Frequently Asked Questions

What types of disaster occur in the Santa Barbara area?

The Santa Barbara area is most vulnerable to floods, fires and earthquakes. We also face the potential for tsunamis, droughts, winds, and situations such as civil unrest, terrorism and energy outages.

How does the university prepare for disasters?

UCSB takes a proactive approach to emergency planning and preparedness. UCSB’s Emergency Management Team meets regularly throughout the academic year to address campus safety and preparedness issues. During an actual crisis, this team is mobilized at the campus Emergency Operation Center to institute emergency procedures.

How should I prepare in the event of an emergency?

Emergency preparedness is also an individual responsibility. UCSB strongly urges students, parents, faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with the plans and precautions currently in place at the university, but also to become aware of the measures they need to take to protect themselves and others in an emergency situation.

What is an EOC?

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

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

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety is available to provide presentations on many topics at no charge to a group or an organization.

Does the University have a disaster plan?

The University is required by state and federal regulations to have a response and recovery plan. This plan covers everything from earthquakes and tsunamis to fires and flooding. This plan is maintained by the Emergency Management Team and is continuously updated. The current version is available on this Web site.

How will I be advised of an emergency event affecting the campus?

As an emergency is identified, the first notification to be activated may be the UCSB Alert System. UCSB Alert sends emergency notifications to your cell phone, wireless device, or e-mail. Please ensure you are signed up for a UCSB Alert account.

For more information, to sign up, or to add another device:

How will I get additional information on a disaster that affects the campus?

UCSB has multiple means of distributing information, such as group Email to various campus audiences:

  • The UCSB web site will be updated as soon as possible with current information for the campus community
  • UCSB also has a campus information line, 1.888.488.8272 (1.888.488.UCSB), and a recorded message for updates on events affecting the campus.
  • Parking Services radio (AM 1610) with recorded updates
  • KCSB-FM (91.9 MHz) information on events affecting UCSB
  • Continue to monitor the radio or television. This may include evacuations, locations of any shelters, or the need to “shelter-in-place.” A battery operated radio or a car radio can be a crucial communications tool.
  • Information may also flow to and from campus Department Safety Representatives. Check with your supervisor for any official guidance and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.

What do you mean by “Shelter-In-Place?” (Refer back to Flip Chart)

Shelter-in-place means to seek immediate shelter inside a building. This action may be taken during a release of hazardous materials, a tsunami or other emergency. For shelter-in-place due to violence in progress, see the tab “Violence/Crime in Progress.” If you are ever advised to shelter-in-place: (Refer back to Flip Chart)

If we are were asked to evacuate our building, where do we go?

Each campus work and living area has posted “Building Specific Emergency Information." This information is available to all members of the campus community who use those areas. Please familiarize yourself with this data for your building and also the actions to take in the UCSB Emergency Information Flip Chart. Then follow the guidance of emergency workers.

What about larger evacuations?

Evacuation of the entire campus would be an extremely unlikely event. A staggered release of the campus population after a major event, such as a major earthquake, would be the most likely situation to require individuals to leave the campus. Even though UCSB could be subjected to a tsunami, most of the campus is high enough above sea level that a shelter-in-place plan would go into effect.

A localized event, such as a building fire or chemical release, might require evacuation of the immediate area. Fire or police personnel would direct the evacuation. If residence halls cannot be occupied, students will be directed to emergency shelters. The University will activate Emergency Shelters if necessary, where evacuees can receive information and emergency services.

How will persons with disabilities evacuate?

See the Persons with Disabilities section

What if there is violence or crime on campus?

See the Violence/Crime section.

What if there is an active shooter?

See the Active Shooter section.

What can I do to prepare for an earthquake?

Identify potential hazards in your home or workplace and begin to fix them. Identify your building's potential weaknesses and begin to fix them. Create a disaster plan and disaster supply kits. For more information, visit

Where can I obtain additional emergency preparedness information?

Preparedness literature is available on line at a variety of sites including the following: