Emergency officials studying ways to improve disaster response following mudslide

Posted at 1:58 PM, May 30, 2018

Months after the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 mudslide in the Montecito area, emergency officials in Santa Barbara County are looking for ways to improve their disaster response.

On Wednesday, personnel from various agencies, including the fire department, emergency management, public works, and others, gathered in Santa Barbara to review the way information was communicated to the public during the disasters.

They especially want to know why some people chose not to leave when evacuations were ordered and what they can do in the future to convince people the evacuations are necessary.

"We found out during the 1-9 debris flow and the subsequent evacuations is that we’re using terminology that the public might not be aware of and now we got to educate the public and we got to make them believe that this is really a serious situation," said Robert Lewin, Director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.

The county has teamed up with the University of Alabama to conduct a study into the public’s reaction to the emergency notifications sent out during the mudslide. Anyone who lived through the disaster is urged to take a survey about the warning process. Click here to participate.