Preparing for Winter Storms

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   December 13, 2018

This Sunday, December 15, volunteers will be going door-to-door in Montecito to talk to residents living in the debris flow risk zone. Last week, the Office of Emergency Management announced that the interactive map designating areas at risk from a debris flow below the Thomas, Whittier, and Sherpa burn areas in Santa Barbara County has been updated for this winter’s storm season and posted at (see Village Beat, MJ #24/49).

The new risk map has been revised to reflect the most up-to-date scientific research and data gathered following the 1/9 debris flow; the map update focused on the watershed draining to the developed areas of Montecito and Carpinteria. According to County reps, about 1,500 properties are identified as being in the risk area. With more storms on the horizon, it is imperative that residents know if they should evacuate if a storm meets the .8-inch per hour rain threshold. In the event of a rapidly developing storm with little to no warning, residents living in the risk areas should have a plan to protect themselves and their family if it is not safe to evacuate. This can include going to a neighbor who lives on higher ground or sheltering in place.

In an effort to ensure everyone residing in the risk area is notified, the Storm Risk Management Team, County Search & Rescue, the cities of Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, and the Montecito Fire Protection District are coordinating a door-to-door campaign in Carpinteria, Montecito, and Coast Village Road. The campaign will also serve as preparation and training for Search & Rescue in the event of a future evacuation of these properties.

Habitat for Humanity and the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group (MERRAG) are coordinating the large volunteer effort needed to support this outreach. Search & Rescue will be running the operation, assigning teams of two to three individuals. The door-to-door deliveries will include bilingual emergency preparedness packets, with information on evacuations, disaster preparedness, and information about Aware & Prepare, the County’s emergency notification system. 

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