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Events & Exercises

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The County of Sonoma, Department of Emergency Management will conduct community-specific alert and warning and evacuation exercises throughout the County and invite Sonoma County residents to participate. These exercises will provide public safety departments an opportunity to practice alerting an area using the Hi-Lo sirens, test the County alerting system, and residents can practice evacuating and leaving their neighborhood area.

The County of Sonoma, City of Santa Rosa, and the National Weather Service will conduct an emergency alert and warning exercise on August 17. The exercise includes a countywide test of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio alert system as well as targeted alert tests of the Sonoma County Alert System (SoCoAlert) in Santa Rosa.

The SoCoAlert exercise will let emergency officials compare how two alert and warning system providers perform in reaching residents in two designated Santa Rosa evacuation zones.

Starting at noon, the exercise will test the Non-Weather Emergency Message system, sending alerts to anyone in Sonoma County who has a NOAA Weather Radio, as an auxiliary alerting system.

SoCoAlert messages will be sent to addresses within the City of Santa Rosa’s Montecito Heights and Fountaingrove 2 designated evacuation zones. One zone will receive alerts via CodeRED, the County’s provider. The other neighborhood will receive alerts via Everbridge, which is an alert provider that the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) is considering and has made available to Sonoma County to test as part of a pilot program.

  • At 1 p.m. a live alert will be launched in the Montecito Heights zone using Everbridge.
  • At 1:15 p.m. a live alert will be launched in the Fountaingrove 2 zone using CodeRED.

The SoCoAlert system records receipt/non-receipt automatically and County  Department of Emergency Management staff will use the data from that to do their analysis.

What you can do

Residents are encouraged to register to receive SoCoAlerts and learn more about how they work and why they are crucial in an emergency or disaster. Residents who are not registered may still receive an alert in the form of a call because the SoCoAlert database also uses phone numbers from utility records and other public sources. Subscribers to SoCoAlert could get an alert via text, a phone call or an email, depending on their account settings.

All Sonoma County residents who own a NOAA Weather Radio should make sure their device is plugged in, with backup batteries installed, and set up per the radio manufacturer instructions. If you are a resident of unincorporated Sonoma County with a NOAA weather radio, be aware that a test alert will be sent at noon to your radio receiver.

Residents of the two alert zones in Santa Rosa need to make sure their phones and other devices will let them know when an alert is sent.

  • In addition to registering for SoCoAlert, you can program the alert phone number (866-419-5000) in your cell phone so you will recognize and answer the call.
  • Make sure your cell phone’s sounds are turned on.
  • Be aware that airplane mode or “do not disturb” settings will prevent you from hearing an alert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management conducts smaller-scale tests periodically throughout the County over the course of the year. We only do one large-scale test per year, and we rotate that location every year.

  • Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management
  • Santa Rosa Fire Department
  • Santa Rosa Police Department
  • Fountaingrove homeowners’ association
  • Montecito Heights homeowners’ association
  • National Weather Service SF Bay Area/Monterey
  • The Sonoma County Alert System (SoCoAlert) exercise will let emergency officials compare how two alert and warning system providers (CodeRED and Everbridge) perform in reaching residents of two areas east of Highway 101 in Santa Rosa.
  • The exercise also will be a live test of the Non-Weather Emergency Message system to ensure the system is fully functional, as well as to educate the public about NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radios as an auxiliary alerting system. The Non-Weather Emergency Message portion of the exercise will be broadcast to all of Sonoma County.
  • The public will know more about alert and warning capabilities and limitations.
  • Residents will sign up for SoCoAlert.
  • Residents will learn about the value of NOAA Weather Radios and how to obtain a radio.

The two areas in Santa Rosa — the Montecito Heights and Fountaingrove 2 designated evacuation zones — were picked because they have similar geography and demographics so that we could better compare the effectiveness of the two systems.

  • SoCoAlert (Sonoma County Alert System) alert and warning messages will be sent to assess the capabilities of two available alert and warning system providers — CodeRED and Everbridge — to reach residents of Sonoma County and identify gaps in those capabilities.
  • CodeRED is the County’s current alert system provider. Everbridge is a provider being made available by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to test as part of a pilot program.
  • The Non-Weather Emergency Message system will be used to send a message to ensure the auxiliary alert system is fully functional. The message can be received by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radios. The Non-Weather Emergency Message portion of the exercise will be broadcast to all of Sonoma County. The transmitter is on Sonoma Mountain, which means some parts of the county will not receive the alerts.

If you haven’t, register for SoCoAlert. Only residents who live in the two designated evacuation zones (Fountaingrove 2 and Montecito Heights) will receive the SoCoAlert messages on August 17. You may receive an alert if you are not registered with SoCoAlert, but registering will help keep you and your family safe in the event of an emergency and allow you to receive alerts in a variety of ways.

Make sure your phones and other devices will let you know when an alert is sent.

  • In addition to registering for SoCoAlert, you can program the alert phone number (866-419-5000) in your cell phone so you will recognize and answer the call.
  • Make sure your cell phone’s sounds are turned on.
  • Be aware that airplane mode or “do not disturb” settings will prevent you from hearing an alert.

Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). The Non-Weather Emergency Message system also will be used to send a message to ensure the auxiliary alert system is fully functional. The message can be received by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radios. The Non-Weather Emergency Message portion of the exercise will be broadcast to all of Sonoma County.  The transmitter is on Sonoma Mountain, which means some parts of the county will not receive the alerts.

  • As this will be a live test, to prevent the chance of confusion or misinterpretation of alerts causing panic, the only message sent will clearly identify itself as a test alert and will not attempt to convey any information regarding a threat of disaster or actions to be taken.The NWR warning alarm will sound one time, then be followed by a short test message, and then a closing alarm tone. This test message will be transmitted as a Civil Emergency Message and the words “Civil Emergency Message” may scroll across the NWR displays of compatible radios. The NWR test cycle will play through only one time.
  • TEST TEST TEST The following message is transmitted at the request of the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management. This is a test of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm signal in support of Sonoma County. No action is required. Repeat. No action is required. This has been a test of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm signal in support of Sonoma County. We will now resume regular programming. TEST TEST TEST
  • For the NOAA Weather Radio portion of the exercise, you can call or email the Department of Emergency Management to report receiving or not receiving the message via your radio and offer other feedback. You can call 707-565-1369 and leave a message. You can email info@socoalert.com. Please include where you live.
  • For alerts sent to the Fountaingrove 2 and Montecito Heights zones, the SoCoAlert system automatically records whether or not the alert was received. County Department of Emergency Management staff will be using the data from those records to do their analysis. If you live in the two areas, you are welcome to provide feedback about the exercise using the same phone number and email.

There are two exercises planned for 2021. Information specific to each exercise date and community is in the sections below.

Why Participate? This is a great opportunity for you and your family to practice evacuating your home and neighborhood. It also helps familiarize you with your local roads available for evacuation. For public safety agencies, it provides a safe environment to practice evacuating residents using those routes and exercise our SoCo Alert notification system.

When: Saturday, June 19 at 9 a.m. PDT

Where: Camp Meeker & Occidental area residents will practice evacuating and travel to the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, located at 282 S High St, Sebastopol

Who can participate: Residents of Camp Meeker and Occidental area neighborhoods are welcome to participate! Be sure to register to receive the alert of when the drill starts.

If you are a resident and would like to participate in the drill:

  1. Fill out the registration form online. The contact numbers you provide are for this drill only. Registration is encouraged to receive the alert for the drill and fully participate.

 

Registration closed

 

2. Make a print of the area roads map and draw out your own evacuation routes. Think about roads that you might not normally use everyday.

3. Make note or print the information below so you can reference it on the day of the drill.

What to Expect on Drill Day – Saturday, June 19th

  1. On the day of the drill, you will receive a SoCo Alert on your phone announcing the beginning of the drill and an exercise message. The phone number will come up as: (866) 419-5000
  2. Practice as if this were a real emergency by immediately evacuating your home and go to the Meeting Location which will be at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts (282 S High St, Sebastopol). From Bodega Ave, turn onto Jewell Ave, left to Willow Street, then left to S High St. Signs will be visible to direct you.
  3. At the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, you will be given a survey with general questions about your evacuation planning and about the exercise. Survey will close Monday, June 21 at 12PM

 

Complete the survey online 

 

  1. To prepare for future emergencies, please sign up for SoCoAlert. Filling out the Drill Registration form will NOT sign you up for SoCo Alert.

Please be aware there will be increased traffic on roads including Public Safety vehicles that may be using the Hi-Lo emergency sirens. Please be aware of the increased traffic for your safety and the safety of others.

 

If you have any questions, please call Jorge Rodriguez at 707-565-6095 or email at Jorge.Rodriguez@sonoma-county.org.

Why: The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize residents with local designated routes for evacuation; safely practice evacuating residents using those routes; exercise our SoCo Alert system to notify participating residents and facilitate residents to register for the County’s alerting system.

When: Saturday, June 5th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00am PDT

Where: Fitch Mountain Community

Who: Permanent and seasonal residents of the Fitch Mountain Community

If you are a resident and would like to participate in the drill:

  • Registration has now closed
  • Registration is required in order to receive the alert for the exercise and fully participate (the contact information you provide will be for this community exercise only).
  • Registration period will end on Thursday, June 3rd (two days prior to the event) so please make sure you register on time!

SoCo Alert

  • To prepare for and be notified of future emergencies, please sign up for SoCoAlert
  • Filling out the exercise registration form will not sign you up for SoCo Alert.

Event map and Sequence

  • Familiarize yourself with the map below, which shows the exercise footprint, evacuation routes to be used and assembly point for this exercise. You may wish to print this map to reference it on the day of the exercise.
  • On the morning of, registered participants will receive a SoCo Alert notification on their phones prompting them to evacuate to the designated assembly point.
  • A Hi-Lo siren will also be employed by a public safety officer to alert participants of the start of the exercise.
  • Participants will evacuate using the following designated evacuation routes:
    • From N. Fitch Mountain Rd: continue onto Powell Ave., turn right on Healdsburg Ave. towards the assembly point.
    • From S. Fitch Mountain Rd: continue onto Matheson St., turn right on Healdsburg Ave. towards the assembly point.
  • Upon arrival at the assembly point, participants may wish to stay longer and debrief about their experience, fill out a quick survey and engage with several community preparedness partners who will be in an outdoor setup with information and resources to hand out.

Assembly Point

Online Survey

Complete the survey online 

 

Completar la encuesta en línea

COVID-19 and other considerations

  • This exercise will comply with the County’s COVID-19 public health protocols throughout this exercise.
  • All participants must wear mask/face covering and practice social distancing when not in their vehicles.
  • Due to the nature of this exercise, it is advised not to bring your pet animals to the assembly point. However, we strongly encourage participants to take advantage of this exercise to think about/practice gathering the essential pet items needed in the event of a real evacuation.
  • Participants should take this exercise seriously. Please don’t wait until the last minute to evacuate as it will defeat the purpose of this exercise.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Richard Diaz at Richard.Diaz@sonoma-county.org

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Absolutely. We hope to continue this Community Evacuation Drill program and will plan additional drills in the future.

Fitch Mountain

  • Fitch Mountain Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies (COPE)
  • City of Healdsburg
  • City of Healdsburg – Police Department
  • City of Healdsburg – Fire Department
  • Cal FIRE
  • American Red Cross
  • North Sonoma County Community Emergency Response Team (NoCo CERT)
  • Horses and Livestock Team Emergency Response (HALTER)
  • Sonoma Community Animal Response Team (CART)
  • Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management
  • Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office

Camp Meeker/Occidental

  • Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management
  • Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cal Fire
  • Fire Safe Occidental
  • Fire Safe Camp Meeker
  • Camp Meeker Volunteer Fire Department
  • Occidental Fire Department
  • Gold Ride Fire Protection District
  • Sebastopol Police Department
  • Sebastopol Fire Department
  • We will strengthen collaboration among response agencies and community partners participating in the exercise planning.
  • After the exercise, residents will be asked to complete a survey so we can learn what worked, the experience of evacuating, and where we need improvement related to evacuation preparedness.
  • We will conduct an after-action review following the drill where we will highlight lessons learned.
  • The exercise team will prepare a narrative report summarizing what was done to organize the drill, lessons learned and recommendations for corrective actions to be taken.
  • Sonoma County Alert and Warning System (SoCo Alert) to notify residents.
  • Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office will also use the Hi-Lo sirens in neighborhoods as part of the exercise.
  • These communities have a high risk of being impacted by a wildland fire.
  • They have an active, organized community group that help facilitate the exercise planning.
  • The local COPE (Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies) group as well as Fire Safe Councils and residents support emergency preparedness which has been demonstrated in their engagement throughout this exercise planning process; they have been a critical link between exercise organizers and the residents.
  • Evacuation helps first responders meet their primary response priority – Life Safety!
    • All other response objectives must wait until the life safety concerns have been mitigated.
      • Life Safety
      • Property Conservation
      • Incident Stabilization
    • Early evacuation clears roadways so first responders can work to save homes and property and control the incident.

 

  • The recent fires in the state are evidence that our residents are in increasing danger from wildfire. Fires are larger, faster moving and burning in more inhabited areas.
  • If a large, wind-driven wildfire were to impact the County, residents may need to evacuate.
  • This also gives residents a chance to participate traveling their evacuation routes and become more familiar with their neighborhood.

Calendar of Educational Events & Exercises

Full schedule of evacuation exercises and community preparedness events.
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