During a disaster, 2-1-1 works closely with the County of San Diego's Office of Emergency Services (OES) to provide public information to the community and rumor control and trend analysis to County officials. 2-1-1 also reports community needs that are not being met, and acts as the central communications point for other community agencies and non-governmental organizations.
The County of San Diego responds to emergencies as the San Diego Operational Area (SDOA) comprising the entire area of San Diego County. All requests for mutual aid among governmental jurisdictions are funneled through the SDOA Emergency Operations Center (EOC). That EOC is also responsible to seek assistance from the state, and through the state, the federal government for resources that cannot be provided from within the SDOA.
When a disaster threatens or occurs without warning, the SDOA EOC will be activated at an appropriate level. During Level II or Level III activation, 2-1-1 San Diego will send a representative to the SDOA JIC that is normally located at the SDOA EOC. That representative will provide a face-to-face presence in the JIC, represent 2-1-1 San Diego interests, and relay information concerning JIC and SDOA EOC requirements and activities to 2-1-1 San Diego.
2-1-1's Disaster Response
2-1-1 San Diego will strive to continue to provide appropriate information and referral services during and following a disaster through the following means:
Current facilities will be assessed for habitability and used to the maximum extent possible consistent with staff safety. The facility is currently undergoing extensive hardening to ensure its continued functionality in the case of a disaster. In the event of the facility being uninhabitable, operations will be shifted to one of multiple offsite redundant locations or at-home agents will be activated.
If call volume exceeds the current staff capability to answer, staff will be expanded by extending shifts from 8 to 12 hours and by activating the 2-1-1 Disaster Response
Team (DRT) volunteers. 2-1-1 San Diego also has the ability to offload calls to partner 2-1-1 agencies throughout California and may exercise this if call volume is unmanageable after DRT is activated.
The Resource Center will determine the status and capability of service providers following a disaster and provide updated information. They will also actively search out and document specific emergency-related services that may be temporarily available as a result of the emergency.
Rumor Control activities will consist of identification of potential rumors and trends in calls by the Telephone Center based on caller inquiries and to relay appropriate information to the SDOA EOC through the JIC.
Provide continuing information as specified by the SDOA to non-governmental organizations participating in the response through appropriate means depending on the situation and number of organizations involved.
Maintain documentation of all incremental expenses related to the emergency to substantiate any reimbursement requests or supplemental fund-raising following the emergency period.
When an emergency occurs outside of usual office hours, San Diego Office of Emergency Services (OES) will notify 2-1-1 San Diego of requirements through pre-designated communications means consisting of a 2-1-1 San Diego Duty Manager. When a disaster threatens or occurs, the 2-1-1 San Diego management team will convene as quickly as possible to assess the situation and activate this plan when required. While this plan is activated, 2-1-1 San Diego will organize and operate as outlined in the Roles and Responsibilities discussed in the Disaster Structure section.
In addition to how we serve people in our community every day, we are also the first place to call during a disaster or emergency situation for information. In order to maintain the “2-1-1” dialing code designated to us by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), we must act as the 24/7 disaster information line for our community. This function was tested first when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005; although this was not a local disaster, 2-1-1s across the United States mobilized to assist people in Louisiana as well as people in other states who were looking for loved ones or were interested in volunteering. Again, in October 2007, our disaster response functions were put to the test, this time in the largest scale disaster our County had seen in decades. Since 2007, 2-1-1 San Diego has responded to multiple local and national emergencies of all scales.