County releases evacuation zone maps
By Heather Bailey, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, May 26, 2021
On May 21, the county of Sonoma released official evacuation zone maps designed to help residents be ready for an emergency that may require them to evacuate their homes.
The county is establishing standardized evacuation zones for Sonoma County. In the past, evacuation zones were different for each incident. Now, zones will remain the same and residents are urged to learn their evacuation zones and be ready to go when an evacuation order is issued. The maps show evacuation zones for unincorporated areas in Sonoma County as well as most of the incorporated communities.
“With wildfire season upon us, these official evacuation zone maps are an essential part of doing everything we can to make sure our families and neighbors are safe if disaster strikes,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in a statement. “We all need to learn our zones and know what to do and where to go if our zone is ordered to evacuate.”
To find your zone, go to: https://socoemergency.org/evacuation-map/
On that page, you can also find links to all the individual towns’ and municipalities’ evacuation zone maps.
County emergency officials say that knowing your evacuation zone number is a key element of a disaster preparedness plan. Residents are urged to write down their zone number and consider learning the zones near their residence to help them better understand the level of risk to their property when an emergency arises. It also is important to know the evacuation zone where you work and where your children’s schools are.
During the Kincade Fire in October 2019, for example, more than 190,000 residents in the county eventually were ordered to evacuate their homes.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) was in the process of developing the evacuation zone maps and nearly finished when the Walbridge and Meyers fires hit in August 2020, followed by the Glass Fire a month later. The decision was made to release the draft maps at that time in response to the latest large fire events. Feedback that the SCSO received from the community and first responders after those fires has been incorporated into the final, official evacuation zone maps that are being released today. Evacuation zone numbers in unincorporated Sonoma County now have SON before the number.
Residents also are urged to sign up for emergency alerts to ensure they receive critical updates, including evacuation alerts.
Residents also should make sure they receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). This federal system works exclusively by sending a text message to cell phones, much like an Amber Alert. A WEA message is accompanied by a special warning tone. To activate this alert, residents should make sure their cell phone settings are set up to accept these emergency and public safety alerts.
Emergency officials say everyone should have a disaster strategy that includes an emergency kit and a plan to stay safe and informed as events unfold. More information on getting ready is available at https://socoemergency.org/get-ready/
Evacuation packs are also being distributed by the County through organized neighborhood groups and at County libraries. The packs are available in English and Spanish and include a personal emergency plan template, evacuation checklist and tips for power shutoffs. The packs are being distributed to 10,000 households. For more information visit: sonomalibrary.org/emergency-preparedness
About Sebastopol Evacuation areas
For information about Sebastopol’s evacuation areas, see https://bit.ly/34iXPPB
This article was produced by SoCoNews. See more news at soconews.org