How to Prepare
It is important that Santa Barbara County residents are knowledgeable on the seasonal and daily fire danger which exists throughout the year. There are resources available for easy reference to give you a sense of the likelihood of a wildfire occurring on any given day, so you can be prepared before it starts. The Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center (OSCC) provides a weekly, monthly, and seasonal outlook for Southern California HERE. Locally, Santa Barbara County Fire provides a Daily Fire Danger Rating. Residents need to have extra vigilance during the peak of the fire season or on days with “Red Flag Warnings” designating Extreme wildfire conditions are present or expected to occur over the next 24 hours.
Create a Wildfire Action Plan
In addition to educating yourself on the current fire conditions, having a prepared Wildfire Action Plan that is understood by all family members, will help you be prepared when an emergency occurs.
The plan should include:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community to a designated safe meeting spot (i.e. a local school, large shopping center, etc.)
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
- A Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster).
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit as recommended by the American Red Cross.
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
- Keep an extra emergency supply kit in your car in case you cannot get to your home because of a fire or another emergency.
- Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.
- Tell your neighbors about Ready, Set, Go!, your Wildfire Action Plan, and how to register to receive emergency alerts in Santa Barbara County.
The Six “P’s”
Keep these Six “P’s” ready in case immediate evacuation is required:
- People and pets
- Papers, phones, phone numbers, and important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
- Personal computer hard drive and disks
- “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash
Prepare Your Family
Evacuation plans for families with young children should include helping toddlers understand how to quickly respond in case of fire, and how adults can escape with babies.
There are resources that offer guides and tips for families with young children about fire safety and preparing for a disaster.
- Keeping Kids Safe from Fire – reviews and collects resources for you to use to keep children safe from fire.
- Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies – Sesame Workshop campaign with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies.
- Ready Kids! – FEMA’s site for older kids to prepare and plan for a disaster. Includes safety steps, tips, and games to help children learn about and be ready for an emergency.
- Ready Kids! – Explore fun activities, games, to teach kids about protecting our forests.
Seniors and people with disabilities also need special consideration when preparing for a disaster. Below are several resources that help individuals and families with special needs plan and prepare for emergencies.
- Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors – an American Red Cross booklet designed by, and for, older adults to prepare them for a sudden emergency.
- Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities – American Red Cross Disaster Services booklet with information and resources to help people with physical, visual, auditory, or cognitive disabilities design a personal disaster plan.
- Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations – the Inclusive Preparedness Center (IPC) works to include everyone in emergency planning, response, and recovery – particularly those more vulnerable to widespread disasters and fires in the home.
Fire Safety for People with Disabilities – a collection of resources from the US Fire Administration used to help keep people with disabilities safe from home fires.