San Luis Obispo County Evacuation Information

Emergency officials will decide whether to evacuate or shelter in place areas based on the nature of the emergency. Many kinds of emergencies can cause you to have to evacuate. In some cases, you may have a day or two to prepare while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Remember, preparing for emergencies in advance is the best way to help protect yourself and your family.

For information about evacuations during an emergency at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, visit our Nuclear Preparedness Section.

Before an Evacuation

  • Learn the types of disasters that are likely in your community and the local emergency, evacuation, and shelter plans for each specific disaster.
  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
    • The Evacuation Assistance Program is for eligible individuals in San Luis Obispo County who would not be able to hear sirens or would need help leaving their home in the event of an emergency.
  • Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.
  • Check with local officials about what shelter spaces are available.
  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
  • If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters only allow service animals.
  • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
  • Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.
  • Come up with a family/household plan to stay in touch in case you become separated; have a meeting place and update it depending on the circumstance.
  • Assemble supplies that are ready for evacuation. Prepare a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling longer distances if you have a car. 
  • If you have a car:
    • Keep a full tank of gas if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
    • Make sure you have a portable emergency kit in the car.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if needed. Decide with family, friends, or your local emergency management office to see what resources may be available.

During an Evacuation

  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your emergency supply kit.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Take your pets with you but understand that only service animals may be allowed in public shelters. 
  • If time allows:
    • Call or email contacts in your family plan. Tell them where you are going.
    • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
    • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions, and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas, and electricity before leaving.
    • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
    • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a hat.
    • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts, they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  • Read the County of San Luis Obispo's Evactuation Tips.

After an Evacuation

  • If you evacuated for the storm, check with local officials both where you are staying and back home before you travel.
  • If you are returning to disaster-affected areas after significant events, prepare for disruptions to daily activities and remember that returning home before debris is cleared is dangerous.
  • Let friends and family know before you leave and when you arrive.
  • Charge devices and consider getting back-up batteries in case of power-outages.
  • Fill up your gas tank and consider downloading a fuel app to check for outages along your route.
  • Bring supplies such as water and non-perishable food for the car ride.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines, they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Only use generators outside and away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage or connect it to your home's electrical system.