December 14, 2020 – As California grapples with the unprecedented twin challenges of wildfires and a global pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) are pleased to announce that Listos California, the transformative disaster preparedness campaign anchored at Cal OES, has surpassed the goal set by Governor Newsom and state lawmakers to engage at least one million socially vulnerable Californians with accessible, in-language and culturally competent disaster readiness information.

Since its kickoff in August 2019, Listos California has looked for new and different ways to reimagine disaster preparedness and reach communities too often left behind in traditional preparedness efforts. Some Listos California highlights include:

Farmworkers Initiative – This first-of-its-kind effort leverages the strong oral tradition prevalent among California’s farmworkers by delivering preparedness information on COVID-19 and natural disasters through print, audio and video in a variety of languages commonly spoken by our essential farmworkers, including Spanish, Mixteco, Triqui, Punjabi, Hmong and others. Partners include United Way Fresno and Madera Counties, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Mixteco / Indígena Community Organizing Project, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa and Movimiento Cultural Indigena.

Social Bridging Project – This is a pioneering public health and safety outreach campaign. By re-engineering tech and tools usually used for voter engagement, Listos California counters physical distancing through direct phone calls to older Californians and others at risk from COVID-19 and natural disasters. Partners include CERT, Department of Water Resources, California Department of Aging and others.

Accessible text and online-based training – Due to limitations of in-person training this year and other barriers experienced by hard-to-reach populations, a cutting-edge text message course encourages people to complete five easy and free steps to prepare for wildfires, earthquakes and floods. By texting “LISTOSCA” to 72345, Californians receive one text message per day over the course of a week in any of these languages: English, Spanish, Filipino, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean and Hmong. A complementary online course offers a free 20-minute interactive online experience.

What Happens to Us? – To help strengthen local relationships, promote empathy and build awareness, Listos California has facilitated meetings between local emergency managers and groups who serve diverse and vulnerable communities. To help ground and kickoff the meetings, this short film was produced to provide a platform for Californians to communicate the barriers they face in getting prepared.

Preparedness toolkit – To make disaster preparedness information accessible and straightforward for the many diverse and vulnerable communities among us, Listos California has created critical resources, guides and tip sheets which include materials specifically for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), people experiencing homelessness and refugees.

Who are the one million + where are they?

As of November 2020, the campaign has prepared more than 1.6 million Californians who are older adults, people with disabilities, those living in poverty, as well as people with language barriers. This outcome is based on the campaign’s strong network of 300+ local partners, an effective public awareness and communications effort, and a statewide strategy that balances local flexibility with accountability. 

Hundreds of thousands of people are now more prepared in the 24 counties across California where Listos California had the strongest footprint, with the majority of engagements based in more disaster prone and highly populated Alameda, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Francisco counties. 

The full county-based breakdown is as follows:

  • Alameda County: 214,781
  • Butte County: 25,037
  • El Dorado County: 30,794
  • Fresno County: 54,068
  • Glenn County: 5,921
  • Imperial County: 55,088
  • Lake County: 41,163
  • Madera County: 4,009
  • Mendocino County: 7,256
  • Monterey County: 18,089
  • Napa County: 31,050
  • Nevada County: 28,795
  • Riverside County: 201,094
  • San Bernardino County: 244,607
  • San Diego County: 250,906
  • San Francisco County: 106,845
  • Santa Cruz County: 12,842
  • Shasta County: 32,829
  • Siskiyou County: 31,592
  • Solano County: 39,044
  • Sonoma County: 32,865
  • Tehama County: 7,254
  • Trinity County: 1,744
  • Tulare County: 9,041

The remaining 120,856 engagements are from Listos California’s service and volunteer teams in counties outside of the main 24 regions, including CERT, AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC, LISTOS, Fire Safe Councils, and the Tribal Emergency Management Association. 

State-led efforts also contributed to this total. Combined, this resulted in 1,607,570 Californians engaged with crucial disaster preparedness information.

Gov. Newsom’s words on Listos California and how Californians must take the free and simple steps to prepare speak to the success of this groundbreaking initiative:

YouTube video

Maximizing state resources

Additionally, Listos California further leveraged the investment of state dollars to harness the important role of community-based organizations to reach 17 million Californians with communication activities intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. Listos California collaborated with the state’s “Your Actions Save Lives,” “Wear A Mask,” and “Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.” public outreach efforts to ensure message alignment with vulnerable groups.

Since launching, Listos California has been leading efforts to shape a new pathway for how the state invests in and works with community-based partners and local leaders to drive awareness of complex issues and motivate behavioral change among hard-to-reach populations.