Resources Before a Disaster


County geologists, flood control experts, and other partners from Federal and State agencies made maps to show neighborhoods at risk from flash floods, debris flows, mud flows, falling rock and other landslides. These dangers can continue during storms for several years, until burned hillsides recover.

You'll often hear "debris flows" called "mudslides" or "mudflows." Many people use the terms interchangeably, but to scientists, each is a different kind of landslide. Debris flows are the most powerful and dangerous of the three.


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Impacts to these areas may include roads that may become impassible and deadly, as well as disrupted or destroyed utilities.

When dangerous storms approach, this risk map will also show areas under evacuation warnings and orders:

  • Yellow means a zone is within the Evacuation Warning (Voluntary) area.
  • Red means a zone is within the Evacuation Order (Mandatory) area.

During evacuation warnings and orders, you should leave immediately and seek shelter outside all evacuation zones. If you are told to evacuate but you stay, you are risking your life. If you survive the storm, you could be isolated and trapped without help for many days, with roads impassible and utilities disrupted or destroyed.


  • Determine if your home, business, schools or necessary travel routes are in the at-risk areas by referring to the map above.
  • Know all your local access roads and understand that some may be blocked by debris or water. Have an alternate route. Stay informed or road and highway conditions.
  • Have an emergency plan and a disaster kit ready to go. For more information Visit Print the Holy Debris Flow Flyer for reference before, during and after an event.
  • Flood insurance: Most homeowners insurance does not cover floods or flows from natural disasters. Make sure your home is protected. For more information, please refer to the National Flood Insurance Program website at Act now. Most flood insurance policies take up to 30 days to go into effect.
  • Learn the plan for your local school. Parents of children attending Trabuco Elementary School should contact their school district or visit their website to learn what steps the district will take to ensure student safety. This may include school closures and evacuations.


  • Follow all orders by public safety officials. Sign up for emergency alerts at
  • Leave before any flows begin, this the only safe time to leave. If debris flows, mud or water are already flowing, get higher than the flow, such as going to the highest floor in your home.
  • Heed all evacuations. Public safety officials will work quickly to issue evacuation notices. Each situation is different and some storms may not provide as much lead time for warnings as we hope. Evacuations Warnings (Voluntary) will be issued for at-risk areas 24-48 hours before an expected storm, if possible. As stated above, the safest time to leave is before any flow begins. Mandatory Evacuation Orders will be issued 6-12 hours before the storm, if possible.
  • Monitor official weather reports and heed weather alerts. Understand that the weather where you are can be different than back in the mountains where the flows start.
  • Never drive or walk into flood waters, mud or debris, and never go around barricades. It is impossible to know how deep the water or mud is just by looking at it and the depth can change quickly.
  • Protect your property with sandbags and other methods to divert water from entering structures and reduce erosion on your property. Visit and to find locations offering limited and unfilled sandbags and sand.
  • As always, in case of emergency, dial 9-1-1.

Weather Resources

Partner Agencies

Burn Assessment Reports

A team of experts from State and Federal agencies evaluated the soil impacts after the Holy Fire. Read the reports below to review recommendations for public agencies and property owners.

Are You Prepared for All Hazards?

When a natural or human-caused disaster strikes Orange County, residents may be required to be self-sufficient for up to 5 days or more before help or assistance arrives. By personally preparing, volunteering, and learning about your community's hazards, you can help ensure that you and your community can respond to and recover from disasters more quickly. Creating a resilient community requires action in advance by us all.

Prepare Your Family

Before a disaster, take steps to ensure that you and your loved ones can reunite, communicate, and meet your basic needs. Below are links to resources that can help you take action to prepare.
  • Family & Business
    • AlertOC: The Orange County emergency public mass notification system which can send you emergency alerts via text, email, landline and mobile phone numbers.
    • ReadyOC: The Orange County emergency preparedness resource that provides information on current programs and awareness campaigns.
    • The Department of Homeland Security resource for information on hazards and how to prepare yourself, your family, your pets, and your business.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
    • Disaster Kit
    • Persons with Special Needs
    • Are You Ready Guide
    • FEMA Kids
  • Pets / Livestock


No matter what your age or abilities, there is a disaster preparedness and response volunteer group that can provide you with information and training.


  • The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) supports the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA’s goals by improving the competencies of the U.S. officials in Emergency Management at all levels of government to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of all types of disasters and emergencies on the American people.
  • The International Association of Emergency Managers promotes the principles of emergency management; provides information, networking and professional development opportunities; and to advance the emergency management profession.
  • The California Emergency Services Association is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to the promotion of mutual support and cooperation across disciplines in preparing for natural and human caused disasters and public emergencies.

           ReadyOC: Orange County's Emergency Preparedness Resource           Promise to Prepare