YOLO (CBS13) – From natural disasters to a crisis with your kids, a free phone service in Yolo County is hoping to help.

It’s as simple as dialing 211 to get connected to the resources you need.

It’s a free, around-the-clock, phone service operating every day of the year to help when there’s a crisis in the community.

You can get help on anything from a terrorist attack, a crisis in your home, to even an out of control child.

Yolo County will join 27 counties across California with a 211 call service.

The free program started 12 years ago as a back up to the 911 emergency system.

“Nine-one-one is not always reliable, so it’s good to have a backup system,” said West Sacramento resident Christine Yates.

It took Yolo County years to set it up, according to a county representative, because of the volume of paper work required, hundreds of local resources that had to be confirmed, training for call center employees and locating funding sources.

“We are up to standard, but it has taken us a while to get there,” said Adelita Serena, Yolo County.

The Yolo County service will feature languages including Chinese and Russian to direct residents when disaster strikes.

On an average day, the most common calls are coming in from residents stressing about their bills.

“Financial assistance for rent; financial assistant for a utility bill,” said Bob Diercks, a call center manager.

However, some people are looking for answers to less complicated issues.

“It would be great to call that number up and be able to ask simple questions about anything,” said Heather Brown of West Sacramento.

Sacramento County and Stanislaus County already have a 211 system in place. A system is in the works for Placer County.


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