CAMARILLO, Calif. – Ventura County residents are encouraged to prepare properties in advance of a strong El Niño forecasted to bring heavy rainfall this winter. In an effort to help, the Ventura County Fire Department is making its emergency supply of sand and bags available to the public.
"Ventura County has areas that are vulnerable to floods, mudslides and debris flow," said Deputy Fire Chief Vaughan Miller. "The Fire Department maintains a large supply of sand and bags for emergency use that we want to make available to residents so they can protect their homes before it rains."
In a disaster, VCFD fills and deploys sandbags from several sites including local fire stations. Ventura County residents are now able to access free sand and bags at their neighborhood fire station between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Fire station personnel may or may not be available to assist at the station because of emergency activity, training or other necessary work so residents should be prepared to fill and transport sandbags. To view a video on filling and using sandbags, click here.
Before arriving at their local fire station, Ventura County residents are advised to contact firefighters at the station and be prepared to show identification. Sand and bags will be accessible in the back parking area of each station. For a list of fire stations, click here.
Homeowners can also prepare for flooding with simple home maintenance tips, including:
- Clearing leaves and debris from gutters, downspouts and drain areas
- Checking the roof for leaks or damage
- Checking curbside gutters and drains. If clogged, notify local officials or responsible parties
- Researching flood insurance plans and coverage needs
The fire department has worked closely with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services and other federal, state and local agencies to initiate flood planning and preparedness efforts. Substantial supplies of sand and bags have been reserved for emergency use throughout the county. Public access to supplies at fire stations may be discontinued without notice in situations when there is an emergent need.
Materials are intended for resident preparedness and available to Ventura County residents only. Contractors and other entrepreneurs will be turned away. Residents seeking significant reinforcement to protect their property against potential flooding are advised to consult a professional.