Whether it’s a wildfire, earthquake, or flood having an emergency plan is key, but that can sometimes be difficult for people who do not speak English.
“Police were giving instructors to evacuate or to do this and do that in English and sometimes our community doesn’t speak English or the English we know doesn’t include those words," said Cecilia Herrera, a Listos state instructor.
That’s where the nonprofit, Listos, comes in.
The organization was founded in Santa Barabra. Listos was first created in Spanish and tailored to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking communities and create a more accessible environment.
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“Breaking that myth that you have to spend a lot of money to have an emergency kit and that is not the case. You don’t have to skip on paying rent or skip on paying groceries to have an emergency kit," said Cecilia.
Herrera has been a Listos instructor since 2012. She created a bond with the organization.
Her son has special needs and she would often worry about what would happen to him if disaster struck and they were not together.
Quickly that changed after attending classes and later becoming a Listos instructor.
“Learning how to use the fire extinguisher, how to turn off the utilities, how to take care of the injured people and became a different person very empowered," explained Herrera.
The organization offers free classes in which all the instructors are volunteers helping the community learn about hazards, shutting off utilities, how to treat injured people, what to prepare in their emergency kit, and so much more.
“The information has come in handy. Not just for me but I’ve also seen it in people who were prepared for wildfires where their homes didn’t burn because they hardened them against wildfires," said John Spooner, North County program manager.
Listos held its first class in San Luis Obispo County almost a week ago and said they are working to hold more free classes in the future.
More information can be found here.