Disaster Service Worker

All County of Lake employees are Disaster Service Workers and may be called upon by their managers, supervisors or other superiors to perform wither their regular job duties or alternate Disaster Service Worker duties during a disaster.

Under California law Title I, Section 3100 of the California Government Code, all public employees are designated as Disaster Service Workers (DSW’s). This includes cities, counties, and state employees. In the event of a disaster, the County is authorized by law to carry out activities that protect its citizens and resources.

Disaster Service Worker April 2023

Lake County Office of Emergency Services (OES)

The Lake County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services ("Lake County OES", "Sheriff's OES" or "OES") is the lead agency for local emergency management for the County of Lake as defined by the Lake County Board of Supervisors (BOS) in Chapter 6, Article I of the Lake County Code. Its mission is to enhance the resilience of Lake County (the Operational Area) in the face of disaster.  

The Lake County Sheriff's OES meets its mission through activities focused on mitigation, preparation, response and recovery.

For more information go please go to the OES website or email at lakesheriffoes@lakecountyca.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What does disaster service mean? 

Disaster service means all activities authorized by and carried out pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act, to aid in the response and recovery phases of a disaster or emergency, including approved and documented training necessary or proper to engage in such activities.

Who is classified as a Disaster Service Worker?

All employees are required to serve as DSWs if called to do so. Currently, high-risk employees (age 65 or over, or with a documented susceptibility to COVID-19) will only be required to perform duties remotely. When selecting DSWs, departments should weigh the current assignments, schedules, and individual employee needs (e.g., child care, care for others) and statutory leaves.

Disaster Service Worker 1What does being a Disaster Service Worker mean to me?

As a Disaster Service Worker you may be asked to carry on with your work as usual, or you may be asked to do something completely different than your everyday job. There are many different ways to assist during a disaster because each situation is unique. You may be assigned and trained to do a specific disaster response job such as working in the Emergency Operations Center; you may be called upon to assist your Department or other Departments with their response efforts; or you may be assisting nonprofit disaster response agencies such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

If I am a worker with a disability, would there need to be an accessibility review of my (potential) worksite and roles/responsibilities before I can be assigned to disaster duties?

All accommodation is made for personnel with disabilities or others with access and functional needs, keeping safety in mind when assigning duties deemed to be within their “normal scope of work”.

What about my family? 

Every effort will be made to permit you time to check on and secure the safety of your family. It is possible; however, that you may be required to remain at work for an extended period of time, or to immediately report-in following a disaster. Prior to leaving the worksite to check on family you must coordinate with your supervisor or DSW manager to agree on a time for return and to ensure connectivity and safety. 

What happens if an employee declines to serve as a DSW?

Depending on the circumstances, an employee may be able to use available leave balances or may be granted leave at the department's discretion.

Since all County employees are DSWs, disciplinary action could result if an employee is able to serve an assignment and refuses to show up.

What if I share a household with a vulnerable person but am activated as a DSW in contact with the public?

The County is sympathetic to the fact that many, if not most, of our employees are concerned about the possibility of transmitting infection from work to home (or from other public places, such as the grocery store, gas station, etc.). However, each County employee has the legal obligation to perform DSW work if called upon to do so. Take as many precautions as you can and work out concerns with your supervisor.

How are DSW hours recorded on my timesheet?

DSW work is generally paid at straight time rate – even if the employee is working a schedule outside other their normal schedule – unless the employee is eligible for overtime. For most exempt County employees, overtime is paid after 40 hours/week.

How do supervisors know where their employees are when assigned as DSWs?

Supervisors can check with the EOC or with their department and may require their employees to report back their DSW assignments for tracking purposes.

How will a DSW assignment be conveyed to an employee?

Most likely, an employee will be reached by phone. Employees must respond promptly to calls or voicemails.

All employees must remain available during their normal shifts, whether they are working on-site or telecommuting. EmDisaster Service Worker 2ployees may be required, as circumstances develop, to remain available at all times.

How do employees get assigned to specific types of DSW work? What if I would rather be activated in a different DSW role? 

DSW assignments are made by the EOC or by the department, to meet demand. If an employee has special skills, the employee may report those skills to their DSW lead (e.g., the person directing the employee's DSW activities).

What workplace protections or personal protective equipment (PPE) do DSWs receive when they report?

The County will adhere to public health guidelines.

What if I am injured while performing my assigned duties as a Disaster Service Worker?

DSW’s who are injured while participating in authorized disaster-related activities are covered by Workers Compensation Insurance.