Sonoma County Failed Spanish-Speaking Residents During Fires, Says Group

Jun 8, 2018

After meeting with the disaster planning team of the county, advocates for better communication with non-English-speaking neighbors posed for a picture at the county administrative offices. From left to right: Linda Evans, Ana Salgado, Susan Shaw, Irma Garcia, Daysi Carreno, Dayren Torres.
Credit KRCB/Steve Mencher

Thursday, a group of activists met with Sonoma County’s disaster planning team.

They presented their findings that October’s fires had uncovered severe shortcomings in the county’s communication strategy. Those who couldn’t speak English, the group says, did not have the same access to life-saving information, especially in the chaotic first moments of the fire. Those problems have continued during the recovery.

News director Steve Mencher spoke with some members of the group who will be presenting recommendations June 11 to the county Board of Supervisors.