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Before the Fire

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Read on for information on how you can be prepared before the threat of a wildfire.

  • Create Your Own Wildfire Action Plan with Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s “Ready, Set, Go” program
    • Ready! Prepare yourself, your family and your property.
    • Set! Monitor fire weather / activity and prepare to evacuate.
    • Go! Leave early and when directed by public safety officials        



  • Protect Your Home

    • Create a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around your home by clearing items that will burn from around your house (i.e. woodpiles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc.)

    • Make sure your home is a fire safe structure; this is dependent on the location of the structure, building materials and design features, and management of nearby vegetation.

    • Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.

    • Use fire-resistant (or noncombustible) materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or other combustible materials used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals.

    • Regularly clean roof and gutters.

    • Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester.

    • Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.

    • Keep household items handy that can be used as fire tools: rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.

    • Keep a ladder that will reach your roof.

    • Post your address so that it is visible from the street.

Defensible Space

defensible-space -cal-fire

  • Get Familiar with Fire Terminology

    Red Flag Warning

    • MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER = leave immediately; there is an imminent or existing risk to life and property.

    • EVACUATION WARNING = a strong likelihood that there will be a risk to life and property, and residents in the warning area should take this time to prepare to leave quickly if given the mandatory evacuation order. Time should be taken to gather family members, pets, valuables, and important. paperwork/documents. An individual or family should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. However, if anyone feels threatened, do not wait for an evacuation order – leave immediately

    • RED FLAG WARNING = critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can create extreme fire behavior.

    • FIRE WEATHER WATCH = typically issued generally 12 to 72 hours in advance of potential critical fire weather conditions.

  • Become CERTified

The CERT program is designed to help communities be prepared and respond effectively during a disaster. Through training and preparation, civilians can serve as a crucial resource capable of handling several emergency roles. Emergency services will not be available to help everyone directly following a disaster, so it is important for civilians to be prepared and take action in order to help others in their community, including loved ones.

Throughout the eight week training, participants will learn different aspects of fire safety, medical operations, search and rescue, disaster psychology, terrorism and team organization. The final week is a full scale drill simulating a natural disaster.  CERT participants will be the responders, working as a team to rescue the survivors. This is a great program to participate in in order to get prepared for a disaster and learn to take action as a community responder.

Participants will be given a manual and a bag pack with uniform and their national CERT certification.

Contact Vyto Adomaitis at for more information.