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By Henrietta J. Burroughs
East Palo Alto Today
Posted on March 11, 2011

Bay Area residents, who are concerned about the local impact of tsunami waves resulting from the earthquake in Japan this week are asked to call the 211 helpline, especially if they need information about shelter, evacuation centers and information related to check points for boats in their areas.

Helen Rosen, who is the vice president of operations for United Way’s 211 call centers, said: “Our 211 Bay Area call center is actively communicating today with the Offices of Emergency Services for Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, so that we can provide residents with the most current information about evacuation areas, road closings and other coastal warnings.”

Residents, seeking information are being asked to save the 911 emergency number for life-threatening emergencies only.

Rosen said the 211 Bay Area helpline is providing critical information to local residents; thus relieving 911 operators from answering non-emergency calls.   

“211 providers all along the California coast are also providing information to residents in their areas, including call centers in Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma and Ventura counties,” she said.

All callers seeking information need to know that the 211 helpline is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day in more than 150 languages. Residents who cannot dial 211 are asked to call 800-273-6222 to reach a local 211 call center. For the hearing impaired, dial 711 or 415-808-4440 (TTY).

Rosen said that the 211 phone lines have been quite busy throughout the day, with calls from people seeking quake information.

For additional information related to this article, see the video excerpt:
The launch of 211





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