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Disaster & Wildfire Relief Info

Your union can be a valuable tool when you need help. UFCW 8 has staff available who can assist you in learning about and accessing the resources and benefits that may be best suited to your needs.

New 2023 California Law – Protected Unpaid Leave of Absence Due to a Declared State of Emergency

Senate Bill 1044 prohibits employers from taking or threatening adverse action against an employee who refuses to come to work or leaves work during a declared state of emergency, local emergency or official alert of an imminent threat to life or property due to a natural disaster which poses an ongoing risk of harm to the worker, their home or workplace.

If members experience any issues with an employer threatening adverse action for refusing to come to work or leaving work during a declared state of emergency or natural disaster, please contact your District Union Representative immediately.

Under the new law, employees are required to notify their employer of the emergency condition requiring the employee to leave or refuse to report to their workplace. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, however, as soon as it is safe, you should notify your employer of your absence if an “emergency condition” occurs. During such a state of emergency or emergency condition, employers also cannot try to stop employees from using their phone to seek assistance, assess safety, or communicate with others about their safety.

The new also allows for 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave for the loss of a family member. The changes in law apply to essential workers but do not apply to first responders, disaster service workers and workers called to aid in emergency response, as well as health care workers and workers on military bases or in residential care facilities or nuclear reactors.

The list below is adapted from UNITEHERE! Local 2850’s guide, thank you Local 2850!


GENERAL INFORMATION can keep you up-to-date with relevant information from your local public safety departments & schools. Go to or text 888777 with your zip code to get updates on evacuations and new shelters opening.

Live Updates

CAL FIRECalifornia Statewide Fire Map

This map provides general locations of major fires burning in California. The fire locations are approximates. Some of the fires on the map are not in the jurisdiction of CAL FIRE and are under the command of another local or federal fire agency.

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is delegated by the Governor to support and enhance all phases of emergency management which include: preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

United Way of Northern CaliforniaWild Fire Recovery

Serving a nine-county region which includes the counties of Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity.
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Even those who are covered by homeowner, commercial and auto policies at the time of the disaster — are urged to apply online at or by phone at 800-621-3362.

Documents and Materials You Need to Apply

When you register for disaster assistance either online or by phone, you will need the following to complete your application.

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the location where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address)
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number
  • Insurance information
  • Total household annual income
  • Routing and account number for your checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into your bank account).
  • A description of your disaster-caused damage and losses

FEMAIndividual Disaster Assistance

California State Board of Equalization

Property Tax Relief

People who own property damaged by this month’s wildfires have one year to apply for tax relief, the Board of Equalization said Thursday in a news release.

For more information, go to the Board of Equalization’s website for Disaster Relief Frequently Asked Question –

Surviving Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE)

Providing emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)


Food-specific financial aid for people whose income has been significantly impacted by disaster-related loss of work and/or increased expenses (clean-up, repairs, etc.). Apply through or call California’s hotline at 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD)

Utilities / Energy Assistance Program

Phone: 1-866-675-6623


Provides relief to low-income households by providing financial assistance, paying up to four of the highest bills during the year.

Replace Food Bought With CalFresh


Replace food bought through CalFresh that was lost in a disaster by submitting a request through their website.

Lifeline Telephone Assistance

Phone: 1-866-454-8387


Helps qualified low-income individuals pay the monthly cost of basic telephone service.

Student Loan Management

Phone: 1-800-4FED-AID


The above website has information on deferment or forbearance. A deferment or forbearance allows you to temporarily stop making your federal student loan payments or to temporarily reduce the amount you pay.

Social Security

If you are 62 or older you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. If you begin collecting before age 65, your benefits will be reduced. The amount of benefits that you receive is based on your lifetime earnings.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a federal program that pays monthly benefits to people who are 65 or older, or blind, or have a disability and who don’t own much or have a lot of income.  SSI isn’t just for adults.  Monthly benefits can go to disabled and blind children, too.  For information online:

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California Department of Social ServicesDisaster Help and Information Center
This website is designed to provide information and resources regarding public assistance and services available to individuals and families impacted by California wildfires and other natural disasters or emergencies.

CDSS: Resource Guides to Disaster Assistance

California Department of Public Health: Be Prepared California

Rural County Representatives of California: Northern California Wildfires Resource Guide

California Wildfires Statewide Recovery Resources

  • Local Assistance: Connect with your local government to get the latest news and find other local resources.
  • Services: Learn about health information, schools, record replacement, resources for targeted demographics and more.
  • Debris Removal: Learn what you need to know about Debris Removal, re-entry approval and forms.
  • Housing: Find temporary housing services and rebuilding programs.
  • Financial: Learn about resources that can help you handle your finances including tax exemptions and grant programs.
  • Local Assistance Centers (LACs): LACs are a one-stop-shop with critical government services for residents who have been impacted by the fires.
  • Incident Overview and News: Find more information on the incident, official proclamations, FAQs, and consumer awareness warnings.
  • Contacts: Find contact information from multiple organizations working on the recovery efforts.

POST-DISASTER RESOURCE CHECKLIST – Click the image below for a printable “Post Disaster Checklist” back to the top

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To get up-to-date information on evacuations, shelters and road closures, text your zip code to 888777.

California Office of Emergency Services (CAL-OES)  Current Shelter Information

You can request a list of open shelters by calling the American Red Cross:


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Apply online to get food assistance.

Feeding America


Connections to local food banks provided by phone or online.

California Association of Food Banks

Find a Food Bank:

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Open Pharmacies

The National Council of Prescription Drug Programs offers an online map of pharmacies that are open in your area at

Free Medical Advice

If you have health coverage through Kaiser Permanente, call the nurse advice line at:

800-464-4000 or TTY 711

800-788-0616 (Spanish)

800-757-7585 (Chinese dialects)

If you have health coverage through Anthem Blue Cross, call the nurse advice line at:


TTY 1-800-368-4424

Disaster Distress line: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

Access to Insulin

Eli Lilly: 1-800-Lilly-RX

Refilling Lost Prescriptions

If you have lost or run out of your medication and you can’t reach your doctor or get to your usual pharmacy, try to find as many of the following things as you can:

  • Your empty pill bottle(s) with labels.
  • Your prescription card.
  • A phone number for your regular pharmacy.
  • A phone number for your insurance company’s pharmacy help desk.

Don’t worry if your next scheduled refill isn’t for a while. The pharmacy & your insurance company should be prepared to override the normal refill schedule.

You can get an emergency supply even if you don’t have a refill and the pharmacy can’t reach the person who prescribed your medication. If missing your medication would have a serious impact on your health, the pharmacy is allowed to give you a 72 hour emergency supply. In a disaster, they can give you as much as 30-days’ worth.

If your prescription is for a controlled substance, you will need your doctor to fax or e-fax a new prescription for you. If you can’t reach your doctor, you will have to consult another prescriber, who may give you a temporary prescription for alternative medication that isn’t a controlled substance.

If possible, go to a branch of your usual pharmacy chain. Sometimes, prescriptions may not be electronically transferred between pharmacies that aren’t part of the same chain. If your original pharmacy is closed, a pharmacy from a different chain may have a harder time getting your prescription transferred over.

Help Paying for Prescriptions

Working with your doctor: Explain your situation to the doctor and ask for his or her help finding the most affordable and accessible alternatives to meet your prescription needs, including access to samples, different generics, mail-order options or longer prescriptions (90 day supplies instead of 30). You can also ask at your pharmacy about ways to reduce costs.

The following programs may be able to assist you in obtaining low cost or discounted medications:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Phone: 1-888-477-2669


Helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need through the program that is right for them. Many will get their medications free or nearly free.

Website also has a list of free or low-cost clinics in your area.



A community partner of United Way, Familywize offers discounts on many common prescription drugs. Website allows you to look up drug prices and request more information on the program:

RX Assist


Online database of prescription discount programs and other patient resources.

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Coming back to a home that’s gone through a fire can be heartbreaking and overwhelming. It can also be hazardous to your health. Here’s some advice from other wildfire survivors:

  • If you’ve been away from your home for an extended period of time, do not enter without sturdy shoes (work boots or rubber boots if you have them), gloves and a face mask that’s rated at least an “N95” (it will say this on the package).
  • If you haven’t recently had a tetanus shot, get one as soon as possible, especially if you plan to do any cleaning or construction yourself.
  • There’s a good chance you won’t have access to clean running water. Bring lots of bottled water with you. You’ll need it.
  • Check your insurance guidelines very carefully before doing anything. If you have no choice to wait, then the next step goes DOUBLE.
  • Take a LOT of picture of EVERYTHING. Before you remove anything or start cleaning or making repairs, take pictures of the damage. Take pictures of everything you take out of the house- furniture, appliances, carpets, sheetrock, anything. Be sure to take pictures of the water mark. Use a tape measure to show how high it was. Do this INSIDE & OUTSIDE.
  • If your outlets were under water do not turn on your breakers if you have power.
  • Keep receipts of anything you use for cleaning, repair, or removal.
  • If your home lost power, don’t bother opening fridges or deep freezers. Duct tape the doors closed and as carefully as possible, get them to the curb.
  • If you are doing major repairs and are taking out walls, leave at least one wall per room. You must also leave at least one section of carpet or flooring in place. Some insurers will require seeing it and taking their own pictures.

Cleaning Your Home

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask) and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
  • Do NOT use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or to make ice or baby formula.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

Your Car

  • Remember to take LOTS of pictures!
  • If your car’s been towed you can search for it online using your license plate or VIN number at:

More Health & Safety Info

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has resources available online for people dealing with mold, contaminated water, and other wildfire-related hazards. They can be downloaded at:

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Many hazards follow in the wake of a disaster like this one. Here are some you can take steps to avoid:

House Fire

  • Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a “fire watch.” Check and re-check for smoke, sparks or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Use portable generators, charcoal grills and camp stove outside the house and garage and at least 20 feet from windows, doors and vents.


  • Stay away from ALL downed wires and whatever they are touching.
  • Avoid standing water that covers electrical outlets or is in contact with electrical equipment
  • Use only undamaged, OUTDOOR electrical cables with portable generators
  • Don’t operate electrical appliances and equipment that are in water or have been under water. Have a qualified technician clear them for use first.

Gas Explosion

  • If you smell or hear gas leaking, don’t turn lights on or off, or use electrical equipment, including a phone. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, then call 911!
  • Before you use a gas appliance or gas cylinder, have a professional check for damage or leaks.

Building Collapse

  • Leave your home or another building right away if you hear shifting or unusual noises. Strange noises could mean it’s about to fall.

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There are a number of ways to reach qualified lawyers who will provide free legal advice on how to manage your insurance claim, landlord/tenant issues, immigration-related concerns, and a range of other disaster-related legal questions you might have.

Volunteer lawyers are also visiting shelters to offer free assistance to people affected by the fires. It may be worth checking with shelters in your area to find help.

Legal Aid of Sonoma County

Provides free legal assistance to low-income people.  They can be reached at (707) 843-4432 or at

Legal Services of Northern California

LSNC provides free legal assistance to low-income people. Their Chico office serves Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Plumas and Tehama counties, and can be reached at:

Voice: (530) 345-9491

Toll Free: (800) 345-9491

The Vallejo office serves Solano county and can be reached at:

Voice: (707) 643-0054

Fax: (707) 643-0144

The Sacramento office serves Sacramento county and can be reached at: (916) 551-2150

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If you missed days of work without pay, lost your job or if your hours have been reduced because of the disaster, you may apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

Even if you’ve already exhausted your state unemployment benefits or if you don’t have the past earnings or length of employment to qualify for regular benefits, you may be eligible for special Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

You can apply for benefits or re-open your existing claim by contacting:

California Unemployment

Phone: 1-800-939-6631


The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to workers who have lost their job and meet the program’s eligibility requirements. If you have become unemployed, you may file a UI claim. You may be eligible for UI benefits if you meet all eligibility requirements. After you have filed a claim, you must continue to certify for benefits and meet eligibility requirements in order for the EDD to pay you benefits. Use the information below to access unemployment-related services and information.

Information on the process can be found in Spanish via this website:

The amount that you receive varies according to your previous earnings and/or the number of hours you work.

Whether you choose to file your claim by telephone or on the web you must be ready to present the following information:

  1. Your name (including all names you used while working)
  2. Social Security number.
  3. Your mailing and residence address (including ZIP code) and phone number (including area code).
  4. Your state-issued driver’s license or ID card number, if you have either.
  5. The last date you worked for any employer. If you are working part-time be sure to tell us you are still working, give us the number of hours you are working each week, and tell us the last day you worked prior to filing a UI claim.
  6. Last employer information, including name, address (mailing and physical location) and phone number. We will also need the ZIP code for both addresses (mailing and physical location) and the area code for your last employer’s phone number. Be specific about the spelling of the employer’s name and make sure the address is correct because we are required to mail a notice to that employer. An incorrect address will delay benefit payments.
  7. Information on all employers you worked for during the 18 months prior to filing your claim, including name, period of employment, wages earned and how you were paid.
  8. The name of the employer you worked for the longest within the last year and a half; and the number of years you worked for that employer. This may or may not be the same as your last employer.
  9. The reason you are no longer working for your last employer. You may have quit, been laid off, fired, or left work because of a trade dispute. Be specific about the reason you are not working because the information you give to us must be sent to your last employer. If you quit, were fired, or left work because of a trade dispute, you will be scheduled to a future telephone interview. The information we obtain during the interview will help us decide if you are eligible to receive benefits.
  10. Whether you are receiving, or expect to receive any payments from a former employer. We ask about this because some types of payments may be deducted from your benefits. A few examples of payments that may be deducted include wages, pension payments, holiday pay, and vacation or sick pay. Severance pay is not deducted from unemployment insurance benefits and does not affect your eligibility to receive benefits. However, you must report severance pay at the time you file your unemployment insurance claim.
  11. Whether you are able to work and available to accept work.
  12. Whether you have a legal right to work in the United States. If applicable, individuals will be asked for their alien registration number. A comprehensive list of acceptable identity and authorization to work documents is available through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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If you’ve lost any of your important documents, the process of replacing them can be slow and frustrating. You’ll need some of these documents just to get some of the other ones. Make a list of what you have and what you need, what the requirements are to get each one and what order you’ll need to get them in.

UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust
Website:  Phone: (800) 552-2400
The UFCW Trust Fund may be able to provide copies of birth and marriage certificates if they were sent to the Trust Fund for benefit enrollment.

California Driver License:

Social Security Card:
Phone: 800-772-1213

You will need a government-issued photo ID

Green Cards:
Phone: 800-375-5283

Phone: 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793)


Birth and death certificates:

Birth Certificate:

Death Certificate:

For replacement:

Visit the California Department of Public Health (CDHP) website.

In order to obtain a copy of your birth certificate you need to apply through the CDHP. Start by going to the website and click on the “Vital Records” link in the right column on the CDHP home page, under Popular Topics.[1]

Medicare Cards:
Phone: 800-772-1213

Vehicle Titles:
Phone: 888-368-4689

Insurance Documents:
Phone: Check with your own insurance agent
Website: //

Real Estate and Property Records (Mortgage Documents, Deeds, etc.):
Phone: Contact your own agent
Website: Lost Property Deed – Replacement Procedure

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In most cases, members will continue their health coverage without interruption. If you do not meet the minimum number of hours, you may eventually lose coverage, if you have questions or do lose coverage due to a wildfire or disaster, please contact the Union office immediately at (916) 786-0588 so we can assist you and answer any questions.

Affordable Care Act

People who lose their employer-based health insurance are eligible to apply for free care through Medi-Cal and reduced-cost health insurance plans offered through Covered California. You can apply online for both at as soon as you lose coverage.


The Federal COBRA law requires that most employers offer you and your family a temporary extension of health coverage at group rates, called “continuation coverage”. Depending on the circumstances of your job departure, you, your spouse and dependent children may be eligible for coverage for a minimum of 18 months with a possible extension to 36 months in certain circumstances. You may be required to pay the full premium, including your employer’s contribution. Contact the UFCW Trust – (UEBT) at (800) 552-2400 regarding COBRA coverage option.


Medicare is a federally funded medical insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration. You are eligible for Medicare hospital insurance if you:

  • Are 65 and receive Social Security or railroad retirement benefits
  • Have received Social security disability benefits for 24 months

For more information about these requirements and other features of the Medicare program, call: 800-633-4227 (TTY 877-486-2048) or visit

Remember: Your family doctor or local hospital does not want to see you ignore health problems. If you have lost your health coverage, speak to your doctor about the possibility of negotiating reduced fees and payment schedules.

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California Flood Preparedness Week (in mid-late October each year)

Did you know that every county in California has been declared a federal flood disaster area at least once in the last 20 years? California experiences many types of flooding: alluvial fan, debris flow, riverine, coastal, tsunami, flash, and localized floods.

Learn more about flood preparedness at:

Flood Safety Tips and Resources

The National Weather-Service Flood Safety Tips and Resources page is designed to teach you how to stay safe in a flood event. If you know what to do before, during, and after a flood you can increase your chances of survival and better protect your property.


American Red Cross

The Red Cross has developed applications for your smartphone to help you understand and prepare for emergencies, including flooding. Download these applications from iTunes and Google Play app stores.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The FEMA Mobile App helps you plan for and respond to natural disasters.

NOAA Weather Radio App

The NOAA Weather Radio App provides up-to-date weather information and alerts.


The ReUnite app from the National Institute of Health helps connect lost family members and friends in a disaster situation.