Emergency Plans

Kern County Fire Department

Emergency Operations Plan

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Emergency Operations Plan

The preservation of life and property is an inherent responsibility of all levels of government. Since disasters in many devastating forms may strike at any time, the County of Kern endeavors to save lives and minimize property damage through prior planning, preparedness measures, and training. Sound emergency plans carried out by knowledgeable and well-trained personnel can and will minimize losses from any disasters that may occur.

As defined by SEMS, an Operational Area is defined as an intermediate level of the state emergency services organization, consisting of a county and all political subdivisions within the county boundary. The County of Kern is the lead agency for the Kern Operational Area and is tasked to coordinate emergency activities between the county, cities, and special districts and to serve as a communications link focusing on the collection, processing, and dissemination of vital disaster information.

The Plan provides for the integration and coordination of planning efforts of the County/Operational Area with those of its cities, special districts, and the state. The content is based on guidance provided by the California Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security. The intent of the Plan is to facilitate emergency response and short-term recovery by providing a framework for response to all significant emergencies, regardless of the nature of the event.



The Plan is comprised of four major parts as follows:

  • Basic Plan – Overview of County/Operational Area’s emergency management program, Emergency Management Organization, and concept of emergency operations
  • General Procedures – Emergency procedures to be implemented by employees at the time of a major emergency or disaster
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Procedures & Annexes – EOC procedures, annex and checklists for each major EOC function, and resource and contact lists. (This section will be updated in 2009 to better support the newly opened Kern County EOC)
  • Contingency Plans – Event-specific information and emergency instructions (e.g., Terrorism). The Contingency Plans are separate documents that may be implemented independent of the Plan and are incorporated into the Plan by reference

Shortcuts to helpful pages and information.

Emergency Alert System Plan (EAS)

Kern County FCC Mandated documentation for the Emergency Alert System (EAS) Plan

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Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Hazard Mitigation Plan to reduce losses resulting from natural disasters.

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Sheltering Operations Plan

The Kern County Area Mass Care and Shelter Guidance Guide for procedures and guidelines.

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Terrorism Plan

Terrorism Contingency Plan is designed to establish responsibilities.

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Kelso Creek

Kelso Creek Emergency Plan is designed to establish responsibilities and protocol.

Learn More

Isabella Dam

In early 2008, the United States Army Corps of Engineers completed the initial preparation of an updated map which shows the areas around metropolitan Bakersfield which would likely be flooded in the unlikely case that the Dam should fail at Lake Isabella. 


In early 2008, the United States Army Corps of Engineers completed the initial preparation of an updated map which shows the areas around metropolitan Bakersfield which would likely be flooded in the unlikely case that the Dam should fail at Lake Isabella. As part of the maps provided the County, they have also included maps which show the anticipated depth and velocity of water and the anticipated time when the flows could reach the Bakersfield area if a failure of the dam occurred.


The Isabella Dam Failure Evacuation Plan provides the basic framework for response to an actual or potential failure of the Lake Isabella Dam. The plan supplements the Kern County/Operational Area and City of Bakersfield Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) and will be implemented in conjunction with those EOPs.

Extensive research concerning hurricane-related evacuations indicates that for the evacuation of communities to be effective, residents must know which areas are at risk and must be persuaded to leave; the evacuation must commence prior to arrival of the threat; and transportation resources must be sufficient to move evacuees to safe areas.

When determining if people will evacuate, three factors are key:

  1. Actual and perceived vulnerability of their location,
  2. Whether or not they believe they have been told to evacuate by local officials, and
  3. The severity of the threat.

Aggressively communicating the evacuation recommendation tends to produce the desired action, although dissemination of the warning via the media is not usually sufficient. The best way to alert the public is for officials to go door-to-door. The second best method is to drive through neighborhoods announcing the evacuation recommendation over vehicle-mounted public address systems.

This plan calls for emergency notification information to be widely disseminated via all available means, including:

  • Activation of local emergency telephone notification systems (commonly referred to as “reverse 911” systems),
  • Local media,
  • Local specific needs agencies and groups,
  • Neighborhood drive-through by local law enforcement, and
  • Outdoor sirens where available.

This Evacuation Plan also calls for implementing an aggressive and ongoing public information program during the preparedness phase; advising the public of any potential problems with the dam and possible need to evacuate; and the issuance of a precautionary evacuation recommendation well in advance of the need to issue a general evacuation recommendation. This staged approach will facilitate the early evacuation and sheltering of most specific needs populations and many from the general population, thereby reducing the number of evacuees and the volume of traffic to be accommodated during the general evacuation recommendation.

Responding to a failure of Lake Isabella Dam and the resulting flood, including evacuation of more than one-quarter million people and sheltering 50,000 to 70,000 of the evacuees, will be a complex and resource-intensive operation, which will require close coordination among multiple local jurisdictions, disciplines and private and nonprofit agencies, as well as state and federal resources. If the same extraordinary level of coordination and cooperation demonstrated by all of these stakeholders during development of this plan is present when it must be implemented, the likelihood of a positive outcome will be assured.

These websites may provide additional useful information:

These maps are based on a worst-case scenario of Main Dam failure with the Lake full.

PLEASE NOTE IN USING THE MAPS AND INFORMATION: The Corps of Engineers has loaned the County of Kern the above documents “For Official Use Only” and consented to us making the maps available to the public for their viewing and self planning. This information is not an evacuation map and should be used for general guidance and planning purposes. Actual areas which may flood and time may vary from the areas depicted on the map.

This information is compiled from multiple sources that do not always exactly align with each other. Discrepancies are most predominant in the mountain areas. Use of the map is provided for general guidance and preplanning only. Using these maps, especially in the mountain areas, the user should account for any misalignment with the terrain and aerial photos.

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