Resources for victims of Northern California fires
Wildfire continue to ravage California. Here are some important links that can help you during and immediately after a wildfire. Click on the links for the most current information. As information changes, we will update information, so please return to my website to see what’s new. If there is anything we can do to help, please contact the closest district office to you.
This can be an extremely stressful time, even after a fire. If you find yourself overwhelmed and experiencing anxiety or depression, please reach out for help. See our section on Counseling/Mental Health Support below.
Take care and be safe, Assemblymember Jim Wood
Santa Rosa (707) 576-2526
Ukiah (707) 463-5770
Eureka (707) 445-7014
Table of Contents
- Fire Summary
- Banking Issues
- Communication Tools
- Community Information
- Counseling/Mental Health Support
- County and City Information
- Debris and Ash Removal
- Drinking Water Safety
- Electricity and Gas
- Federal Assistance
- Food Assistance
- Fraud Protection
- Insurance Coverage
- Law Enforcement Updates
- Lost Documents
- Medical Care
- Pet Relocation
- Property Tax Relief
- Road Conditions
- Search for Family & Friends
- Small Business Assistance
- Temporary Housing
- Unemployment Assistance
Fire Summary--Cal Fire is overseeing the management of fighting most wildfires. Go here to see the latest information on the fires, containment, evacuation orders and more. You can also check your local city and county websites (listed below). Cal Fire Statewide Information on Wildfires
Banking Issues--Bank of America says you can contact their Client Assistance Program at (855) 729-1764. During the wildfires in 2017 they offered personalized financial assistance ranging from waived fees on accounts and credit cards to temporary payment forbearance plans on home loans. They also encouraged downloading their secure Mobile App to use online banking.
Communication Tools--WhatsApp is a phone app that provides secure messaging and calling for free (data charges may apply) and it’s available on phones all over the world.
Community Information--Nixle is a Community Information Service that helps you stay connected to the information that matters most, depending on your physical location. You can stay connected to your local police department, schools and local community agencies and organizations by only providing your zip code. What is Nixle?
Counseling/Mental Health Support--During and after a wildfire can be an extremely stressful time, so please reach out for help if you or someone you know are experiencing anxiety or depression. Here are some immediate resources for Sonoma and Mendocino County. You can also call one of our district offices for additional resources.
Debris and Ash Removal--Authorities warn the public not to remove debris and ash from their homes or burn sites. Hazardous materials are present. https://www.sonomacountyrecovers.org/debris-removal/ and https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/fire-recovery/debris-removal
Drinking Water Safety-- Use this website to find out more information on the safety of your water supply in Sonoma http://www.scwa.ca.gov/fire/ and
Electricity and Gas--PG&E has information on power and gas outages and procedures for re-establishing service. They also have information on how to ensure that the person who asks to enter your home is an authorized PG&E representative. PG&E Information for People Affected by Wildfire
Federal Assistance--Funds from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be available to help individuals rebuild, repair and replace housing and other personal property not covered by insurance. Individuals who were impacted by the fires should apply for FEMA assistance. You can apply in the following ways:
- Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov; www.disasterassistance.gov/es (link is in Spanish)
- You may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
- Visit a Local Assistance Center
Food Assistance--Redwood Empire Food Bank is providing food to shelters and those in need in Sonoma County. See what they can do to help you and what you can do to help them if you are able. Redwood Empire Food Bank
Fraud Protection--The National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice and various law enforcement and regulatory agencies to form a national coordinating agency within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to improve and further the detection, prevention, investigation, and prosecution of fraud related to natural and man-made disasters, and to advocate for the victims of such fraud. https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud
Insurance Coverage--The Department of Insurance is providing information to remind renters and homeowners policy holders about evacuation relocation coverage they may have. DOI Reminds Policyholders about Evacuation Coverage
The Insurance Information Institute provides two links you may also find useful in the claims process:
We also have a list of many insurance companies' contact telephone numbers if you are unsure how to reach your insurance company. Please call one of our district offices for information.
Law Enforcement Updates--Mendocino County Sheriff’s Facebook page is updating regularly on the status of the fire and also provides resources, including streaming of any news conferences. Mendocino County Sheriff Facebook Page. Sonoma County Sheriff’s Facebook page provides similar information. Sonoma County Sheriff Facebook Page.
Lost Documents Replacement--If you’ve lost important documents or identification in the fires, many can be replaced. You can learn more about how to replace these common documents by contacting them directly:
California Driver’s License: 800-777-0133; Visit a California DMV office to complete an application. Replacement license forms must be delivered in person.
Green cards: 800-375-5283; www.uscis.gov
Medicare cards: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778; www.ssa.gov/medicare
Military records: 866-272-6272; www.archives.gov/contact/
Passport: 877-487-2778; 888-874-7793 (TTY); https://www.travel.state.gov
Social Security card: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778; www.ssa.gov
U.S. Savings Bonds: 844-284-2676; www.treasurydirect.gov
U.S. tax returns: 800-829-1040; www.irs.gov
Medical Care--Kaiser is providing information about where its members can get care, obtain prescriptions and more. Kaiser Information for Patient Care
Sutter Health was forced to close the Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and 11 other outpatient clinics (10/10/17). All 70 patients from the Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital were safely transferred to other area hospitals. Please visit the Sutter Health Website to get updates on closure and re-openings or you can call 866-961-2889.
Partnership Health Plan along with the State of California will administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers. They are providing information to patients in the fire areas. Partnership Health Plan Information to Medi-Cal Patients in Fire Area
Medications--During this emergency, pharmacies are authorized to refill prescriptions without renewed contact with your physician. In addition, for new health needs, we encourage people to contact their primary care provider. Help with Medications
Pet Relocation--Petaluma Animal Services, Wine Country Animal Lovers, the Sonoma Humane Society, Compassion Without Borders and the Jameson Rescue Ranch and a host of other nonprofits, businesses and animal-loving individuals, are working day and night to keep displaced pets fed, hydrated, housed and comfortable.
Property Tax Relief--he Board of Equalization provides information on when and how you can obtain property tax relief when your home if affected by a disaster. Property Tax Relief
Search for Family & Friends--Red Cross has a site where you can let family and friends know that you are safe and you can also look for loved ones who you have lost communication with. It's called Safe & Well. Safe & Well Registration Site
Small Business Assistance—Small Business Administration (SBA) loans may also be available to individuals and businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, inventory and supplies. After registering with FEMA, businesses and homeowners that would like to apply for SBA loans can do so online at: Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance
Telecommunications--We recommend using text to communicate whenever possible. Because many cell towers were destroyed by the fires, more people are tapping into fewer towers. Text requires less "energy" than cell calls. Telecom companies are waiting for permission to go into damaged areas to install temporary towers. If you are having trouble finding family or friends, here is a hotline number for Sonoma County (707) 565-3856.
Temporary Housing--SHARE Sonoma County has created temporary home sharing for those who have lost their housing due to the recent fires. They have received many calls from those offering rooms. Most are temporary placements, but some can be more long term. They currently (10/10/17) have over 40 home providers offering housing. Please contact them if you can provide temporary housing or volunteer. Contact info: SHAREFire@petalumapeople.org or (707)765.8488, ext. 126.
Here is a source for hotels and other housing options from the Sonoma County Lodging Association
For 30 days after a disaster emergency is declared, it is unlawful for a person to sell or offer a hotel room for a price more than 10 percent above the price charged immediately prior to the declaration. (California Penal Code 396)
Unemployment Assistance--Employment Development Department has information on how to apply for unemployment during a disaster. Disaster Unemployment Assistance Information