For Information, call 211

10 Steps to Protect Yourself Now

10 Steps to Protect Yourself Now 

The intensity of the Thomas Fire left our mountains with little or no vegetation to prevent the slopes from sliding. With the immediate approach of winter storms, the threat of flash floods and debris flows is now 10 times greater in your community than before the fire – they can happen with little or no warning. Officials may only be able to alert the public with just a few minutes notice, or none at all. It is imperative that you understand the seriousness of the situation and are prepared. Do not delay in taking action to protect you, your family and your property.

We recommend that you take the following actions now:

  1. Sign up for emergency alerts at (click here to register).
  2. Monitor weather reports and consider your safety risk when a weather advisory is issued.
  3. Be prepared to leave before roads, creeks and waterways are flowing, or go to a neighbor on high ground or shelter in-place.
  4. Know all your local access roads and understand that some may be blocked by debris. Have an alternate plan or route. Mudslides can occur even days after a storm when the ground is saturated.
  5. NEVER drive or walk into floodwaters or go around barricades. It is impossible to know how deep the water is just by looking at it.
  6. Consider installing sandbags, straw wattles (rolled erosion control netting filled with straw), and other methods to divert water and reduce erosion on your property. Santa Barbara County Public Works offers sandbags.
    For locations and information, call County Flood Control at (805) 568-3440 or go to
  7. Refer to the Homeowner Guide to Flood Prevention and Response (español).
  8. Flood Insurance: Most homeowners insurance does not cover floods from natural disasters. Make sure your home is protected. Refer to  Flood After Fire ( español).
  9. Have an Emergency Plan and a Disaster Kit ready to go. For more information, read the additional resources here as  the  Debris Flow Survival Guide  ( español).
  10. Our Public Works Department has much more information on storm preparedness.

Contact The County

105 E. Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: 211