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FAQOffice of Emergency Services

What is an EOC?

The Emergency Operation Center (EOC) is a secure facility where City department heads are able to work in the event of a large disaster. The EOC allows for City departments to work closely together to support the incident and make recovery more efficient for the community.

Where is the EOC located?

The EOC is located at Fire Station 1, 121 W. Carrillo Street.

121 W. Carrillo Street

Santa Barbara
CA 93101

Is there someone who can make a presentation to my group or organization?

The Emergency Manager is available to provide presentations on many topics at no charge to the neighborhood groups or organizations throughout the City. Presentations include topics such as preparedness for earthquakes, floods, fire, terrorist attacks, etc.

Does the City have a disaster plan?

Yes. The Emergency Management Plan (EMP) for the City of Santa Barbara addresses the planned response to extraordinary emergency situations associated with natural disasters, technological and intentional incidents, and national security emergencies in or affecting the City.  This plan does not address normal day-to-day emergencies or the well-established and routine procedures used in coping with such emergencies. Instead, the operational concepts reflected in this plan focus on potential large-scale disasters which can generate unique situations requiring expanded emergency responses. Effective response requires that the City of Santa Barbara Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff remember to communicate, collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate with each other and with the field responders and other jurisdictions.

The EMP:

  • Is a preparedness document designed to be read, understood, and exercised prior to an emergency;
  • Designed to include the City of Santa Barbara as part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the California Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS). For area wide emergencies, such as a major earthquake or fire, it integrates with the Santa Barbara County Operational Area response.
  • Establishes the emergency management organization required to respond to and mitigate any significant emergency or disaster affecting the City;
  • Identifies the policies, responsibilities and procedures required to protect the health and safety of the City community, public and private property, and the environmental effects of natural, incidental, and technological  disasters; and
  • Establishes the operational concepts and procedures associated with field response to emergencies, the City’s EOC activities, and the recovery process.

This Plan establishes the framework for implementation of SEMS and NIMS in the City of Santa Barbara. This Plan is intended to facilitate multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional coordination in emergency operations, particularly between the City of Santa Barbara, Special Districts, and the Santa Barbara County Operational Area.

This document is a concept of operations guide. It is also a planning reference. City departments and governmental and non-governmental agencies that have roles and responsibilities identified in this Plan will develop Standard Operating Procedures or Guidelines (SOP/SOGs) with checklists based on the provisions of this Plan. This Plan will be used in conjunction with the State of California Emergency Plan and the National Response Plan during incidents of National Significance.

What is disaster preparedness?

Disaster preparedness is preplanning before a disaster happens. You can start by having a disaster kit for your home, job and go kit for your car. You can also have an emergency plan that is shared with your family and friends. For more information on Disaster Preparedness go to

What types of disasters could occur in the Santa Barbara area?

The City of Santa Barbara is most vulnerable to floods, fires, and earthquakes. In terms of natural disasters, tsunamis, droughts, and high winds, could also affect the City. Also, situations such as civil unrest, terrorism and energy shortages could occur.

How many people work in OES? What kind of training do they receive?

The Office of Emergency Services has one full-time Emergency Manager. However, there are over 30 City staff that could staff the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) if necessary. Extensive training is given to all City Staff on the procedures within the EOC. The EOC Manager is required to conduct and maintain records of all staff training in the EOC.

What do you do when there is no emergency?

During non-events, the EOC staff is responsible for maintaining the readiness of the City for all emergencies. In order to do this the OES Manager and EOC Staff work on various plans, presentations, and training on a continuous basis. The EOC also plan yearly exercises for the EOC.

Where are the nearest bomb and fallout shelters?

Bomb and fallout shelters were the direct result of the fear of nuclear war in the 1950s and 60s. With the decline of the Cold War, the need for these shelters has disappeared. The City has developed extensive emergency plans and resources to ensure a coordinated response to any disaster, including a terrorist event. The best thing to do in such a situation is to listen to the radio or television for any information such as the location of any shelter, if established, or advising the need to shelter-in-place.

What do you mean by "shelter-in-place?"

For some natural or technological disasters, you may be directed by local officials to go to a community shelter for safety purposes. For others, you might be told to shelter-in-place, which is intended to keep you safe while remaining indoors.

To shelter-in-place means to select a small, interior room with no or few windows and taking refuge there. An above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, or copy and conference rooms without exterior windows work well. Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. There is no need to seal off your entire home or office with duct tape and plastic sheeting.

It is important to remember that instructions to shelter-in-place mean for you to shelter for a few hours, not days or weeks. There is little danger that the room in which you are taking shelter will run out of oxygen and you will suffocate in less than a day. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe.

Should I buy a gas mask?

There is no need for a gas mask. Gas masks were developed for soldiers who have to remain in a specific area. Biological and radiological agents, which are airborne, are vapors, not gasses. Vapors immediately begin to dissipate once they are released. When you leave an area, the risk of being affected by a vapor diminishes, so you can leave an area and leave the risk behind.

Chemical gasses need to be delivered in large quantities in order to kill or cause injuries. If you smell a vapor or gas, remember to stay calm. If you panic, you have the tendency to breathe faster and therefore will breathe more of the biological, radiological, or chemical agent. Listen to local radio and television broadcasts for information if an airborne attack occurs.

Should I start storing food, water, medical supplies, clothing, etc.?

It makes good sense to store food, water, and medical supplies as well as duct tape and plastic sheeting. Natural disasters can occur at any time and the City encourages you to do all you can to be prepared for all types of hazards. Why not be ready?

What is the City of Santa Barbara doing about terrorist attacks?

The City is involved with the County Operational Area Terrorism Working Group, which is a multi-jurisdictional group whose responsibilities are to develop terrorism emergency response plans and training. The Police Department continually assesses threats to determine if they are credible. The City has been very pro-active in its terrorist planning.

Will the City take care of its residents in the event of a disaster?

City resources will most likely be overwhelmed following a disaster. Residents are encouraged to stock auxiliary supplies, prepare a family plan, and be ready to be on their own for at least 72 hours and up to five days following a disaster or significant event.

Where can I obtain emergency preparedness information?

Preparedness literature is available at the Main Fire Station as well as at the following websites.

121 West Carrillo Street

Santa Barbara
CA 93101

What can I do to prepare for an earthquake?

Identify potential hazards in your home or building and begin to fix them. Create a disaster plan and disaster supply kits. More information can be found at Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country.

If City residents were asked to evacuate, where should we go?

In the event of an evacuation order, the City, with assistance from the County Operational Area and the Red Cross, will activate an Evacuation Center/Emergency shelter where residents can receive information and emergency services. City facilities and public schools have been pre-identified as potential sites and will be activated according to the size and location of the emergency evacuation.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2013