Public Safety

County Offers Emergency Information in Spanish, American Sign Language

Imagine you are flipping the channels on television and you recognize your neighborhood on the news. A fire or law enforcement official is warning residents of an approaching wildfire. Now imagine you don’t speak English very well. You think you can pick out some words like “evacuation,” but otherwise you can’t tell how close the fire is to you or if you are being asked to go now or to just be prepared to evacuate.

According to the United States Census, more than 1 million Hispanics reside in San Diego County. If you are one of the approximately 350,000 people who only speak Spanish in San Diego County, you can now go to the County’s new, free Spanish SD Emergency App or website for emergency information in Spanish. The new app and website were just launched by the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. The new offerings mirror the County’s successful English-version app, which has been downloaded 170,000 times, and the site which was viewed 2.4 million times during the May 2014 Wildfires.

“This is something I’ve been actively pursuing because we want to reach as many people as possible in an emergency,” said County Supervisor Greg Cox. “These critical, new services will get life-saving information to a large segment of the County’s population.”

The new, accompanying Spanish language versions of ReadySanDiego, SDCountyEmergency and the SDCountyRecovery websites are also available at  and offer the same preparedness tips and recovery resources as the English sites. The Spanish SD Emergency app can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play stores at no cost via links on Just choose between English or Spanish when first opening the app. The language can also be changed at any time through the app’s settings. During regional emergencies or potential large scale disasters, the County’s Emergency Operations Center will send messages to the site and app with critical information pertaining to the emergency incident, including evacuation routes, shelter information and major road closures.

The Office of Emergency Services has also upgraded its SDCountyEmergency website and app to benefit hearing and vision impaired residents. Emergency messages are available in American Sign Language in video accompanied by audio and the English and Spanish versions of the app offer customizable text size.

Future upgrades to the SD Emergency app are expected as we continue to improve the app. If your smartphone isn’t set to automatically receive app upgrades, remember to check periodically to make sure you have the latest version.

“We want all residents to have the information they need to make good decisions in an emergency situation and we think this is especially important today due to the historic drought and the potentially dangerous fire season,” said Holly Crawford, director of the County Office of Emergency Services.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact