Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 2. GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA [8000 - 22980]

  ( Title 2 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. )

DIVISION 1. GENERAL [8000 - 8899.72]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. )

CHAPTER 7. California Emergency Services Act [8550 - 8669.7]

  ( Chapter 7 added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 1454. )

ARTICLE 6.5. Accessibility to Emergency Information and Services [8593 - 8594.16]
  ( Heading of Article 6.5 amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 520, Sec. 1. )

8593.
  

The Office of Emergency Services shall work with advocacy groups representing the deaf and hard of hearing, including, but not limited to, the California Association of the Deaf and the Coalition of Deaf Access Providers, California television broadcasters, city and county emergency services coordinators, and, as appropriate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission, to improve communication with deaf and hard-of-hearing persons during emergencies, including the use of open captioning by California television broadcasters when transmitting emergency information.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 94, Sec. 9. (AB 1709) Effective January 1, 2017.)

8593.1.
  

The Office of Emergency Services shall investigate the feasibility of, and the funding requirements for, establishing a “Digital Emergency Broadcast System” network, to be used by local and state government agencies for the provision of warnings and instructions in digital or printed form to California broadcast outlets for relay to the public both orally and visually, through television, and orally, through radio, during emergencies.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 352, Sec. 161. (AB 1317) Effective September 26, 2013. Operative July 1, 2013, by Sec. 543 of Ch. 352.)

8593.2.
  

The Office of Emergency Services shall investigate the feasibility of establishing a toll-free 800 telephone hotline, including TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) accessibility, which would be accessible to the public, including deaf, hard-of-hearing, and non-English-speaking persons, for use during nonemergency and emergency periods to respond to inquiries about emergency preparedness and disaster status.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 561, Sec. 72. (AB 1516) Effective January 1, 2018.)

8593.3.
  

(a) A county, including a city and county, shall, upon the next update to its emergency plan, integrate access and functional needs into its emergency plan by addressing, at a minimum, how the access and functional needs population is served by the following:

(1) Emergency communications, including the integration of interpreters, translators, and assistive technology.

(2) Emergency evacuation, including the identification of transportation resources and resources that are compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) for individuals who are dependent on public transportation.

(3) Emergency sheltering, including ensuring that designated shelters are compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) or can be made compliant through modification and that showers and bathrooms are fully accessible to all occupants.

(b) For purposes of this section, the “access and functional needs population” consists of individuals who have developmental or intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, chronic conditions, injuries, limited English proficiency or who are non-English speaking, seniors, children, people living in institutionalized settings, or those who are low income, homeless, or transportation disadvantaged, including, but not limited to, those who are dependent on public transit or those who are pregnant.

(c) A county, or city and county, upon the next update to its emergency plan, regarding the integration of access and functional needs into that emergency plan, shall include representatives from the access and functional needs population, pursuant to subdivision (b), including, but not limited to, social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and transportation providers.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 218, Sec. 1. (AB 477) Effective January 1, 2020.)

8593.3.5.
  

(a) A county, including a city and county, shall, upon the next update to its emergency plan, integrate cultural competence into its emergency plan by addressing, at a minimum, how culturally diverse communities within its jurisdiction are served by the following:

(1) Emergency communications, including the integration of interpreters and translators.

(2) Emergency evacuation and sheltering.

(3) Emergency mitigation and prevention.

(4) Emergency planning, including drawing on community-based values and customs, and incorporating qualified representatives from diverse population groups in the community, during the planning process.

(5) Emergency preparedness, including the use of culturally appropriate resources and outreach techniques to educate and prepare community members for emergencies or disasters.

(b) In relation to subdivision (a), a county, including a city and county, shall provide a forum for community engagement in geographically diverse locations in order to engage with culturally diverse communities within its jurisdiction.

(1) A county, including a city and county, may establish a separate community advisory board for the purpose of cohosting, coordinating, and conducting outreach for the community engagement forums. The advisory board may assist the county in prioritizing which culturally diverse communities to outreach to and in implementing strategies related to elements in subdivision (a) for integration into the county emergency plan. Representatives of the following parties shall be considered for the composition of the advisory board:

(A) Interagency county government departments including, but not limited to, emergency services, public health, social services, and transportation.

(B) Culturally diverse community advocacy groups and community members as identified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c).

(2) A county, including a city and county, through the advisory board may coordinate community outreach forums to solicit input from and share information with culturally diverse community organizations and community members as identified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) on related topics of the emergency plan as identified under subdivision (a).

(3) The community engagement forums may include translation and interpretation in languages other than English.

(c) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Cultural competence” means the ability to understand, value, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures in order to ensure that the needs of all community members are addressed, with priority given to “culturally diverse communities.” “Cultural competence” includes, but is not limited to, being respectful and responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse population groups.

(2) “Culturally diverse communities” includes, but is not limited to, race and ethnicity, including indigenous peoples, communities of color, and immigrant and refugee communities; gender, including women; age, including the elderly and youth; sexual and gender minorities; people with disabilities; occupation and income level including low-income individuals and the unhoused; education level; people with no or limited English language proficiency; as well as geographic location.

(Added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 402, Sec. 2. (SB 160) Effective January 1, 2020.)

8593.4.
  

(a) A county, including a city and county, may enter into an agreement to access the contact information of resident accountholders through the records of a public utility or other agency, including an electrical or gas corporation, local publicly owned electric utility, public water agency, or other agency responsible for water service, waste and recycling services, or other related services for a property address, for the sole purpose of enrolling county residents in a county-operated public emergency warning system.

(b) A county, including a city and county, that enters into an agreement to access information pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include procedures to enable any resident to opt out of the warning system and a process to terminate the receiving agency’s access to the contact information of the resident from a public utility or other agency, including an electrical or gas corporation, local publicly owned electric utility, public water agency, or other agency responsible for water service, waste and recycling services, or other related services for a property address. A county, or city and county, may not use the information gathered for any purpose other than for emergency notification. The receiving agency shall ensure that the confidentiality of the contact information is protected under reasonable security procedures.

(c) For purposes of this section, “contact information” means a person’s name, address, telephone numbers, and email address.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law, a public utility or other agency, including an electrical or gas corporation, local publicly owned electric utility, public water agency, or other agency responsible for water service, waste and recycling services, or other related services for a property address, shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability for the accuracy of, or any use, nonuse, or improper release of, the contact information it provides to the county under this section, including, without limitation, for any deficiencies or inaccuracies of the contact information provided.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 615, Sec. 1. (SB 821) Effective January 1, 2019.)

8593.6.
  

(a) No later than six months after securing funding for the purposes of this section, the Director of Emergency Services shall convene a working group for the purpose of assessing existing and future technologies available in the public and private sectors for the expansion of transmission of emergency alerts to the public through a public-private partnership. The working group shall advise the secretary and assist in the development of policies, procedures, and protocols that will lay the framework for an improved warning system for the public.

(b) (1) The working group shall consist of the following membership, to be appointed by the director:

(A) A representative of the Office of Emergency Services.

(B) A representative of the Attorney General’s office.

(C) A representative of the State Department of Public Health.

(D) A representative of the State Emergency Communications Committee.

(E) A representative of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, at the option of that agency.

(F) A representative or representatives of local government, at the option of the local government or governments.

(G) Representatives of the private sector who possess technology, experience, or insight that will aid in the development of a public-private partnership to expand an alert system to the public, including, but not limited to, representatives of providers of mass communication systems, first responders, and broadcasters.

(H) Additional representatives of any public or private entity as deemed appropriate by the director.

(2) In performing its duties, the working group shall consult with the Federal Communications Commission, and with respect to grants and fiscal matters, the Office of Emergency Services.

(c) The working group shall consider and make recommendations with respect to all of the following:

(1) Private and public programs, including pilot projects that attempt to integrate a public-private partnership to expand an alert system.

(2) Protocols, including formats, source or originator identification, threat severity, hazard description, and response requirements or recommendations, for alerts to be transmitted via an alert system that ensures that alerts are capable of being utilized across the broadest variety of communication technologies, at state and local levels.

(3) Protocols and guidelines to prioritize assurance of the greatest level of interoperability for first responders and families of first responders.

(4) Procedures for verifying, initiating, modifying, and canceling alerts transmitted via an alert system.

(5) Guidelines for the technical capabilities of an alert system.

(6) Guidelines for technical capability that provides for the priority transmission of alerts.

(7) Guidelines for other capabilities of an alert system.

(8) Standards for equipment and technologies used by an alert system.

(9) Cost estimates.

(10) Standards and protocols in accordance with, or in anticipation of, Federal Communications Commission requirements and federal statutes or regulations.

(11) Liability issues.

(d) The director may accept private monetary or in-kind donations for the purposes of this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 352, Sec. 163. (AB 1317) Effective September 26, 2013. Operative July 1, 2013, by Sec. 543 of Ch. 352.)

8593.7.
  

(a) On or before July 1, 2019, the Office of Emergency Services, in consultation with, at minimum, telecommunications carriers, the California cable and broadband industry, radio and television broadcasters, the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities, the disability community, appropriate federal agencies, and the Standardized Emergency Management System Alert and Warning Specialist Committee, shall develop guidelines for alerting and warning the public of an emergency. Those guidelines shall include, at minimum, the following:

(1) Timelines for sending alerts during an emergency.

(2) Practices for sending advance warnings of an impending threat.

(3) Practices for testing, training on, and exercising a city’s, county’s, or city and county’s alert and warning system.

(4) Consideration for coordinating alerts with neighboring jurisdictions.

(5) Guidelines and protocols for redundancy and utilizing multiple forms of alerts.

(6) Guidelines and protocols for chain of command communications and accounting for staffing patterns to ensure a trained operator is always on call.

(7) Practices for effective notifications to the access and functional needs population as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 8593.3.

(8) Message templates.

(9) Common terminology.

(b) (1) The Office of Emergency Services shall provide each city, county, and city and county with a copy of the guidelines developed according to subdivision (a).

(2) Six months after the Office of Emergency Services provides the guidelines to each city, county, and city and county, the office may impose conditions upon a city’s, county’s, or city and county’s application for any voluntary grant funds that have a nexus to emergency management performance that the office administers, requiring that city, county, or city and county to operate its alert and warning activities in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines developed pursuant to subdivision (a).

(c) Within six months of making the guidelines available pursuant to subdivision (b) and at least annually, the Office of Emergency Services, through its California Specialized Training Institute, shall develop an alert and warning training. The training shall include, at minimum, information regarding the evaluation, purchase, and operation of Wireless Emergency Alert system (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment and software, including capabilities that address communications for the access and functional needs community; the technical capabilities of the WEA and EAS function within an alert system, pursuant to current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communications Commission regulations, as amended from time to time; and the alert and warning guidelines developed in subdivision (a).

(d) The safety of local communities requires designated alerting authorities to ensure that they have multiple operators, adequate testing and training, and functional equipment and software. To the extent designated alerting authorities have difficulty acquiring or maintaining adequate alert and warning resources, they may consult with the Office of Emergency Services on best practices to achieve those goals.

(e) “Operator” means those personnel required by the designated alerting authority to transmit alert and warning messages.

(f) The Office of Emergency Services (OES) may adopt emergency regulations to implement this section. The adoption, amendment, repeal, or readoption of a regulation authorized by this section is deemed to address an emergency, for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6 of the Government Code, and the office is hereby exempted for this purpose from the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 11346.1 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 617, Sec. 2. (SB 833) Effective January 1, 2019.)

8594.
  

(a) If a law enforcement agency receives a report that an abduction has occurred or that a child has been taken by anyone, including, but not limited to, a custodial parent or guardian, and the agency determines that a child 17 years of age or younger, or an individual with a proven mental or physical disability, has been abducted or taken and the victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, and there is information available that, if disseminated to the general public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim, the agency, through a person authorized to activate the Emergency Alert System, shall, absent extenuating investigative needs, request activation of the Emergency Alert System within the appropriate local area. A law enforcement agency shall only request activation of the Emergency Alert System pursuant to this subdivision if these requirements are met. The Emergency Alert System is not intended to be used for abductions resulting from custody disputes that are not reasonably believed to endanger the life or physical health of a child.

The California Highway Patrol, if requested by a law enforcement agency, shall activate the system.

(b) The California Highway Patrol, in consultation with the Department of Justice, as well as a representative from the California State Sheriffs’ Association, the California Police Chiefs’ Association, and the California Peace Officers’ Association, shall develop policies and procedures providing instruction specifying how a law enforcement agency, broadcaster participating in the Emergency Alert System, and any other intermediate emergency agency that may institute activation of the Emergency Alert System, and, where appropriate, other supplemental warning systems, shall proceed after a qualifying event described in subdivision (a) has been reported to a law enforcement agency. Those policies and procedures shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) Procedures for transfer of information regarding the victim and the qualifying event from the law enforcement agency to the broadcasters.

(2) Specification of the event code or codes that should be used if the Emergency Alert System is activated to report a qualifying event.

(3) Recommended language for an emergency alert issued pursuant to this section.

(4) Specification of information that shall be included by the reporting law enforcement agency, including which agency a person with information relating to the qualifying event should contact and how the person should contact the agency.

(5) Recommendations on the extent of the geographical area to which an emergency alert issued pursuant to this section should be broadcast.

(c) The California Highway Patrol, in consultation with the Department of Justice, shall review the Amber Plan as adopted by other states and Orange County’s Child Abduction Regional Emergency Alert Program for guidance in developing appropriate policies and procedures for use of the Emergency Alert System and, where appropriate, other supplemental warning systems to report qualifying events.

(d) The California Highway Patrol, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, shall develop a comprehensive child abduction education plan to educate children in the state on the appropriate behavior to deter abduction. The California Highway Patrol shall convene a group consisting of a representative from the California State Sheriffs’ Association, the California Police Chiefs’ Association, and the California Peace Officers’ Association, representatives of advocacy groups, and the Department of Education to assist in the development of a plan.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 328, Sec. 1. (AB 535) Effective January 1, 2014.)

8594.5.
  

(a) For purposes of this section, “blue alert” means a quick response system designed to issue and coordinate alerts following an attack upon a law enforcement officer as described in subdivision (b).

(b) In addition to the circumstances described in Section 8594, upon the request of an authorized person at a law enforcement agency that is investigating an offense described in paragraph (1), the California Highway Patrol shall activate the Emergency Alert System and issue a blue alert if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) A law enforcement officer has been killed, suffers serious bodily injury, or is assaulted with a deadly weapon, and the suspect has fled the scene of the offense.

(2) A law enforcement agency investigating the offense has determined that the suspect poses an imminent threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel.

(3) A detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle or license plate is available for broadcast.

(4) Public dissemination of available information may help avert further harm or accelerate apprehension of the suspect.

(5) The California Highway Patrol has been designated to use the federally authorized Emergency Alert System for the issuance of blue alerts.

(c) The blue alert system incorporates a variety of notification resources and developing technologies that may be tailored to the circumstances and geography of the underlying attack. The blue alert system shall utilize the state-controlled Emergency Digital Information System, local digital signs, focused text, or other technologies, as appropriate, in addition to the federal Emergency Alert System, if authorized and under conditions permitted by the federal government.

(d) On or before December 31, 2011, the California Highway Patrol shall augment the department’s public Internet Web site to include a blue alert link that describes the “blue alert” process, objectives, and available quick responses. The Internet Web site shall explain that the term blue alert will communicate that a law enforcement officer has been attacked or killed and that the scope of an alert will be tailored to the circumstances of the offense and available technologies.

(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 311, Sec. 1. (SB 839) Effective January 1, 2011.)

8594.10.
  

(a) For purposes of this section, “Silver Alert” means a notification system, activated pursuant to subdivision (b), designed to issue and coordinate alerts with respect to a person who is 65 years of age or older, developmentally disabled, or cognitively impaired, and who is reported missing.

(b) (1) If a person is reported missing to a law enforcement agency and that agency determines that the requirements of subdivision (c) are met, the agency may request the Department of the California Highway Patrol to activate a Silver Alert. If the Department of the California Highway Patrol concurs that the requirements of subdivision (c) are met, it shall activate a Silver Alert within the geographical area requested by the investigating law enforcement agency.

(2) Radio, television, and cable and satellite systems are encouraged to, but not required to, cooperate with disseminating the information contained in a Silver Alert.

(3) Upon activation of a Silver Alert, the Department of the California Highway Patrol shall assist the investigating law enforcement agency by issuing a be-on-the-lookout alert, an Emergency Digital Information Service message, an electronic flyer, or a changeable message sign in compliance with paragraph (4).

(4) Upon activation of a Silver Alert, the Department of the California Highway Patrol may use a changeable message sign if both of the following conditions are met:

(A) A law enforcement agency determines that a vehicle may be involved in the missing person incident.

(B) Specific vehicle identification is available for public dissemination.

(c) A law enforcement agency may request a Silver Alert be activated if that agency determines that all of the following conditions are met in regard to the investigation of the missing person:

(1) The missing person is 65 years of age or older, developmentally disabled, or cognitively impaired.

(2) The investigating law enforcement agency has utilized all available local resources.

(3) The law enforcement agency determines that the person has gone missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances.

(4) The law enforcement agency believes that the person is in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability, or environment or weather conditions, that the person is in the company of a potentially dangerous person, or that there are other factors indicating that the person may be in peril.

(5) There is information available that, if disseminated to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the missing person.

(d) For purposes of this section, the following definitions have the following meanings:

(1) “Developmentally disabled” means affected by a developmental disability, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 4512 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(2) “Cognitively impaired” means affected by a cognitive impairment, as defined in Section 14522.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 332, Sec. 1. (AB 643) Effective January 1, 2016.)

8594.16.
  

(a) Translating emergency notifications into the most commonly spoken language other than English is a critically important governmental activity. In order for residents impacted by an emergency to be made aware of the emergency, it is critical that emergency notifications to the public be translated either into the most commonly spoken language other than English in the impacted county or counties, or, at the option of a county, into one or more commonly spoken languages other than English in the county based on an individualized language assessment of that county.

(b) The Office of Emergency Services shall create a library of translated emergency notifications that may be used by designated alerting authorities when issuing emergency notifications. The office shall consider the two most commonly spoken languages other than English in the state when creating the library.

(c) The Office of Emergency Services shall create a translation style guide that includes a glossary of translated standard abbreviations used in emergency notifications.

(d) Designated alerting authorities shall consider using the library and translation style guide developed pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) when issuing emergency notifications to the public.

(e) Designated alerting authorities may use a hyperlink to the translated emergency notification in a message disseminated through a wireless emergency alert for purposes of issuing a translated alert.

(f) Six months after the Office of Emergency Services launches the library and translation style guide pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c), the office may impose conditions upon a city’s, county’s, or city and county’s application for any voluntary grant funds that have a nexus to emergency management performance that the office administers by requiring the designated alerting authority within a city, county, or city and county to translate emergency notifications.

(g) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Designated alerting authority” means a federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial jurisdiction that is authorized to alert the public of emergency situations through federal, state, and local laws.

(2) “Emergency notification” means any message authored by a designated alerting authority intended to alert or warn the public of an imminent threat to life safety or property damage, and that is disseminated through designated alert and warning systems such as the Emergency Alert System or the federal Wireless Emergency Alerts system.

(h) This section does not delay or prohibit a designated alerting authority from issuing an emergency notification in a timely manner.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 497, Sec. 134. (AB 991) Effective January 1, 2020.)

GOVGovernment Code - GOV6.5