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FAQOffice of Emergency Services

What is an EOC?

An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a physical (e.g., a conference room) or virtual (e.g., telephone conference call) location designed to support emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications activities. Staff meets at the EOC to manage preparations for an impending event or manage the response to an ongoing incident. By gathering the decision makers together and supplying them with the most current information, better decisions can be made. The EOC supports the following incident management functions.

Activation -Bringing knowledge and expertise together to deal with events that threaten the community

Situation Analysis -Gather information to determine what is happening and to identify potential impacts

Incident Briefing - Efficiently share information among EOC staff members

Incident Action Plan - Provide a single point for decision-making and decide on a course of action for the current situation

Resource Management - Provide a single point of contact to identify, procure and allocate resources

Incident Management -Monitor actions, capture event data and adjust strategies as needed

An EOC is not an on-scene incident command post (ICP) - where the focus is on tactics to deal with the immediate situation. An EOC is used to support on-scene activities through the prioritization of activities and the allocation of available resources. A major function within the EOC is communications between the emergency response team, EOC staff, and Policy/Management Group.

Where is the EOC located?

The primary location for the EOC is Fire Station 1, 121 W. Carrillo Street, Santa Barbara. The secondary, or back up, EOC is located at the Airport Administration Building, 601 Firestone Road, Goleta. 

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. However, the City's Office of Emergency Management also has a Bilingual Public Outreach Coordinator who can present on emergency related topics, such as, Community Disaster Education, CERT, Listos, Fire Extinguisher traning and more. All outreach presenations are giving in both English and Spanish and is culturally relevant. 

Does the City have a disaster plan?

The City does have an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that is reviewed annually and updated every 5 years. The EOCdoes 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 the EOP 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, field responders and other jurisdictions.

The EOP:

  • 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 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.

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 staff the EOC? What kind of training do they receive?

Approximately 30 City staff could staff the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). All EOC staff is given training, through discussions, table top, functional, or full scale exercises. The Office of Emergency Services is required to conduct and maintain records of all staff trained in EOC procedures.

What does "shelter-in-place" mean?

The term, Shelter-in-Place, means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate the area. Shelter-in-Place should only be used when an evacuation is not safe. Certain events may necessitate the initiation to Shelter-in-Place.


First responders will make the decision to Shelter-in-Place. Once the decision has been made, residents will be instructed to Shelter-in-Place.


Examples of instances when the Shelter-in-Place protocol may be used are:

  • Hazardous Materials Incident that include chemical, biological or radiological materials that may have been released into the atmosphere, either accidentally or intentionally, Sheltering-in-Place may be the preferred method of safely to wait out the release.
  • The following recommendations should be considered:

o   Move to rooms with no windows that can open or are open

o   Rooms that have little or no ventilation are preferred

o   Close any open windows and doors if you cannot move

o   Only come out when you are told that it is safe

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.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2013
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