Oscar Marin, born and raised in Yuba County, remembers many natural disasters—especially the floods in 1986 and 1997.
“I always wanted to work for the public safety sector and primarily stay in this county due to the diverse nature of emergencies that affects our county,” he says.
Currently, he is the Emergency Operations Manager for Yuba County. His background is extensive and he is committed to ensuring residents are prepared and have the tools necessary to stay safe during a flood.
There are many key points for residents in case of a flooding emergency, but the most important is doing things now. “You don’t want to waste time during an emergency situation having to think about what to pack,” Marin says. “That is why planning before anything happens is so imperative.”
In order for Yuba County residents to be prepared, Marin’s advises the following:
- Stay informed and keep yourself updated with the latest forecast.
- Pack a go-bag for each of your family members, including babies and pets.
- Have enough supplies to last at least three days—change of clothes, food, batteries, medications, and important documents, such as insurance information and immunization records.
- Make sure to keep gas tanks half-full at all times.
Marin also suggests having a family communication plan in case you have to leave when you are not all together:
- Where should you plan to meet meet up?
- Do schools, daycares, workplaces have current emergency contact information?
- Choose a relative or friend outside of the area that can be contacted during an emergency to communicate location.
- Have cellphones always charged and ready to use.
- Have a plan for moving those with disabilities and pets.
In addition to this pre-planning, Marin advises securing any hazards on your property before high water strikes. In case of an evacuation, turn off electrical power, gas and water. Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
It’s also critical, Marin says, to make sure you have access to the county’s emergency alerts and warning systems when a flood is imminent. “Yuba County uses the CodeRED notification system to alert residents of emergencies and evacuations.” Notifications are sent via phone to specific zones to indicate evacuation status. Residents “should look up their zone and memorize/write down the number by searching their home address at www.community.zonehaven.com,” Marin says.
In addition to CodeRED, Marin says residents can also stay up-to-date through local government social media, the Yuba County website, and the Sheriff’s door-to-door notification. Also, www.BePreparedYuba.org has CodeRED links, evacuation zone listings, and checklists for packing and creating a communication plan.
“During an emergency, it is not the time to think about what you will need to protect and represent your family and home if you have to evacuate,” he says. “The more you do ahead of time, the more peace-of-mind you will have when a crisis arises.”
For more information on Yuba Water Agency’s flood and disaster preparedness programs and projects, visit https://www.yubawater.org/.