SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Santa Barbara County has had more than enough devastating fires and flooding to create a culture of awareness about emergencies.
But with people moving in and out, and time gaps between significant events, it's not uncommon to let your "guard down."
The catastrophe in Hawaii this week is a stark reminder of what could happen in many areas of the county here, especially in windy conditions between the hills and the ocean.
The county's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has had an ongoing campaign about community preparedness.
Residents have been urged to sign up under ReadySBC.org to get their information into the system that will send them messages in an emergency. That will include notifications of weather warnings, fire alerts and evacuation information.
It can be sent via text, a phone message and email.
There are real life examples of residents failing to heed the warnings or those who are not connected to emergency messages, finding themselves in peril.
The outreach with this technology is the best in modern times, and improvements are being made on a regular basis.
OEM Director Kelly Hubbard said, " our percentages are in the 14 percent registration countywide for ready SBC alerts, when we look at south county we do have a higher registration rate and that's really focused on the Montecito, Carpinteria, south Santa Barbara area because of the Thomas fire (in 2017). "
She also says, in a fast moving crisis, don't wait. " If you see a risk and you feel unsafe, please leave." Hubbard also says, get to know your neighbors and be prepared to lend a helping hand. "Go knock on your neighbors door and try to get them out as well." She especially urges neighbors to identify who might be the most vulnerable.
Hubbard also says the community should always be prepared for other and larger challenges, especially an earthquake.
"We'll use those to get information out to the community post event we won't be able to warn you about that earthquake but we can still use that to give you that information once that's occurred," said Hubbard.
To sign up or to update your emergency contact information go to: ReadySBC.org. Information is available in both English and Spanish.
For more from John, follow him on Twitter below:Follow @JohnPalminteri