Emergency Sheltering

It is not uncommon for disasters to result in the need to evacuate from your home or business. We recognize the significant inconvenience this may cause and make every effort to ensure these measures are absolutely necessary. The Ventura County Human Services Agency is the lead organization responsible for Mass Care & Shelter. The Human Services Agency works in close coordination with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services to activate and operate emergency shelters. In addition, the County of Ventura maintains a strong partnership with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army who work alongside our local government agencies to ensure your needs as an evacuee are met.

Evacuation Notifications

 Should the need to evacuate arise, notifications will be made to residents in one of  a variety of methods:

  • VC Alert Emergency Notification System
  • Door-to-Door notifications by Public Safety Personnel
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
  • Emergency Alert System (Broadcast Television / AM/FM Radio)

 If you observe conditions near your residence that may jeopardize your safety, please do not wait for official notification from public safety personnel. Take immediate action to evacuate to a safe location.

 Temporary Evacuation Points

A Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) is a centralized location used as a gathering point for individuals required to leave their residence during a disaster. In many cases, temporary evacuation points may also have emergency congregate shelters established at the same location.

Every disaster is different, as are the logistical challenges posed by road closures, fires, flooding, any many other variables. At the onset of a disaster, emergency managers will determine the best temporary evacuation point to activate  within a safe proximity to the incident. The selected location will be posted on VCemergency.com and included in all emergency messaging shared with the public.

What to Expect at a Temporary Evacuation Point

Upon arriving at a TEP, evacuees will be met by the friendly Disaster Services Team from the Ventura County Human Services Agency who will rapidly assess each individual’s situation and determine the best course of action for providing temporary shelter.  Part of this assessment includes registering the evacuee in the Disaster Response and Recovery Management System. Registration in this system is vital to providing data needed for logistical planning and disaster case management.

Residents who evacuate to a county-operated temporary evacuation point can expect to stay in a safe environment and receive food, water and restroom facilities throughout the duration of their time at the shelter.

Disability, Access, and Functional Needs

The needs of every resident are different and vary depending how long an evacuation lasts. The Ventura County Human Services agency will work closely with evacuees to identify needs for items such as; durable medical equipment, accessible cots, assistive technology, and other equipment required to make your stay at our shelter safe and accessible. If you have a specific need, please bring it to the attention of one of our staff members and we will do our best to assist you.

 Evacuation Terminology

 Evacuation Order

  • Evacuation Orders may be initiated by law enforcement, Fire Departments, Public Health Agencies, and in rare cases some federal agencies when residents are requested to vacate the area due to an imminent threat. All non-essential persons are requested to leave the area immediately.
  • Conditions exist that SERIOUSLY IMPERIL or ENDANGER the lives of those in the defined area.
  • The danger is IMMINENT!
  • Generally, residents will not be forcibly removed from their own property, however those found to be on public property including roadways and public parks may be subject to removal from the area.
  • Once out of the area, the general public (including residents) will not be permitted to return until conditions permit.
  • Any non-essential persons found by officials traveling through, or loitering in, the area will be escorted out and not permitted to re-enter the area. Those found to be interfering with the disaster response are SUBJECT TO ARREST.
  • Utility workers in work vehicles including Southern California Edison, the Gas Company, etc. shall be permitted beyond closures for official business only.
  • Subsequent to §409.5(d) p.c., nothing shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the area unless the area is determined to be a crime scene.

Evacuation Warning

  • Evacuations warnings may be initiated by law enforcement, Fire Departments, Public Health Agencies, and in rare cases federal agencies. Voluntary Evacuation orders are issued when residents should begin preparing for a potential mandatory evacuation order to be issued. Access to the area under a voluntary evacuation order may or may not restricted by a soft or hard closure.
  • The threat to lives is NOT YET IMMINENT.
  • Due to the potential for rapidly changing conditions to develop into a serious threat, residents are advised to prepare for the issuance of an evacuation order.
  • Residents should prepare personal belongings including pets and livestock for evacuation.
  • Advance measures should be taken to prevent harm to individuals with mobility issues or other types of access and functional needs.

Shelter-in-Place Order

  • Conditions exist that may ENDANGER the lives of those in a defined area.
  • Access to the area under a shelter in place order may or may not be restricted by a soft or hard closure.
  • Residents should select an interior room or rooms within their home or business with no or few windows, and taking refuge there.

Hard Road Closure

  • Law enforcement will prevent the general public from entering the area on foot or by vehicle.
  • In the case of a long-term closure, barricades may be used to maintain the closure in lieu of law enforcement personnel.
  • Subsequent to §409.5(d) p.c., nothing shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the area unless it is a secured crime scene.

Soft Road Closure

  • Law enforcement will prevent the general public from entering the area.
  • Those residents who reside in the impacted area will be allowed access with ID.

Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP)

  • Temporary evacuation points are used as collection areas during an emergency. Upon arriving at a temporary evacuation point, you will be met by a Ventura County Human Services Agency or American Red Cross representative who will determine your sheltering needs and assist you.