Evacuations can be extremely stressful. Planning in advance for evacuations and knowing what to expect will help reduce stress. 

During disasters normal reference points such as street signs and address markers may not be available, therefore Riverside County has adopted the US National Grid (USNG) for use during evacutions and disasters. The USNG standard provides a nationally consistent language of location that has been optimized for local applications. Generally, Riverside County public safety agencies use grids at the 1000 meter level.


For more information on US National Grid maps, click here.


An important step in your preparedness should be enrolling with Alert RivCo. This is one of the systems that Riverside County public safety agencies use to alert the public in the event of an emergency. For more information or to enroll, go to www.RivCoReady.org/AlertRivCo.


Riverside County public safety agencies have adopted standardized terminology for evacuations, based on recommendations from the State. If you receive an evacuation message, it will use terms below. It's important to know what the terms mean before an emergency. As always, we recommend you plan and prepare for emergencies and evacuations now, before they happen.

Evacuation Order:

Immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.

Evacuation Warning:

Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.

Shelter in Place:

Go indoors. Shut and lock doors and windows. Prepare to self-sustain until further notice and/or contacted by emergency personnel for additional direction.


This section contains helpful resources and checklists you can download to help you before and during evacuations.

FEMA Flood After Fire Fact Sheet
Flood After Fire Infographic

Safety Steps to Prepare

  • Determine if your home, business, schools or necessary travel routes are in the at-risk areas by referring to the maps above.
  • Learn the plan for your local school. Parents of school age children should contact their school district or visit their websites to learn what steps the district will take to ensure student safety. This may include school closures and evacuations.
  • Know all your local access roads and understand that some may be blocked by debris or water. Have an alternate route. Stay informed or road and highway conditions by visiting the Riverside County Transportation Department's website at rctlma.org/trans and Caltrans' website at quickmap.dot.ca.gov
  • Have an emergency plan and a disaster kit ready to go. For more information, click here


  • Don't wait until it's too late. Leaving promptly when evacuations are called for helps save lives and ensures emergency responders are available to focus their efforts on dealing with the emergency. 
  • Heed all evacuations. Evacuations Warnings will be issued for at-risk areas with ample time to allow residents and businesses to leave when it it safest to do so. Persons with access and functional needs, the elderly, those with very young children and people with large animals should serious consider leaving now. As stated above, the safest time to leave is before the danger is close. Evacuation Orders will be issued based on Incident Commanders determinations that an area is no longer safe.
  • Monitor official weather reports and heed weather alerts. Understand that the weather where you are can be different than in surrounding areas. 
  • Never drive or walk into flood waters, mud or debris, and never go around barricades. It is impossible to know how deep the water or mud is just by looking at it and the depth can change quickly. Barricades are placed to protect the public.
  • As always, in case of emergency, dial 9-1-1. 

Official Sources of Information



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