Information on Fires in Sonoma/Napa Counties: How to help, find family members...
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the multiple fires in Sonoma and Napa currently, as many here at HSU have friends and family in the affected areas.
Students who need support during this time are urged to consider contacting the Dean of Students office in Siemens Hall 211 or at 707.826.3504, or Counseling & Psychological Services at 707.826.3236. Staff or faculty seeking support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.
Trying to contact friends or family?
If you are still trying to contact friends and family in the area to ensure their safety, there are a couple different options. Although cell phone calls can be difficult to complete during emergencies, landline phones often have higher rates of success, as do calls during off-peak hours when call volume is smaller (outside of 8AM to 7PM). SMS text messaging also uses far less data than voice calls, and you may find more success texting with your loved ones.
Red Cross has its Safe and Well website up and running, and is registering shelter residents on it, and you can search to see if your family members are in the database yet. You will just need to know your loved one's name and a piece of identifying information - something like a phone number or address.
If your family member has a physical or mental health issue and you need to urgently find your family member, please can call 1-800-REDCROSS to begin an emergency information request.
Facebook also has its crisis center up and running and everyone's encouraged to mark themselves safe via Facebook and to stay tuned to see if loved ones have marked themselves safe as well.
Want to help?
Right now it's essential that all non-evacuees and non-emergency personnel stay off the roads and away from evacuation areas. It's absolutely chaotic in the area and more traffic - even with supplies in tow - is not needed.
Although collecting physical goods and delivering them to the affected area might seem like a good idea, cash is simply going to help do the greatest good with the least effort, at least for now. Donating cash will enable emergency response agencies to purchase exactly what is needed, when it's needed, and avoids the mess that comes with coordinating, sorting, cleaning, and distributing donated goods.
Red Cross is the largest relief organization and one of the most recognizable faces in emergency response, and you can donate to them at redcross.org.
For those looking for other options, some of the best places to donate cash are community organizations, specifically ones that will foster collaboration among numerous agencies. This group, the Napa County Community Foundation, is an umbrella organization founded after the earthquakes there that will work with numerous community groups and will help ensure the money goes to where it's needed most.
There are also numerous fundraising campaigns on various sites, like this GoFundMe. Please be sure these campaigns are vetted before donating.
Otherwise, we would encourage those wishing to donate to do some research and find an organization they feel would be good stewards of their money, using sites like CharityNavigator etc. For example, if you are an animal lover, look at local animal shelters and pet rescue groups working in the area, find one you feel is doing good work, and donate cash directly to that group.
Looking for more information?
Facebook's Crisis Response Center has pages for the multiple fires occurring in the area and connects various group's Facebook pages for up to date information. CalFire's Facebook page is also a good resource.
If you are traveling, please check road conditions with CalTrans.
If you are looking for a shelter, here is the list of open shelters via Red Cross.
Looking to learn more?
It's always a good time to become more prepared for these kinds of disasters, as you never know when they might happen right here at home.
HSU Risk Management and Safety Services is sponsoring "Safety Week" next week, featuring a wide variety of trainings to help you be more prepared, including CPR, first aid, fire extinguisher, and disaster preparedness.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or if you have any further questions.