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CalHHS Emergency Resource Guide

CalHHS Emergency Resource Guide

Please be sure to follow evacuation orders from law enforcement. For life-threatening emergencies, please immediately call 911.

View the Emergency Resource Guide in Spanish.


In an emergency, we all have a responsibility to check on our family, friends, and neighbors, especially older individuals, those with disabilities, and our children. Please take a moment to check-in on each other, especially the most vulnerable among us. We are stronger together.

Older Californians, individuals with disabilities, and those with medical needs are most vulnerable. If they must leave their homes, please be sure they:

  • Have a list of contacts who know them.
  • Have their current medications, and a list of their medications.
  • Have their medical equipment, if possible, including equipment that needs power supply.
  • Have their dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any supplies needed for multiple days.

Personal Emergency Plan

View the Personal Emergency Plan, which is available in Spanish.

If you are supporting people with Access and Functional Needs (i.e. people with disabilities, older adults, children, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals who are transportation disadvantaged), please download the Personal Emergency Plan so that they can prepare and be ready in the event they lose power or need to evacuate. Having a plan is important for any emergency.

For a list of items to include in your emergency supply kit visit, visit the California Department of Public Health’s Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit webpage or see Appendix I and II.

Prescription Drug Guide

View the Prescription Drug Guide, which is also available in Spanish.

If you were unable to evacuate with your medications, a pharmacy should be able to assist you in obtaining your medication. To find an open pharmacy during an active emergency, visit the RxOpen website, which has maps that include open and closed pharmacies.


Crisis Counseling

The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster or emergency.

CalHOPE Warm Line

The CalHOPE warm line connects callers to other people who have persevered through struggles with stress, anxiety, depression—emotions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The peer counselors listen with compassion, provide non-judgmental support and guide you to additional resources that can give hope and help them cope. Call 1-833-317-HOPE (4673) or visit the CalHOPE website.

Friendship Line California

The Friendship Line California is also available to older adults statewide.  It is a free crisis intervention hotline and a warmline for non-emergency emotional support calls for older adults.  It is available by calling 1-888-670-1360. For more information, visit the Friendship Line California website.


The California Department to Social Services has published a Guide for Disaster Assistance Services For Californians and a Guide for Disaster Assistance Services for Immigrant Californians (English and Spanish).

Services for Older Adults

The California Department of Aging (CDA) contracts with and provides leadership and direction to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that coordinate a wide array of services for older adults, adults with disabilities, caregivers and their families. You can locate an AAA in your area by calling 1-800-510-2020; TTY 1-800-735-2929 or visit CDA’s AAA website.

Services for People With Disabilities 

The California Department of Rehabilitation partners with a statewide network of Independent Living Centers (ILC) which provide services for people with disabilities. ILCs provide information and referral, peer counseling and support, individualized advocacy, and during emergency events can coordinate emergency preparedness, emergency assistive technology devices and equipment, and transition services from temporary shelter. You can locate your local ILC through the Find a Service feature on DOR’s website.

The California Department of Rehabilitation also has an Emergency Preparedness Guide/Toolkit available in multiple languages that includes information and emergency preparedness tips for individuals with specific types of disabilities.

The Disability Disaster Access and Resource Program (DDAR) provides support to individuals who depend on electricity for health, safety, and independence. This includes individuals who rely on power to operate life-sustaining medical devices such as CPAP, BiPAP, oxygen, communication devices, and power wheelchairs. Individuals can apply online or by contacting their local DDAR Center.

Services for Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The California Department of Developmental Services contracts with Regional Centers to arrange services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  During any emergency, Regional Center consumers and their families who need assistance should follow the instructions of local first responders and can call their Regional Center’s main phone number for assistance, if their service coordinator is not available. You can look up, by County, your Regional Center online or find it on online. Resources to help you prepare for an emergency can be found in ten languages.

In-Home Supportive Services

Recipients of In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) may receive services from their provider (or from another enrolled provider) even if evacuated from their primary residence. Recipients and providers of In-Home Supportive Services with questions regarding services impacted by a disaster should contact your county IHSS worker. For a list of IHSS offices by County are available online.

Preparing Medical Devices That Require Electricity

For home medical device users, it is important that devices work during a power outage and that you have a plan in place to ensure you know what to do. This completed booklet will help you have an established plan to obtain and organize your medical device information, take necessary actions so that you can continue to use your device, have the necessary supplies for the operation of your device, and know where to go or what to do during a power outage.

People Living in Licensed Facilities or Homes

Facilities and homes licensed by the State of California are required to have emergency plans that include a plan for emergencies, what they will do, where they will go, if necessary, how they will get there, and similar considerations. The people working in these places know what to do to keep residents safe from harm.

If you are concerned about the well-being of a loved one residing in a long-term care facility (board and care, assisted living, skilled nursing), the Statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman CRISIS line is available 24/7 at 1-800-231-4024.

Community & Energy Assistance for Low-Income Households

The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) partners with a network of local agencies that provide a variety of community and energy services to low-income Californians. The federally funded services provided through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help address the emergency needs of low-income households affected by extreme weather events and natural disasters. Local agencies have the discretion to extend additional supports to low-income Californians during a disaster, including additional energy bill assistance, temporary heating and cooling devices, and other supportive services. Find CSBG or LIHEAP services in your area, or call (866) 675-6623.


Health Insurance Coverage

The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) requires California health plans to help victims of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires and flooding, who are experiencing problems obtaining health care services. This could include speeding up approvals for care, replacing lost prescriptions and ID cards, or quickly arranging health care at other facilities if a hospital or doctor’s office is not available due to the disaster. You can download and print the DMHC Natural Disaster Fact Sheet in English and Spanish. Members should first contact their health plans, but if they have problems obtaining services or assistance from a plan, they can also contact the Department of Managed Health Care’s Help Center at 1-888-466-2219 or online at the HealthHelp website.

Medi-Cal is a public health insurance program that provides comprehensive medical, dental and vision care coverage to low-income individuals, including families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and low-income people with specific diseases, such as tuberculosis, breast cancer or HIV/AIDS. You can apply in person at your Local County Office, apply by phone at (800) 300-1506, or apply online at Covered California or California Benefits.

Medicare beneficiaries can talk or live chat with a real person, 24 hours a day, 7 days week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.


Birth, Death, Marriage, and Other Vital Records 

The California Department of Public Health is working with those who have lost vital records as a result of the disaster or emergency. Birth, death, and marriage records should be requested from the county recorder’s office in the county where the event occurred. For a list of county recorders, visit the CDPH website or you may call 916-445-2684; call 711 for Telecommunications Relay Services, or 1-800-735-2929 or visit 711 TRS.

California Office of Emergency Services 

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is responsible for overseeing and coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and homeland security activities within the state of California. The Cal OES website includes information on how individuals and families can prepare for an emergency. For more information, visit Cal OES. CalOES Office of Access and Functional Needs Library for additional resources can be found online.

Appendix I: Universal Wellness Checks Questionnaire

Introductory Questions:

  1. Are you in danger due to the emergency and/or disaster?
  2. What was your last full meal, and have you been drinking enough water?
  3. Are you currently experiencing any physical pain resulting from the emergency?
  4. Have you been injured?

Preparation Planning Questions:

  1. Have you established a support network for yourself?
    1. Who within your support network (i.e., family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, and/or care providers) could assist you in cases of emergency?
    2. What is your plan for communicating with your support network during emergencies?
  2. Have you made an emergency contact list and plan for how you’ll reach your support group and important emergency contacts if communications are disrupted?
  3. In cases of emergency, do you have a plan to stay home/in a facility for at least two weeks or to evacuate?
  4. Do you have an Emergency Supply Kit in the home?
  5. Are you aware of the types of disasters that could happen in your community?
  6. Do you know about local plans for emergency alerts, evacuation, and shelter resources near you?
  7. Are you signed up for alerts and warnings to receive information during an emergency?
  8. What are your needs if the power has gone out in your home/community?
  9. Do you have a plan in place for who will help you if you need assistance evacuating?
  10. Have you signed up for local emergency registries in your area?
  11. Do you require power to operate medical devices or to keep medicines cold? Do you have a backup plan should you lose power?
  12. Have you identified at least two ways out of every room to escape a home fire and a plan for the help you may need?
  13. Do you have an insurance policy that meets your property and disaster coverage needs? If so, do you know where the policy is located?
  14. Have you made a checklist to prepare what you’ll need in your home, car or when you evacuate in cases of emergencies/disasters?
  15. Do you have at least 30 days of medications, canned goods, and extra assistive items such as a cane or eyeglasses should an emergency or disaster situation arise?
  16. Do you have a supply of batteries to back-up power dependent devices?
  17. Have you made a checklist to collect and copy key documents including identification cards, financial, legal, and medical papers you’ll need to help you recover during emergencies/disasters?
  18. Have you made an Up-to-Date List of Medical Information: conditions, allergies, medications, prescription records, doctors, and insurance cards?
  19. Have you informed your support network where you keep your emergency supplies within your home or apartment?
  20. Plan for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting around during or after disaster.
    1. Check with local transit providers as well as with your emergency management agency to identify appropriate accessible options.
  21. Are you on dialysis or other life-sustaining medical treatment? If so, do you know the location and availability of more than one facility that can help you during emergencies/disasters?
  22. Do you wear medical alert tags or bracelets? Can your medical alert device operate if the power goes out within your home?
  23. Do you have a communication disability? If so, do you carry printed cards or storing information on your devices to inform first responders and others how to communicate with you during emergencies/disasters/evacuations?
  24. Do you have a plan for replacing assistive technologies and equipment if lost or destroyed during an emergency?
  25. Do you have service or support animals or pets that would also need assistance during emergencies/disasters? If so, do you have a plan for food, water, and supplies for them and/or where they will go if evacuation shelters do not allow pets?
  26. Do you have a list of the nearest medical facilities, local hospitals, and nearest transportation?

Recovery After Emergencies/Disasters Questions:

  1. Are you able to return home safely after an emergency/disaster evacuation?
  2. Have authorities provided you with go ahead to safely return home?
  3. Have you began working with trusted sources such as The American Red Cross, FEMA, your local government, and your support network to help you recover from the emergency/disaster that has occurred?
  4. Have you documented any property damage for insurance and work with others to remove debris within your home/community?
  5. Have you removed any outdated food or items that may have gone bad while you were out of the home or without power for an extended time period?
  6. Have you notified friends and family that you are safe?
  7. If you are unable to return home, have you notified your support network of where you’re staying and how to reach you?

Appendix II: Individual Disaster Preparedness Tips

Get Emergency Alerts

  • Go to and sign up for free emergency alerts.
  • Sign up for earthquake alerts and information using the MyShake app
  • 2-1-1 may provide important emergency information.
  • Know what disasters could affect your area, which ones could require you to evacuate, and when you might need to shelter in place.
  • Watch or listen to local news for reports on disasters.
  • Radio and TV stations will broadcast important information through the Emergency Alert System. cation 3
  • Find the name and frequency of your county’s Emergency Radio Station at Local Radio Stations for Emergency Alerts.
  • Follow reliable sources, such as your County Office of Emergency Management, fire, and law enforcement agencies on social media.
  • has the latest emergency information,
  • has information about active wildfires, power shutoffs, shelters, and road closures.
  • has safety information for individuals and families.

Make An Evacuation Plan

  • Make a contact list of the people you would want to stay in communication with during an emergency, such as family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others. Keep the list in a waterproof container in your emergency kit.
  • Designate an emergency meeting place ahead of time to reunite with your support network and plan how everyone will get there. Your meeting place may need to change depending on the location of the disaster, so plan for multiple options. Make sure everyone knows where your meeting places are and practice getting to them.
  • Follow the guidance of local authorities.
  • Evacuate early if you need extra time or support to get out.
  • Learn different evacuation routes to leave your community.
  • Have a paper map in case internet and cell services are down and secure a county Evacuation Planning Area Map if one is available.
  • Practice evacuating using the transportation you would take in a disaster and involve the people you would leave with.
  • If you don’t have a car, identify your local transit agency.
  • Be ready to go to your safe place and have your Go Bag of supplies packed.
  • Responders will take all measures to ensure you and your support system remain together, such as family, a service animal, personal caregivers, or your assistive technology devices and supplies.
  • Work with local services, public transportation, or paratransit to identify all accessible transportation options.
  • Know the evacuation routes from your home, place of business, school, neighborhood, city, or area and travel them before a disaster so they become familiar.
  • Tell your support network where your emergency supplies are and consider giving someone you trust access to your residence.
  • If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location of more than one facility.
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your doctor, health care provider, local disability organization, or power utility company about how you can prepare for power outages.
  • Make sure your emergency information states the best way to communicate with you.
  • If you use augmentative communication devices or technologies, keep model numbers, note where the equipment came from (e.g., Medicaid, private insurance, etc.), and plan for how you will communicate if the equipment stops working.
  • In the event of an evacuation, use 2-1-1, the American Red Cross shelter locator, and other local services to find emergency shelters. All government supported shelters in California are designed to be physically accessible.
  • If you have concerns about seeking shelter, please know:
  • Emergency shelters are available to the whole community.
  • California law mandates all public shelters must be accessible.
  • Service animals are allowed inside public shelters.

Create Emergency Kits for a Go Bag and a Stay Box

  • Plan for extended food and water and a week’s supply of medication
  • Patients with special needs must have robust personal preparedness plans, beyond obtaining a basic survival kit. Sufficient medications for one week should be included in their kit, along with relevant medical documentation and contact information.
  • Food and water supplies should account for both the patient and caretakers and should likely be more than is recommended for basic 72-hour survival.

Create a Medical Contact Card

  • In addition to the standard recommendation for a contact card/information, a disaster kit should include detailed medical documentation. A medical information card is the most useful format and should summarize the following information: past medical history by problem, medications, oxygen requirements if applicable, allergies, and physician or specialty clinic contact information, such as dialysis center phone numbers.
  • Nursing home residents should have this contact card maintained and stored by their facility for reference at the time of a disaster.
  • Elderly persons or those with special needs, primarily cared for at home should maintain their own list or have it kept with their disaster kit. In addition, many EMS systems are trained to look for medical information as well as physician orders for life sustaining treatment (POLST) or do not resuscitate (DNR) orders on the door of the refrigerator in the home. A second information document could be kept in that location.

Know and Use Your Networks

  • Patients with special needs should be registered with a broad range of networks. Different types of media can help keep a patient with special needs in touch with their community and resources. Those who require special medical therapies such as dialysis or wound-care should be sure to have emergency call-lists for their clinics or in-home- providers, where they can call to obtain updates regarding access to treatments. Local and regional networks with appropriate referral may also be advantageous.
  • Hospital-based support groups for patients with chronic conditions can be excellent resources for pooling supplies and knowledge in a disaster, but only if their members plan. Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (NERTs) can be of assistance if they know in advance of the special needs of their communities. Patients with medical care requirements should register with their local NERT. Finally, text messaging and electronic media through smart phones is growing in utility.
  • Many state and local governments have text message alert systems, such as NIXLE, to inform the local population of hazards and evacuation plans. Nixle alerts in the app store for cell phones. Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking websites are also a useful platform for government and private agencies to disseminate critical information.

Utilize Telemedicine

  • Patients with chronic conditions, especially those who anticipate difficulty with evacuation and a need to “shelter in place” during a disaster, should ask their specialty providers if there is a telemedicine service to which they can subscribe. Additional electronic equipment and internet access may be needed to participate. Successful telemedicine also relies on a stable electrical infrastructure.

Appendix III: Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist

To assemble your kit, store individual items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that your emergency supply kit should include the following items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • First aid kit
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Masks, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses/contacts and contact lens solution
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work, and cars.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency in your car.