“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
The following resources will help you prepare for natural disasters:
GET EMERGENCY ALERTS!
Aware & Prepare: In Santa Barbara County, residents can receive Aware & Prepare alerts and updates via text messages, emails, and cellular and landline phone calls. To receive these messages, go to readysbc.org, click the red “Register for Alerts” box, and provide the necessary information. If you need help signing up, call 805-681-5526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nixle: This information service operates nationwide, coordinating with local public-safety agencies to send alerts via text messages and social media. To sign up, simply text your zip code to 888777.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA, pronounced “wee-uh”): A federal public-messaging tool that allows residents with certain wireless phones and other mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages that warn of imminent safety threats. You don’t need to sign up for WEA ― cell phone companies volunteer to participate in the system. Check with yours to see if they do.
Emergency Alert System (EAS): EAS messages are transmitted via radio and television by participating broadcasters. They contain an audio message and/or scrolling text. You don’t have to sign up to receive these types of alerts, but you do need to be tuned into a local TV channel or radio station to get them.
The National Weather Service (NWS) sends out four different types of alerts related to flooding. Know the differences:
- Flood Advisory: Issued when flooding may become a nuisance or significant inconvenience. Be aware.
- Flood Watch: Issued when conditions are more favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible. Be prepared.
- Flood Warning: Issued when serious flooding is imminent or occurring. Take action.
- Flash Flood Warning: Issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. Take action.
Santa Barbara’s Office of Emergency Management often rebroadcasts these messages.
- ReadySBC.org: The clearinghouse for all official county information. It contains a ton of resources, from guides to maps to important phone numbers and addresses. Whether you’re in the mode of disaster prep or recovery, all roads lead to ReadySBC.org.
- SantaBarbaraCA.gov: The City of Santa Barbara’s Office of Emergency Services features helpful suggestions on assembling supply kits, preparing your business, shutting off utilities, and so on.
- RedCross.org: Perhaps your best source for general health and safety information in crisis situations. Be sure to search through the Central California Region section as well.
- Ready.gov: The Department of Homeland Security’s user-friendly site focused entirely on helping you prepare yourself and your family for any type of disaster.
- EarthquakeCountry.org: The in-depth website for the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), a public-private partnership of people, organizations, and regional associations devoted to helping residents get ready for and survive the next Big One.
HAVE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!
After a major disaster, there will likely be delays in services, including the arrival of first responders to your neighborhood. Expect to be on your own for at least 72 hours, with a cache of water, food, clothing, and related supplies assembled and easy to access. Here’s a good guide on how to build your emergency supply kit.
HAVE A PLAN!
When disaster strikes, you and each member of your household should have a plan on what to do and, if separated, where to meet. If you have to evacuate your home, know where you are going to go. Have a backup plan, as well.
PETS NEED A PLAN TOO!
- County Animal Services*: (805) 681-5285; countyofsb.org
- County Animal Services Emergency Hotline: (805) 681-4332
- Santa Barbara Humane Society*: (805) 964-4777; sbhumanesociety.org
- Santa Barbara Humane Society Emergency Hotline: (805) 330-3330
- City of Santa Barbara Animal Control*: (805) 963-1513; santabarbaraca.gov
- Earl Warren Showgrounds*: (805) 687-0766; earlwarren.com
- B.U.N.S. (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter)*: (805) 683-0521; bunssb.org
- VCA Care Specialty and Emergency Animal Hospital: (805) 899-2273; vcahospitals.com/care
- Advanced Veterinary Specialists: (805) 729-4460; avs4pets.com
(*Offers emergency boarding services)
Santa Barbara Humane Society’s Lost & Found hotline at (805) 681-5285 or after business hours at (805) 564-6862.
Report lost pets online through Santa Barbara County Animal Services at countyofsb.org.
When the power is out and the internet is down, a radio may be your last hope for receiving critical information. The county partners with a network of Radio Ready stations to broadcast emergency notices with the help of generators and satellite equipment. Be sure you own a hand-crank or battery-operated radio, and keep extra batteries handy.
- Santa Barbara/South Coast ― KCLU 88.3 and 102.3; KOSJ 94.1; KTYD 99.9
- Santa Maria ― KCLU 89.7 and 92.1; KCBX 99.5
- Lompoc ― KCBX 95.1
- Santa Ynez/Solvang ― KCBX 90.9; KSYV 96.7; KRAZ 105.9
- Countywide ― KSPE 94.5; KIST 107.7 *Spanish
- Santa Barbara/South Coast ― KOSJ 1490; KZSB 1290; KCLU 1340
- Santa Maria ― KTMS 990; KUHL 1440
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR): NWR is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. To receive the Santa Barbara County broadcast, tune your weather radio to the SAME code 006083.
Santa Barbara news agencies report on emergencies and frequently re-broadcast official county messages. Here are the region’s most trusted sources:
Television: KEYT (Channel 3), KSBY (Channel 6), KKFX (Channel 11), and KCOY (Channel 12)
Radio: KCLU (FM 88.3), KDRW (FM 88.7), KCSB (FM91.9), KIST (FM 107.7 *Spanish)
DO YOU LIVE IN AN EVACUATION “RED ZONE”?
Santa Barbara County has an evacuation map that pinpoints properties in “red zones” at risk for flooding and debris flows. This interactive map is online at readysbc.org/maps/. Search your street addresses to see if your property has been deemed at-risk.
As big rainstorms approach, people in “red zones” may be asked to evacuate. Santa Barbara County uses its “Ready! Set! Go!” initiative to notify the public.
READY: The first stage of a potential evacuation is a WEATHER ADVISORY, which will be issued 48-72 hours before the arrival of the storm. This advisory is the County Office of Emergency Management alerting the community to the storm. Be aware: Closely monitor the storm and have a plan if you’re asked to evacuate.
SET: The next step is the EVACUATION WARNING, issued 24-48 hours before the storm. Prepare to leave; arrange transportation for you, your family, and, if necessary, large animals; make arrangements for family members with special needs; confirm your evacuation plan; gather items you’d like to take with you. Check on your neighbors.
GO: Within 24 hours of the arrival of a storm that could pose a risk to life or property, the Sheriff’s Office will issue an EVACUATION ORDER, which means it’s time to evacuate if you are in a “red zone.” People who refuse to comply will not be forcibly removed from their homes, but they should not expect rescue or other lifesaving assistance, according to county officials. Flooding and debris flows may close down transportation routes for several days; if you choose to stay, you may become stranded in the disaster area.
REMEMBER: If at any time you feel unsafe, take immediate action and do not wait for a notification to evacuate. Officials may only be able to alert the public with just a few minutes’ notice, or none at all.
Twitter is often the most timely social media tool in a disaster. Here are the accounts to follow:
- Office of Emergency Management (@SBCountyOEM)
- County of Santa Barbara (@countyofsb)
- County of Santa Barbara *Spanish (@csbenespanol)
- Santa Barbara County Fire Department (@SBCOUNTYFIRE)
- Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office (@sbsheriff)
- National Weather Service, Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles)
- CHP Coastal Division (@CHP_Coastal)