Climate change has created a new wildfire reality in California and socially vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by devastating wildfires, earthquakes and other disasters. Listos California is a new effort to boost disaster preparedness by engaging a statewide network of community-based organizations, CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams), Listos, AmeriCorps NCCC, veterinary organizations, Fire Safe Councils and management teams to ensure the state’s most vulnerable are ready when disaster strikes.
“We need more focus on building resiliency within California’s most vulnerable communities for the destructive and deadly wildfires ahead. We’re empowering non-profit organizations and emergency responders to work together to prepare for emergencies because California is at its best when we look out for each other,” said Governor Newsom.
Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, added, “Community preparedness and peer-to-peer networks can literally save lives and help our first responders during and after a disaster.”
The Governor appointed Karen Baker as the new Senior Adviser for Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness at Cal OES. Baker explained that the campaign will connect over one million of the most socially vulnerable Californians with culturally and linguistically competent support through a grassroots, people-centered approach.
“We know that people who are socially isolated or live in poverty, have language barriers, or other access or functional needs challenges, need to be the top priority for preparedness campaigns,” Baker said.
California Volunteers awarded $30 million to expand Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Listos programs, Fire Safe Councils, AmeriCorps NCCC and AmeriCorps Disaster Cadres to deliver culturally and linguistically relevant emergency preparedness curriculum, and to launch a statewide public outreach campaign.
Cal OES awarded $20 million to community-based organizations in 24 counties across the state to provide emergency preparedness education and to support communities.
In May 2019, during the California For All CERT and Listos Preparedness Conference in San Diego, all of the volunteer teams associated with this effort were officially activated to build and expand their local-level efforts around preparedness.