Drop • Cover • Hold On Earthquake Planning

More on Westmont's Earthquake Response Plan


The college has in place a constantly growing cache of supplies intended to enable us to provide very basic shelter and feeding for 1200 people for three days--enough time for assessing facility damage, awaiting the arrival of outside resources, and enabling people to make next-step plans. These provisions are designed for fundamental life-sustenance, not for comfort.

The supply inventory currently contains over 15,000 items of over 500 different types, including

  • hydration and nutrition (freeze-dried food; water filters)
  • sanitation & hygiene (toothbrushes; feminine needs; etc)
  • basic medical
  • communications devices (handheld radios; satellite phones; etc)
  • lighting
  • office supplies (for the incident management team)
  • and so on

As resources allow, we will gladly welcome neighbors who need shelter as well. (We even have diapers and baby formula for displaced young families.)

Response Team

The college's Situation Readiness & Response Team has organized the earthquake plan using a blend of the nationally recognized Incident Command System structure and the disaster preparedness expertise of the American Red Cross. Each of the following functions has a primary responder and backup, with five levels of backup for most positions.

  • Incident Command - Oversee the entire response
  • Public Safety / Agency Liaison - Provide premises security, and coordinate with official agencies
  • Public Information - Ensure effective communication both on and off campus
  • Technology Support - Assist with communication technology
  • Logistics - Arrange for feeding, procuring additional supplies, and other support
  • Service & Supply - Set up the shelter area; assess building damage; and other support
  • Operations - Account for people; provide basic medical and emotional assistance
  • Admin/Finance - Notify responders; keep track of administrative details

Education & Training

Students are oriented to the basic steps they should take in the event of a major shaker. The Resident Assistants and Resident Directors are given special training each year on their roles in case of disaster.

In addition, all of the functions specified above are trained and exercised annually so that our response can be as swift and sure as possible.

Westmont has excellent ongoing relations with the public service agencies in our community, many of whom have been involved in and/or led our training sessions. As we have already done with our wildfire plan, we expect to end up with our earthquake plan reviewed and affirmed by the Montecito Fire Protection District, Santa Barbara City Fire, the city and county Offices of Emergency Services, County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, and American Red Cross.

Tsunami Response

Look at this tsunami map to see areas to avoid in Santa Barbara if a tsunami warning is issued.

What about the Triangle of Life?

Westmont recommends "Duck Cover & Hold On" based on the assessment of the options found at this link.