Help us prepare for future campus emergencies

Campus leaders learned many lessons during the emergency campus evacuation undertaken a year ago when the CZU Lightning Complex wildfires moved precipitously close to our northern border. We gained valuable experience as we arranged for students to be bused to staging areas, lined up multiple-day accommodations for those who needed them, and quickly set up an off-site kitchen so we could provide meals for hundreds in our campus community who otherwise would have gone hungry.

Thankfully, the fire did not reach us, and we were able to begin repopulating campus within a week of leaving. The potential for a wildfire on our campus remains, however. Our region continues to experience severe drought conditions, and much of the vegetation on our campus and in parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains remains dangerously dry. 

The best way to confront this uncertainty is through preparation, and we need your help with that. The Office of Emergency Services is partnering with our campus Institutional Research, Assessment, and Policy Studies unit to learn more about the evacuation needs of those in our community — students, staff and faculty — so campus emergency-response leaders can be fully prepared should we need to evacuate campus again. 

An evacuation-information form has been developed to help us with this information gathering. Faculty, staff, and students are scheduled to receive an email with a link to the form on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Questions on the form range from where you generally work or study (Main Residential Campus, Coastal Science Campus, Silicon Valley Campus, etc.), how you would leave during an evacuation, and whether you might need transportation assistance if an emergency evacuation were ordered. All information gathered will inform our emergency planning — how many buses or hotel rooms would be needed, for example.  

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. The more participation we have, the better prepared we will be. Questions about the form can be directed to