdoor water conservation tips from the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership.
Here's this week's tip to help you reduce your water consumption:
• Run the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads only. Running the dishwasher only when full can save 2 gallons per day and washing only full loads of clothes can save 15 gallons per day. It's critical that we all do our part to save water.
Want to volunteer at the cafe?
A variety of roles are available from serving lunch to seniors, setting up for lunch service, helping with dishes, meal prep, and much more. The ideal volunteer is able to commit to one 4-hour shift per week. Volunteering is proven to have benefits including improved quality of life, stronger social networks, increased levels of physical activity and even lower mortality rates.
For more information or to apply to become a volunteer, visit www.sebastopolseniorcenter.org/lunch-at-harvest-cafe. Or call Gerald Lowe, Food Program Manager, at 707-827-8431. Proof of COVID-19 vaccine is required.
Health Officer strongly recommends outdoor masking in school settings
The Health Officer strongly recommends outdoor masking for all students and staff at public, private, parochial and charter schools across the county.
This recommendation is based on the high incidence of COVID-19 currently being experienced in our county and the increase in transmissibility of the Delta variant.
Masking in the school setting is already required indoors and the added level of protection of masking outdoors will help minimize the spread of COVID 19 on campus as well as enable students to stay in school and have the fewest possible interruptions to in person learning.
Outdoor masking increases the likelihood that a student who is exposed can remain in school. In the event that there is an exposure to COVID 19 if all parties are masked, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) recommends that the exposed student may remain in school under a “modified quarantine.” Mask on mask exposures allow students to remain in school as long as they remain without symptoms and agree to undergo twice weekly COVID 19 testing. According to the CDPH guidance, unvaccinated exposed students can remain in school but must adhere to the quarantine order while outside of the school setting.
If students need a mask break, the Health Officer recommends that they socially distance themselves while the mask is off during the break.
This recommendation from Sonoma County Public Health is meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while supporting much needed in person instruction.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends mask use because of evidence showing the effectiveness of face covering in two ways. For infected people, masks reduce the risk they will infect another person. For people who are not infected, wearing a mask reduces the risk they will be infected, even if someone around them is spreading the virus. Because the risk of transmission between two people is lowest when both are masked (“mask on mask”), universal masking is regarded as the safest policy. CDC also recommends masking in outdoor settings for people who are unvaccinated and in sustained close contact with other people (e.g., playground activity). The American Association of Pediatrics echoes CDC’s recommendation and supports universal masking on school campuses to protect unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and reduce transmission, recognizing a significant portion of the student population remains unvaccinated either because of personal choice or ineligibility.
To maximize effectiveness, masks should be worn to cover the nose and entire chin, preferably pinched snugly around the nose and the sides of the face. A mask can be made of cloth, fabric, or other breathable material, but it should not have holes. N95 masks are not recommended for children.
Health Officer strongly discourages overnight field trips in all school settings
The Health Officer strongly discourages overnight field trips for all students at public, private, parochial and charter schools across the county.
This recommendation is made based on the high incidence of COVID-19 currently being experienced in our county and the increase in transmissibility of the Delta variant. As we continue to see widespread transmission particularly among households who live in close proximity, the goal is to limit settings which approximate households where individuals are in close contact with each other.
This guidance is subject to change based on the release of updated guidance governing field trips, overnight field trips and extracurricular activities by California Department of Public Health.
Health Officer strongly recommends surveillance testing in all school settings
The Health Officer strongly recommends weekly surveillance testing for all students (both vaccinated and unvaccinated).
This recommendation is made in light of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, which is more contagious, may cause more severe illness than previous strains and is now dominant in the United States and California. Surveillance testing allows for early identification and isolation of infected individuals and thus mitigates the spread of the virus on campus, enabling more students to remain in the classroom overall. This recommendation builds upon the State requirement that all unvaccinated school workers undergo regular testing regardless of symptoms. Because of the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant, surveillance testing is also encouraged for fully vaccinated staff.
The Health Officer understands that adoption of this recommendation is dependent on several factors including staffing and resources. In situations when weekly surveillance testing is not feasible, it is advised to test as frequently as possible. For example, schools may opt to test all students every ten days or every other week, 25% of the student body every week or 50% every other week, etc.
Any FDA-approved COVID-19 tests will be effective (PCR or antigen); however, there are some situations when positive antigen tests should be confirmed with a PCR test and an individual should isolate while awaiting those results. SCPH does not recommend using a second antigen test to confirm a positive antigen test. If students are tested less often than once weekly, a PCR-based test (NAAT) is recommended.
SCPH continues to strongly recommend surveillance testing of sports teams (athletes, coaches, referees) with weekly PCR or twice-weekly antigen tests. For high-contact sports, proof of vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours of participation in a game is also strongly recommended.
City Council members hand out Sebasto-pails to Burbank Heights & Orchards residents
On Friday, August 20th, Sebastopol Vice Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney and Councilmember Patrick Slayter visited with residents at Burbank Heights & Orchards and handed out Sebasto-Pails to help with water conservation.
The residents of Burbank Heights and Orchards are serious about water conservation and offered up their own tips for saving water including:
• Use organic/biodegradable soup so you can use your saved water to water outdoor plants
• Wash your dishes with soap (having turned off the water) then rinse all together, saving the rinse water for other uses (plants, flushing the toilet)
• Get a timer for your shower. Cut back to 5 minutes, even less
• Shower less often, not once a day.
• "Don't wash your dishes!"
• Use paper plates that can be composted (Recology accepts paper without any plastic or wax)
• Reduce the water in your toilet tank (in the '70s drought, we put bricks in the toilet tank to take up space)
• Collect your veggie washing/rinsing water and reuse it