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Early Earthquake Warning and Frequently Asked Questions

Early Earthquake Warning

The recent earthquake in epicentered near Napa, Calif. has been the latest chapter in our state’s storied history of earthquakes. It’s easy to see way after a 6.0-magnitude shaker and dozens of aftershocks, why California is Earthquake Country. In an effort to keep preserve life and property, California is currently developing an early earthquake warning system that could allow businesses and individuals to take protective actions immediately prior to an earthquake.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has developed a quick reference for answering our most commonly received questions about this system.


Three Weeks Left to Apply for SBA Disaster Loans

SBA LogoSACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today reminded small, nonfarm businesses in 35 California counties and neighboring counties in Arizona and Nevada that they have until September 15, 2014, to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).  These loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues to farmers and ranchers caused by the drought that began on January 1, 2014, in the following primary counties, announced Tanya N. Garfield, Director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center – West.

Primary California counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne and Ventura;

Neighboring California counties: Orange, Placer, Riverside, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sutter and Yolo;

“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.

Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage.  These loans have an interest rate of 4% for businesses and 2.625% for private, nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private, nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance.  Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency (FSA) about the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, in drought disasters nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at

For owners of these impacted small businesses, disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling toll-free at (800) 659-2955 or e-mailing Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit

The deadline to apply for these loans is September 15, 2014.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces $2 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funds for California’s Napa Valley

DOT SEAL-BLUE 286WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate availability of $2 million in Emergency Relief funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and local agencies cover repair costs for roads and bridges damaged by Sunday’s earthquake in California’s Napa Valley.

“The Department of Transportation is making a down payment on our commitment to get assistance to the California residents hit hardest by Sunday’s earthquake,” said Secretary Foxx. “We will do everything we can to help fix roads and bridges damaged by the Napa earthquake so people can once again get to work, school, medical appointments and other places they need to go.”

Caltrans has identified numerous locations with damage to bridges and roadways, with preliminary cost estimates already totaling at least $10 million at this time. The recent 6.0 magnitude earthquake caused widespread surface cracking on roadways, such as S.R. 121 north of the Sonoma/Napa County line at Cuttings Wharf, and significant stress to joints on bridges, including the Napa River Bridge on S.R. 29.

All bridges are safe and open to traffic. The state’s primary focus is determining whether bridge joints should be repaired or replaced.

“The FHWA will work with Caltrans until all repairs are made, and every damaged road and bridge is fully repaired,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau.  “Safety is our top priority, and we will do whatever we can to help California recover from this event.”

Aftershocks from the earthquake are expected to continue for several weeks, raising the possibility of additional damage to infrastructure. Funds from FHWA’s Emergency Relief Program will reimburse Caltrans and local agencies for emergency work done immediately following the earthquake. The program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or other catastrophic events.


BOE Announces Emergency Tax Relief Available for Business Owners Affected by South Napa Earthquake

Sacramento – Business owners and feepayers impacted by the Napa Valley earthquake may request an extension to file their returns, ask for relief from penalties and/or interest for some taxes and fees, or to replace copies of records lost or damaged, announced California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Board Member Betty T. Yee.

On August 24, 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an emergency proclamation extending relief to Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties due to the effects of a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Napa Valley that have damaged homes, businesses, and caused the closure of some roads and highways.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by yesterday’s earthquake,” said Board Member Yee. “Special thanks to first responders and all personnel on the scene protecting health and safety of local residents. As residents continue to sift through the damage, we want to let them know the BOE is ready to help affected tax and feepayers.”

Requesting Relief

Tax and feepayers can go online to request relief from penalty and/or interest, and an extension of time to file a tax/fee return. Any tax or feepayer can use the online system to make their request for the tax and fee programs listed below. You may also call the BOE Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time), for assistance.

Sales and Use Taxes

Oil Spill Prevention and Administration Fee;

Oil Spill Response Fee

Fire Prevention Fee

Lumber Assessment

Alcoholic Beverage Taxes

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee

Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Excise Taxes

Integrated Waste Management Fee

Energy Resources Surcharge

Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee

Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge

Electronic Waste Recycling (eWaste) Fee

Natural Gas Surcharge

Marine Invasive Species Fee

(Ballast Water Management Fee)

Timber Yield Tax

California Tire Fee

Fuel Taxes (Diesel Fuel Tax, Interstate User Tax,

Use Fuel Tax, Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax, Aircraft Jet Fuel)

Hazardous Substances Fees (Environmental Fee,

Activity Fee, Generator Fee, Disposal Fee, Facility Fee)

Underground Storage Tank Maintenance Fee

Water Rights Fee

The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $56 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes.  For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit


Contractors State License Board Urges Napa Earthquake Victims to Only Hire Licensed Contractors for Repairs

Those caught contracting without a state license could face felony charges and prison time


cslb_logo2SACRAMENTO – The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging residents of Napa Valley and surrounding areas to only hire California-licensed contractors if they experienced damage to their homes, outbuildings, or businesses following this morning’s 6.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

“Unfortunately, unlicensed—and sometimes unscrupulous—people show up shortly after natural disasters and try to take advantage of victims at a vulnerable time,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “Now, more than ever, homeowners need to be cautious about hiring reputable people to repair their property. It only takes a few minutes to check the status of a contractor license on CSLB’s Web site or by calling our toll-free telephone system.”

By checking CSLB’s Web site, or, or by calling CSLB’s automated assistance line at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752), property owners can find the licensing background of their contractor and have access to publications and videos that explain consumer rights and best practices when hiring a contractor. This includes post-earthquake work ranging from repairing damaged homes and buildings, debris removal, hot water heater replacement, and mobile homes that have shifted off their support systems. Starting Monday morning, CSLB’s special Disaster Hotline will be staffed Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at 1-800-962-1125.

“After going through the fear and then the ordeal of property damage after these earthquakes, the last thing people need is to be victimized a second time by unlicensed or unscrupulous scammers,” said Sands. “Unlicensed contractors should know that they could face felony charges if they’re caught contracting in this disaster area.” Punishment for a felony charge may include up to 16 months in state prison, and a fine of up to $10,000 (Business & Professions Code 7028.16).

Sweep and undercover enforcement operations are already being planned in the quake-affected areas in Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. In addition to the potential felony charge, misdemeanor charges are also possible. Those carry up to $5,000 in penalties and/or up to 90 days in county jail. Subsequent convictions carry even stronger penalties, including a mandatory 90 days in jail.

CSLB licensees have a minimum of four years of journey-level experience in the trade for which they are licensed, and have passed tests related to their craft and California contracting law. CSLB licensees are also required to have workers’ compensation insurance for employees (and themselves if they are Roofing (C-39) contractors) to ensure the homeowner is not financially liable in the event of a work-related injury on their property.

Earthquake victims can verify the status of a contractor’s license on the CSLB Web site: or or by calling the toll-free automated line: 800-321- CSLB (2752). Helpful publications in English and Spanish and other languages can be ordered or downloaded from the Web site, such as What You Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor, with tips on hiring and working with home improvement contractors, and After a Disaster, Don’t Get Scammed. CSLB’s video Rebuilding After a Natural Disaster, is also available for viewing in the Disaster Help

Center on CSLB’s Website .

CSLB urges you to follow these guidelines before hiring a contractor:

 Don’t hire the first contractor who comes along;

 Don’t rush into repairs, no matter how badly they’re needed;

 Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see their license and a photo ID to ensure they are who they say they are;

 Always check the license number on CSLB’s Web site at or, and contact the business directly if you have any questions;

 Don’t pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment. There is an exception for about two dozen licensees who carry special bonds to protect consumers. These exceptions are noted on CSLB’s Web site;

 Don’t pay in cash, and don’t let payments get ahead of the work; and

 Get at least three bids, check references, and get a written contract

CSLB also reminds residents to make sure their contractor gets all the necessary permits and required inspections from city or county building department for any construction, reconstruction, or installation of air conditioners, heaters, or water heaters.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on CSLB’s website or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752). You also can sign up for CSLB email alerts. CSLB licenses and regulates almost 290,000 contractors in California, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2013-14, CSLB helped recover nearly $51 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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UPDATE: California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Coordinates with Partner Organizations to Support Napa County Earthquake Response


Cal OES State Operations Center Personnel Working Together to Coordinate Mutual Aid Resources for the Napa Earthquake.

Cal OES State Operations Center Personnel Working Together to Coordinate Mutual Aid Resources as a Result of the Napa Earthquake.

UPDATE:  As of Tuesday, August 26th, following Sunday’s magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck the small community of American Canyon in Napa County, Cal OES continues to coordinate with local, state, and federal response organizations is working to determine the emergency needs of communities and ensure appropriate resources are available to aid the relief efforts.  On Sunday, August 24th the state deployed three Urban Search and Rescue Teams to assist with the response and recovery efforts.  Additionally, the following has been determined and established:

Cal OES has activated the State Operations Center to coordinate response and is also closely coordinating with the following:

  • The Coastal Region Emergency Operations Center (REOC).
  • Napa County EOC is activated at the Napa County Sheriff’s Department due to structural issues at the county administration building.
  • The City of Napa EOC is activated


  • 1 Building in Vallejo was evacuated, all occupants sheltered with Red Cross. That shelter has since closed.
  • 1 American Red Cross shelter has been established at Crosswalk Community Church, located at 2590 First Street, Napa, CA; overnight shelter population per California Dept. of Social Services: 9
  • Pets can be sheltered at the Napa County Animal Shelter on Hartle Court, Napa, CA.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stay off the roads and utilize phones for emergency purposes only. Use of 911 and local emergency rooms should be restricted to life threatening emergencies only.

Power and Utilities


  • All power has been restored


  • Per the California Utilities Emergency Association, there are no reported gas issues at this time.
  • Customers that smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise should open windows, evacuate the building immediately, turn off gas if possible and call PG & E at 1-800-743-5000.


  • East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) is providing five (5) restoration teams in support of the City of Napa.

Water Concerns:

  • Early estimates show that approximately 500 people in Napa are out of water. It will likely take 3-5 days for water to be returned at some locations and an additional 48 hours for bacteriological testing to be completed to lift the precautionary BWN.
  • The City is implementing locations where potable water can be obtained for those residents without water.
  • Per SWRCB Drinking Water Program: The City of Napa is experiencing severe losses due to approximately 20-40 distribution leaks. They do not believe that they are facing an immediate water outage; however, that could be the case if the leaks are not contained in a short-period of time. The City of Napa serves approximately 90,000 people.
  • The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water, in collaboration with the City of Napa PWS is issuing a precautionary BWN to those residents that have lost water pressure. This means that when water service is returned residents in impacted areas, as a precaution, should boil their water until such time as bacteriological testing can be completed to ensure that their water supplies are not compromised.

Per the California Natural Resources Agency, surveys have been completed and there are no reports of damage or releases at Bay Area Refineries and Marine Oil Terminals.

While there are currently no road closures are in effect, drivers are urged to use caution in the following areas:

  • All bridge and major roads open.
  • Mobilizing emergency contracts for minor repairs.
  • Minor damage to on-ramp/off- ramps of the Napa River Bridge as well as the George Butler Bridge.
  • Highway 12 sustained minor damaged but is open to all traffic. Repairs if needed will start 08/25/14.

County of Napa

  • Boil Water Notice to residents that have lost water pressure.

City of Napa

  • State Water Resourced Control Board is working with the City of Napa to confirm the number of leaks in water systems.
  • City crews are assessing infrastructure damage and damage to homes and other buildings.

Historic Buildings Damaged

  • Sam Kee Laundry
  • Goodman Library
  • Napa County Courthouse
  • Other buildings in the downtown area appear to be severely damaged. Drop boxes for debris will be placed at all public schools.

City of Vallejo

  • Vallejo is conducting building assessments, mostly glass and building façades. Wide spread damage in older part of town, mostly chimneys.
  • 1 large building compromised.
  • 1 downtown structure collapsed-street blocked off.
  • Failed from roof to ground level making structure unstable.
  • All occupants sheltered through Red Cross.
  • 50% of the brick chimneys are down in downtown.
  • USFS reports Mare Island sustained water damage and will be closed for 2 days.

Solano County – excluding Vallejo, anticipate that all county government buildings will be ready for occupants by Wednesday, August 28, 2014.

Health and Medical

  • Power is restored at the Yountville Veterans Home.
  • Napa Valley Care Center is using generators for power.
  • St. Helena Hospital: “Do Not Drink Water” notice for hospital water system pending bacterial results on Monday August 25, 2014.


  • As of 08/24/14 at 0630 hours, there are no specific reports of damage related to the earthquake.
  • Per standard protocol, a damage assessment is ongoing and updates will be provided by DWR.
  • Due to the earthquake, Department of Water Resources (DWR) Flood Operations Center asks that local reclamation districts initiate appropriate inspection activities on their levees and report any damage or concerns through the SEMS process to their Operational Area.


  • Refineries all clear.
  • Pipelines clear.
  • Marine terminals all clear.


Per the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Rail Safety Program:

  • Union Pacific inspected tracks and no issues reported.
  • Burlingame Northern Santa Fe Freight Railway opened most tracks. No issues reported. Two subdivisions have not yet been opened because they still need to have the bridges inspected.
  • CA Northern Railroad – No damage reported. Track inspections are being conducted.
  • Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) – No trains running until at least Tuesday.
  • Napa Valley Railroad: Heavy damage to Napa Station. No trains running until inspections are performed.
  • As of last night, 08/24/14, Amtrak was back to full operation.

Schools Status/Closures

  • All Napa County schools continue to be closed.

Important numbers to note:

  • Life Threatening Emergency- 911
  • Napa County Sheriff and City of Napa Police/Non-Emergency- 707-257-9223
  • Napa County Fire/Cal-Fire- 707-967-4207
  • PG & E- 1-800-743-5000
  • Red Cross- 707-257-2900
  • Volunteer Center- 707-252-6222
  • Napa Valley Unified School District- 707-253-3715

The United States Geological Society has indicated a 54 percent likelihood of a Magnitude 5 and larger for the next 7 days. While there is no guarantee of large aftershocks within that timeframe, today’s quake highlights the importance of taking action and preparing for such disasters.

Cal OES offers many helpful resources to help you and your family prepare for a quake at Most importantly, families should understand what disaster risks exist where they live, work, and play; work to create a family emergency plan; and build an emergency kit with enough food, water, and supplies to sustain every member of your household (including pets) for a minimum of 72 hours.

The American Red Cross also offers a free Earthquake mobile app for your mobile device, which offers preparedness tips and information as well as alerts and notifications of earthquake activity.

To learn how you can help volunteer or donate please visit CaliforniaVolunteers

For updated information on ongoing earthquake response efforts, please visit and follow Cal OES on Facebook and  You may also visit for more information. And to receive automatic updates, please register at

Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Coordinating to Support Local Jurisdictions Impacted by the 6.0 Earthquake in American Canyon, Napa County

SACRAMENTO – Early this morning the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) activated its State Operations Center (SOC), and the Coastal Regional Emergency Operations Center, to dispatch state resources and provide assistance to Napa county after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the small community of American Canyon at 3:20 AM.

Cal OES is working to coordinate and dispatch state resources such as mutual aid fire engines, urban search and rescue teams and other specialty equipment needed.

Minutes after the earthquake, the 24-hour California State Warning Center in Sacramento contacted the regional warning points and has confirmed 911 lines in the impacted area are working. However, officials stress the importance of not calling 9-1-1 unless there’s an immediate need for police, fire or ambulance.

“We’re concerned about the immediate needs of those affected by this earthquake and want to make sure we can get them help as quickly as possible.” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “People in the impacted area should anticipate aftershocks and take steps now to prepare.”

Officials recommend residents not impacted secure items in their home that could pose a danger if they fall and identify a person outside of your immediate area to contact family members who are separated is a critical component in any family emergency plan. When local phone lines are congested, and out of state contact can facilitate family communication and reunion. For more information about this event, and emergency preparedness, please visit .


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