How to Prepare for the Winter Storm Season

The National Weather Service has forecast above-normal precipitation in the Bay Area this winter, a reminder to check (or build) your emergency kit and review (or create) your evacuation plan. 

“The time to prepare is now, not when the waters are rising and the winds are blowing,” said Shruti Dhapodkar, director of the County’s Department of Emergency Management. 

“We know it can feel a bit overwhelming – yet another to-do list during the holiday season,” Dhapodkar said. “To make it a bit easier, we’ve created a simple step-by-step guide. It’s not much more complicated than figuring out what you would need if you and your family decided to hunker down at home for a few days.” 

Sign up for SMC Alert
SMC Alert is San Mateo County’s primary alert and warning system that can contact you by text, email or phone. Alerts may include life safety, fire, weather, accidents involving utilities or roadways or disaster notifications. Some cities or agencies operate their own alert systems. Search “emergency alerts (with your city or area).” 

Check or build your emergency kit. 
Keep flashlights, extra batteries and extra blankets handy, as well as a can opener, medicine, first aid supplies and a fire extinguisher. Also, stock up on nonperishable foods, such as dry cereal, nuts and protein bars. Try to stockpile at least one gallon of water per person a day for three days. abounds with information in multiple languages, with tips on creating low-cost kits. 

Know your zone and make an evacuation plan. 
Public safety agencies throughout San Mateo County use Genasys (formerly known as Zonehaven) to communicate areas that are being evacuated due to fire or other emergencies. 

Areas of the county are assigned a specific short code – a zone. All residents can enter an address to find their zone. These zones will be pushed out via emergency alerts, County social media platforms and the news media in the event of evacuation orders or other emergencies. 

Steps you can take to prepare your home. 
Before the rain starts falling, clean out gutters and downspouts. Turn off automatic watering systems. 

If you live in a multi-family building, have a plan for how to evacuate and where to meet your loved ones.  Learn your building’s layout and evacuation plan — most buildings post an evacuation plan in common areas that lead you to safety. Get to know multiple escape routes in case the closest one is blocked in an emergency. 

If the power goes out, never heat your home with a camp stove, oven or charcoal-burning device. 

Additional Information: 
When filled and stacked correctly, sandbags can redirect a low flow of coursing water away from your home, garage or garden. Various local agencies offer a limited number of free sandbags. Some offer free bags and sand and require you to fill it yourself. 

County residents in unincorporated areas may pick up pre-made sandbags (limit 15) free of charge. Find out where to pick up sandbags, both in unincorporated areas and cities. To find out if you live in an unincorporated area, enter you address in the “Find Your District” search function. 

11/22 – San Mateo County Native American Heritage Month Gathering


We invite you to join Supervisor Corzo and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity & Equity‘s Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative for our first San Mateo County Native American Heritage Month gathering on Wednesday 11/22/23 in Redwood City at 9am. Please see the flyer for additional information.

To learn more about Native Indigenous People’s Initiative, visit

Funding Opportunity to Boost Equity

Funding Opportunity to Boost Equity: County Seeks Applications in Key Service Areas


The County of San Mateo announced the release of Measure K funding opportunities to provide services for residents in three priority areas: children, families and seniors; emergency preparedness; and housing and homelessness.
“The Board of Supervisors is looking for bold, innovative ideas,” said County Executive Mike Callagy. “This is not about business as usual. This is a great opportunity to make a real difference, to boost equity and to improve lives here in San Mateo County.”

Applicants can be nonprofit organizations, private businesses or joint ventures (individuals are not eligible to apply). Entities of any size are encouraged to apply.

The County anticipates approximately $35 million will be available.

Learn more at our November 10th Pre-Proposal Meeting and Technical Support Session:
November 10, 2023, 10:00am | Agenda | Meeting Link:

11/12-11/18 – United Against Hate Week

United Against Hate Week in San Mateo County is coming up! 

On November 14, Supervisor Pine and Supervisor Canepa will present a Proclamation to the Board of Supervisors to proclaim November 12-18, 2023 as United Against Hate Week. Created as a response to white supremacist rallies in Berkeley and San Francisco in 2017, United Against Hate Week is a call for local civic action to stop hate and implicit biases that are a dangerous threat to the safety and civility of our communities.  

By participating, the County of San Mateo wants to assure its residents and visitors that our community welcomes and celebrates diversity and inclusion. We, as a community, reject hatred, prejudice, racism, sexism, bigotry, bullying, or violence in any matter toward any individual regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, immigration status or country of origin. Let’s stand together in solidarity and ensure the message is clear – we reject hate of any kind and believe that building a safer and more equitable world starts by working together – working united. We value all residents!   

Participate in the following key events to honor United Against Hate Week:  

November 12: Please join the movement by displaying the “San Mateo County Stands United Against Hate” poster within your work, school, or any other location throughout the county. Take this small but mighty action to help spread the word and stand united within our community. 

November 14: You are invited to join in a Unity Walk on Tuesday, November 14th @ 4pm (approximately 15 minute walk around County campus) to show our commitment to inclusion, equity and diversity – Standing United Against Hate! The walk will be ADA-accessible and sponsored by the Board of Supervisors and County Executive Offices (see flyer for details). 

To learn about more events happening around San Mateo County, as well as access resources like “United Against Hate” posters and coloring pages, please visit our webpage here.  

Fill out the “I Stand United Against Hate Because:” flyer attached and send a photo to for a change to be featured on their social media.  

For information on how to respond to hate, click here

11/20 – 2023 Transgender Day of Remembrance

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), we invite the community to join us at San Mateo Public Library on Monday, November 20, from 4:30-6:30pm.

TDOR has traditionally been about honoring the trans people who have been murdered simply by being themselves (the highest number are Black Transgender women). We want to honor victims’ lives with dignity and end the stigma that trans and gender diverse people face. Ultimately, we want to live in a world where transgender people are protected and safe from transphobia and violence.

This year’s event includes an Altar, Reading of the Names, and a Call to Action. Creating change is difficult; especially when we mourn those who have lost their lives simply for being themselves. We want to honor those who have died and also create ways for our community to learn and take action to eliminate the murder of transgender people. Transgender Day of Remembrance is adjacent to United Against Hate Week 2023. Learn more on the County’s website about how you can take part in other activities throughout the week from November 12-19. 

Register for the event here.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance event is a collaboration between several community organizations around San Mateo County. Please visit each group’s website to learn more about how they support the LGBTQIA+ community. This is where “ally” becomes a verb and we all take part in creating inclusive spaces at home, at work, and at school.

12/7 – MHA Friendship Center Holiday Party

The Mental Health Association of San Mateo County Friendship Center invites you to their Holiday Party on December 7 in Burlingame! The MHA Friendship Center is a safe and inclusive environment for adults with mental illness. The Center conducts community-based activities and events that provide a sense of belonging and, for many, an extended and caring family. The annual Holiday event is a special occasion for our community to come together, so please invite your family and friends! There will be a catered meal, music, dancing, raffle, photo booth, and gifts for all in attendance, so please RSVP accordingly. We hope you can join us!

Date: Thursday, December 7, 11am – 2pm 

Location: Burlingame Community Center (Sequoia Room), 850 Burlingame Ave. Burlingame, CA 94010 

RSVP Requested: 650.722.7385 or 

For more information about the Mental Health Association of San Mateo County and the Friendship Center, click here.

Voices of Recovery San Mateo County has Moved!

As of Monday, October 30th, Voices of Recovery San Mateo County (VORSMC) has moved locations from Belmont to 650 Main Street, Redwood City. For hours and more information, email them at

About Voices of Recovery San Mateo County:
Their mission is to create peer-led opportunities for education, wellness, advocacy and support services for individuals seeking long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs. VORSMC aims to equally share these opportunities with our vulnerable community members in San Mateo County.  

VORSMC is for every individual seeking and maintaining long-term recovery, including family members, friends, allies and community partners and recovery stakeholders. 

More info on their website here.

Interested in Being a Health Ambassador for Youth? Join us!

StarVista’s Health Ambassador for Youth (HAP-Y) program seeks to train youth ages 16-24 to become Health Ambassadors. The trainings cover common challenges in mental wellness, signs and risks of suicide, suicide prevention, and how to access mental health services. Trained Health Ambassadors become community agents who help raise awareness and help increase access to behavioral health services through information sharing and/or providing referrals when appropriate. In addition, Health Ambassadors have the opportunity to represent HAP-Y in community events such as presentations, outreach events, and trainings.

Participants can receive community service hours or internship hours in collaboration with their academic institutions.

In addition, a completion bonus of $700 is distributed to those who complete the program. The program accepts applications on an ongoing basis.

Learn more about the program and find the application here.

For more information, contact:
Kassandra Chavez, Program Coordinator at | (650) 554-1257

11/7 – San Mateo County Coroner’s Office Annual Presentation

Join us for the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office Annual Presentation! Throughout the year, the Coroner’s Office investigates circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent, and unnatural deaths, including suicide deaths, in San Mateo County.  

The Coroner’s Office is presenting to the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee, covering topics including introduction to the Coroner’s Office, death investigation process, death review teams, recent data and shared resources with descendants.  

Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2023 
Time: 1:30-3:30pm Pacific Time 
Virtual Location: 

Please help us spread the word, as everyone is welcome to attend. Come grab a virtual seat and get informed! 

If you or someone you know is struggling with an emotional distress or suicidal crisis, contact our 24/7 crisis hotlines: 
Call 650-579-0350 or 988 
Text “Bay” to 741-741 or 988 

If you want to learn more about suicide prevention resources, visit

Flyers: (PDF) | (PNG)

Health Ambassadors Make a Strong Presence at 2nd Annual Pink Patch Party

For San Mateo County’s second annual Pink Patch Party, organized by the San Mateo Police Department, downtown San Mateo was transformed with an abundance of pink, symbolizing unity and support for those affected by breast cancer.  This year’s event was a heartwarming display of solidarity with families, local businesses, public servants, and friends coming together in support of breast cancer awareness. Notably, BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity‘s Health Ambassadors played a pivotal role in the event’s success.

Local organizations and businesses set up booths, offering community members resources and services related to health and wellness, with our Health Ambassadors highlighting valuable behavioral health and recovery resources. Additionally, free mammograms were provided, and collectible uniform “Pink Patches” were sold to raise money for breast cancer research as well as to fund self-care “battle baskets” that provide comfort to those newly diagnosed.  

This event goes beyond the display of pink patches; it embodies a steadfast commitment to those affected by breast cancer and the importance of mental health and well-being.  The Health Ambassadors contributed to this event in a variety of ways including:

  • Health Education: Providing attendees with vital mental health educational materials as well as self-care and wellness tools.
  • Community Engagement: Engaging with the community and fostering meaningful conversations and connections, and sharing lived experiences of courage, strength, and resilience.
  • Resource Connectors: Connecting community members to a wealth of wellness, behavioral health, and recovery resources within the county.
  • Promoters of Inclusivity & Stigma Reduction: Emphasizing the commitment to promoting inclusivity and equitable access to health care services and resources.

The Pink Patch Event is a profound demonstration of community strength and the crucial role of health ambassadors in creating a healthier, united, and inclusive San Mateo County.  Beyond this event, the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity, through its Health Ambassadors, remains committed to ensuring the well-being of our diverse community.

To learn more about the county’s Health Ambassador Program and be part of a team dedicated to empowering our community members for a healthier and more equitable future, visit:

Written by Isaiah Cajbon (he/him) and Maria Martinez (she/her), BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity

« Older Entries