This program is about disasters and power shut offs. And, it’s about NEW OPTIONS to help you — options that came about after an uproar from of the disability community.
We talk with Sydney Pickern about who is responsible for the safety of people with disabilities during disaster events. And, what you can do personally to prepare yourself and help other people with disabilities survive.
Dixie, Monument, Caldor, McFarland, French, Black Butte, Devils Knob Complex, Green Ridge, Jack, Rough Patch Complex, Cedar Creek, Cub Creek, Schneider Springs, Summit Trail & Walker Creek. These are the names of the major fires burning along the West Coast today.
As you read this, 18 thousand Californians are evacuated from their homes, including many with disabilities. Many more are packed and ready to flee. Other disabled people, including homeless people, have no choice but to live and breathe the smoke from those fires.
If you don’t live near a fire today, you could find one burning near you tomorrow. There’s no escaping the effects of the climate crisis. So, let’s figure out what to do to protect ourselves.
Our guest, Sydney Pickern, has been in the heart of this year’s fire season. She’s the manager for the Disability Disaster Access & Resources Program (D-DAR) at the California Federation of Independent Living Centers (CFLIC).
Her background includes legal work to increase access to local emergency planning and response programs; as well as legislative and regulatory advocacy at the California Public Utilities Commission. She lives with a significant physical disability and her passion is disability rights, especially at the intersection of race and climate emergencies.
- Fill out the 2021 Disaster & Emergency Readiness Survey
- Has your Local Independent Living Center offered an Emergency Preparedness session? If not, call them to ask for one.
- Fill out the D-DAR Power Safety Shutoff Resources Application
- Consider Joining Twice a Month Strategy & Planning Calls of the California Disaster Coalition, Contact CFLIC for details
- Check out the Disability Disaster Access & Resources Directory
- Contact your local Utility (P.G. & E in Northern California) for low income and medical support options
Produced and Hosted by Adrienne Lauby with assistance from Shelley Berman.
More about Sydney Pickern
Sydney Pickern joined CFILC in June 2021 as the Disability Disaster Manager for the Disability Disaster Access and Resources (DDAR) program. She previously worked as an Equal Justice Works fellow and staff attorney with Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) to improve access to accessible housing, address barriers to homelessness assistance programs, and increase access to local emergency planning and response programs. Sydney also has experience related to the California Public Utilities Commission planned power outage regulatory proceeding and has been involved in legislative efforts in this area. She is also a member of the CalOES Access and Functional Needs Advisory Committee and is extremely passionate about disability rights especially at the intersection of race and climate emergencies.
Sydney also has a significant physical disability, her pronouns are she/they, and she identifies as a queer person. In her off time, she can be found in swimming pools, coffee-related situations, playing with her poodle Merv and working on her chess game. Some of Sydney’s favorite movies and tv series are the Science of Sleep, the Darjeeling Limited, Succession, and High Fidelity. She also has a degree in Creative Writing and hopes to rekindle her love of literature soon.