Author Archives: Audrey Davis

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. 

11/12-11/18 – 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

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.

Housing Heroes Event Honors Community Members and Partners

There were lots of smiles, hugs, and shout-outs at last week’s 16th annual Housing Heroes event! It was a full house at the Redwood Shores Library and Supervisor Warren Slocum said it was the largest crowd there’s ever been! Speakers and recipients discussed the importance of stable housing for maintaining emotional and overall health and emphasized housing as being a cornerstone in the process of recovery. Award recipients included community partners who have shown exceptional leadership in providing and maintaining housing for community members. For many, these efforts were especially significant this past year given the devastating impact of the tragic shootings and winter storms on the coast. We got to hear from community members who expressed gratitude and appreciation for the meaningful, life-changing services and connections that the San Mateo community has provided and fostered. Shoutout to BHRS’s very own Mariana Rocha, Kelsey Dattilo, Lee Harrison and the many others who were involved in making this event a success! 

2023 award recipients:  

  1. Half Moon Bay Landlords: Sydney-Billig Tyler- Parker, Rod Chittenden, David Cresson, Kathy Caloca, Paul Rogerville, Ralph Ely, Paula Bennett, Jim and Cynthya Wilkinson 
  2. Judith Guerrero – Coastside Hope Executive Director 
  3. Marina Hernandez– Client Services Director at Pacifica Resource Center 
  4. Honorable Carole Groom – Housing Leadership Award 
  5. Navigation Center: Including LifeMoves, Human Services Agency, Board of Supervisors and County Executive 
  6. Jeffery Edgerton – Bridges to Wellness Care Navigator 
  7. Corina Rodriguez & Puente Community Development Team 
  8. EverWell Health System – Enhanced Board and Care 

NAMIWalks Event Recap

Here’s a look at the NAMIWalks event from this past Saturday, October 14, at Seal Point Park! Can you find yourself (or your dog) in the photos 😊? NAMIWalks goal is to promote awareness of mental health and reduce stigma, to build community and let people know they are not alone, and to raise funds for their mission to provide free mental health advocacy, education, and support. We were there to support our communities and had two resource tables: ODE and OCFA! This year’s Walk had over 620 participants and raised $239,725, exceeding the goal by nearly $40,000! Even though the event has passed, you can still donate to NAMI through our BHRS team page and support NAMI’s mission of achieving “Mental Health for All”. Here are three of their suggestions on how to put the “Fun” in Fundraising (complete list attached):

11. Collect loose change! You won’t believe how quickly it can add up. Check your car, purse, etc. Or start filling a 16 oz. water bottle with dimes. When it’s full, you’ve raised $100! 

26. Cookie Tasting: Invite your friends and family to a cookie tasting party where everyone brings their favorite cookie. Charge an entrance fee and provide a prize to the favorite recipe. Serve milk and hot cocoa to complement the treats! 

30. Pet Birthday Party: Similar to a birthday fundraiser for yourself, you can host an online birthday fundraiser for your pet. Or take it up a notch and host an in-person party and ask for donations in lieu of gifts!