Hazard Specific Preparation

High Winds


Santa Ana winds can be as high as 70 miles an hour. Impacts can include tree damage, blown away unsecured outdoor objects, and blowing dust which could reduce visibility. 

High Winds Safety Rules

Stay safe and prepare for high winds!

  • Postpone outdoor activities until winds die down
  • Use handrails when available walking outdoors or elevated areas such as roofs
  • Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and become loose during strong wind gusts
  • Watch out while walking under balconies as loose objects may fall
  • Lower all outdoor umbrellas and secure any outdoor seating cushions

CALL 9-1-1.

To report fallen trees or debris, use the MyOntario App or our online form.

Extreme Heat

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Down Power Line

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Dam Failure

The only dam that poses a threat in the City of Ontario is the San Antonio Dam. Failure of this dam is very unlikely, but under the right set of conditions, it could occur with severe consequences. These conditions are:

  • Failure while the dam is at or near full capacity.
  • Complete and sudden breach of the dam, rather than partial failure which would allow water to be released slowly into containment channels.

Such conditions could only occur as a result of sabotage, earthquake or erosion during periods of extremely heavy rain. There is no guarantee that a warning will be issued before the dam fails.

Estimates by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers state that six feet of water would reach the northernmost areas of Ontario in a little over thirty minutes. This water would reach most of south Ontario with a depth of two feet in four hours.

Your response to such a situation should follow these guidelines:

  • Gather up pre-identified important items such as supplies, equipment, and documents if time permits.
  • Turn off utilities.
  • If possible, travel by automobile.
  • Never try to outrun fast moving water. Choose the most direct route and avoid moving further into the path of the water.
  • Generally, to be safe, you should relocate to an area west of Highway 71 or Garey Ave. in Pomona, or east of Archibald Ave. 
  • Monitor news reports and do not return to the flooded area until told to do so.
  • Plan to spend at least 24 hours away from the area before all water has subsided.

Earthquakes can occur anywhere, at any time. Since Ontario is not in a coastal area, tidal waves are not a concern. The greatest danger is from falling debris. The safest place during an earthquake is outdoors, away from buildings and overhead wires.

If inside:

  • Don't run outside. Stand in a doorway, get under heavy furniture, or sit or stand against an inside corner wall (basement is best).
  • Turn off gas and power only if gas leaks or electrical damage is observed.
  • Keep away from windows.
  • Keep away from glass, tall shelves, chandeliers, or other heavy objects that may fall.
  • Don't use elevators.

If outdoors:

  • Stay away from buildings, power lines, trees, chimneys, outside walls, and glass windows.
  • If driving, park in an open area, away from buildings, bridges, or overpasses, and stay low in the car. If on or under elevated roadways, get away from that situation immediately, even if it means parking and abandoning your vehicle.

Immediately after the earthquake:

  • Try to remain calm; panic can cause as many casualties as the emergency situation itself.
  • Follow instructions from evacuation section monitors.
  • Evacuate to reassembly areas if so instructed and prepare to support emergency response team members.

After an earthquake, aftershocks may occur for several days. STAY OUT of damaged areas unless requested to help!

  • Don't drive unless necessary; keep streets clear for emergency vehicles.
  • Report broken gas or power lines, water mains, etc., immediately.
  • Keep listening to the radio and/or television for instructions. Use the telephone only for assistance.

If power is out:

Unplug all electrical equipment, stereo gear, TV sets, computers, audio-visuals and turn off light switches unless needed. When power returns, it may be in a surge and blow out light bulbs and other equipment.

How About Later? Be prepared to stay in the building overnight, and perhaps longer. Do not try to use elevators. Do not leave the floor until authorized to do so. Do not risk becoming a casualty by being careless or by acting independently of everyone else.

When Can You Go Home? You should not try to get home until authorities say it is safe, which will be when the fires (if any) are under control and the streets have been cleared. This may happen quickly, or it may take some time (perhaps 72 hours or more).



Print out the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety so you know exactly what to do when the earth shakes.

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In the event a fire is detected within any part of this facility, proceed according to the following plan:

The person(s) discovering the fire will:

  • Activate the fire alarm.
  • Shut doors and windows to confine the fire.
  • Attempt to suppress the fire, if feasible.
  • Evacuate the area of the fire if necessary.
  • Always keep low! Smoke and gases collect near the ceiling first.


Emergency Response Team personnel will:

  • Check to be sure that elevators are empty, turn off and lock controls.
  • Turn off building electricity and gas service.
  • Designate personnel to go to the nearest main intersection(s) to direct fire department vehicles to the scene.
  • All personnel will cooperate with Emergency Response Team personnel and evacuate the building as soon as possible, using the Evacuation Procedures and Routes link.
  • Designate teams of personnel to secure valuable or irreplaceable items and information, if feasible.
  • Determine the evacuation status of the threatened area. DO NOT ALLOW RE-ENTRY.
  • Ensure that access routes are kept often for fire department personnel and equipment.
  • Upon the arrival of the fire department, establish contact with fire department Incident Commander and coordinate subsequent activities with him.
  • Prevent the return of personnel to the affected area until re-entry is authorized by the fire department.
  • Provide first aid/CPR treatment for any injured persons.

If a forest or brush fire is detected near this facility:

The person(s) discovering the fire will:

  • Notify the Facility Emergency Manager.
  • IF THE FIRE IS RELATIVELY SMALL, take available fire extinguishers and any hoses that will reach the fire, and attempt to control or contain the fire until the fire department arrives.

Emergency Response Team personnel will:

  • Designate personnel to go to the nearest main intersection(s) to direct fire department vehicles to the scene. Ensure that access routes to the fire are kept open for fire department personnel and equipment.
  • Upon the arrival of the fire department, establish contact with fire department Incident Commander and coordinate subsequent activities with him.
  • If the facility or safe egress routes appear to be threatened, secure valuable and irreplaceable items and information, and any toxic or hazardous materials, and be prepared to evacuate personnel from the threatened area.

Fire Extinguisher Instructions:

P = PULL safety pin from handle.

A = AIM (nozzle, cone, horn) at base of the fire.

S = SQUEEZE the trigger handle.

S = SWEEP from side-to-side, (watch for re-flash).

For larger fires, GET OUT, close doors, confine the fire as much as possible.

If your clothing catches fire...


If Trapped in a Room:

Place cloth material around/under the door to prevent smoke from entering.

Retreat - close as many doors as possible between you and the fire. Be prepared to signal from the window - but, DO NOT break glass unless absolutely necessary (outside smoke may be drawn in).

If Caught in Smoke:

Drop to hands and knees and crawl; hold breath as much as possible; breathe shallowly through the nose and use blouse, shirt, jacket as a filter.

If Forced to Advance Through Flames:

Hold your breath; move quickly; cover head/hair; keep head down and eyes closed as much as possible.

In Summary:

Your own common sense is the finest safety device ever developed. Above all...remember to use your head!

Prepare yourself in advance; know where to go and how to get there. If your work station is located within an office, know in advance exactly how many doors you will have to pass along your evacuation route before you reach your nearest exit door. This tip will be very helpful in the event you encounter heavy smoke. Remember, when heavy smoke is present, often the exit signs above the doors may be camouflaged by the smoke. If you know in advance how many doors you will have to pass, you can then crawl or crouch low with head 30-36" from the floor (watching the base of the wall) and count out the number of doors you pass, so you will know when you reach the exit door (even if you can't see that it is the exit).

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The City of Ontario participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. This means that the City has initiated many flood hazard mitigation measures and that flood insurance is available. (Check with your insurance agent for rates.)

Floods due to rising water and the potential for flash flooding are usually forecast sufficiently in advance for appropriate preparation to be effective. When floods or flash flood potential (FLASH FLOOD WATCH) are forecast:

  • Monitor radio, television or the National Weather Service for forecast and water condition updates.
  • If your building is likely to be flooded, move records, equipment, and furniture to upper floors or to higher locations. Electric motors and other sensitive parts of the equipment (including furnace and water heater, washer and dryer) may be removed, placed in plastic bags, and elevated even if the appliance itself cannot be moved. Also, store chemicals where floodwaters can't reach them and cause contamination.
  • Move livestock to higher ground, as appropriate.
  • Prepare vehicles for the possibility of evacuation (check gas, tires, etc.).
  • Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries, candles, first aid supplies, water, and nonperishable food available if needed.
  • Identify a safe area to which evacuation is feasible, and safe routes to get there.

If a flood occurs, or a flash flood is definitely expected (FLASH FLOOD WARNING):

  • IF IN AN AREA THREATENED BY FLOOD, select your valuables and evacuate as instructed by public safety officials.
  • Disconnect any electrical appliances that cannot be moved, but not if you are already wet or standing in water.
  • Plug all drains, including toilets (bowls may be removed and drains plugged).
  • Bring outside items indoors, or tie them down securely.

When Evacuating:

  • Leave early enough to avoid being marooned by flooded roads.
  • Follow official instructions. Do not take shortcuts.
  • Turn off electricity, gas, and water at mains. Lock doors.
  • Take medications and important papers with you. If time permits, pack emergency supplies, including clothing, bedding, flashlights, radio, batteries, food, and water.
  • Listen to radio, television or the National Weather Service for recommended routes.
  • Watch out for washouts, fallen wires, broken sewer, water, or gas mains.
  • Drive slowly in water using low gear, abandon the vehicle immediately if it stalls in water if it is safe to do so. Do not attempt to move a stalled vehicle.
  • If on foot, don't cross flooded areas if the water is above ankles.

After a flood:

  • Do not use fresh foods that have come in contact with flood waters.
  • Test all drinking water before drinking.
  • Wait until authorities give permission before returning to the disaster area. You may hamper rescue and emergency operations.
  • Make sure all electrical equipment has been checked and dried before using it. NEVER HANDLE LIVE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT IN WET AREAS.
  • Never use open flames to examine buildings as there may be broken gas lines or flammables inside.
  • Report all utility line damage to police, fire, and utilities as soon as possible.
  • Self-help information will be provided to Ontario residents via the local Information Broadcast System. Broadcasts may be heard on several AM and FM radio stations as well as through all Comcast Cable TV channels. Additional disaster information may be obtained by calling the public information hotline at 391-0461 as telephone service is restored.
  • Do an assessment of damage, compare this with your household inventory, and call your agent to report any loss.

A flash flood watch means - heavy rains may result in flash flooding in a specified area. Be alert and prepare for the possibility of a flood emergency which will require action.

A flash flood warning means - flash flooding is occurring or is imminent in certain areas. Move to safer ground immediately!

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Gas Leak

If natural gas is allowed to escape into the atmosphere, there is an immediate danger of fire, explosion, or asphyxiation. For this reason, natural gas, which is normally odorless, is given an odor to aid in the detection of leaks through the distinctive smell. If you smell this odor, ACT FAST!

  • Check all gas taps and turn them off.
    If necessary, turn off the gas main. The shutoff valve is usually next to the meter. Using a wrench, give the valve a quarter turn in either direction to close the flow in the pipe.
  • Open all windows immediately!
  • If the gas odor remains strong, a gas main may be broken. EVACUATE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! All personnel will cooperate and evacuate the building as soon as possible.
  • Do not return to the area until the fire department and/or the gas company announces that it is safe.
  • Once the gas is off, let the gas company turn it back on.
Hazardous Materials Accidents

Hazardous materials accidents may occur in a variety of ways and can involve an almost infinite number of different toxic or hazardous materials, each of which may have different characteristics, reactivities, levels of toxicity, and types of effects on human health. Types of hazardous materials accidents include:

  • Industrial plant accidents.
  • Transportation accidents (aircraft, railroad, and highway accidents are of concern in the City of Ontario).
  • upturned pipelines (including natural gas lines - see GAS LEAK tab).

The variety of potential accidents and materials makes it impossible to present comprehensive procedures in this general guideline. Nevertheless, some basic procedures are generally applicable:

For industrial accidents involving the release of toxic or hazardous materials into the indoor or outdoor atmosphere:

  • EVACUATE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! All personnel will cooperate with management and evacuate the building or area as soon as possible, using the Evacuation Procedures and Routes link.
  • During an evacuation, observe wind direction and evacuate crosswind or upwind to the evacuation assembly site or alternate.
  • Predesignated and fully trained personnel should wear protective equipment and take appropriate preplanned actions to control the situation in accordance with established procedures.
  • Personnel not preassigned or trained for response teams should not return to the area until the fire department announces that it is safe.
  • If there is contact with chemicals, wash them off immediately. Discard contaminated clothing.
  • Don't attempt to rescue someone who has been overcome by fumes unless you have proper respiratory equipment.

For transportation accidents or pipeline accidents outside of industrial facilities, the person(s) who discovers the accident and knows or suspects that toxic or hazardous materials may be involved should:

  • Observe the wind direction and move to a crosswind or upwind location. CALL EMERGENCY 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY TO REPORT THE ACCIDENT, then return to an upwind or crosswind location close enough to the accident to warn others who may approach the scene.
  • Upon the arrival of the fire department, withdraw as instructed to a safe distance and direction.
  • If the transportation/pipeline accident is near this facility, notify the building Emergency Manager.
  • The Emergency Manager should contact the fire department Incident Commander and await instructions regarding possible evacuation or other actions that may be requested.
Serious Injury of Illness

In the event of a serious injury or illness to an employee or family member, whether related to another emergency or not, the immediate concern is to aid the sick or injured person. Proceed according to the following plan:

  • Get the victim out of any dangerous environment, but be careful! Do not place yourself in danger!
  • If the need is critical, ask someone to CALL EMERGENCY 9-1-1.
  • Notify a qualified first aid person in the facility. Qualified first aid people are:





Location in facility:




Treat immediate life-threatening emergencies first, in priority order:

  1. Impaired breathing
  2. Heart or circulatory failure
  3. Severe bleeding
  4. Shock


  • Impaired breathing - Work efficiently. The average person will die in six minutes or less if their oxygen supply is cut off. Place the victim on back, loosen collar, remove any obstructions to the airway and dentures, and apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After the victim is breathing alone, treat for shock.
  • Heart/circulatory failure - Work quickly. If possible, get trained help and work as a team. Apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If successful, treat for shock.
  • Severe bleeding - Act quickly. A victim may lose consciousness or go into shock when losing one quart of blood or more; continued bleeding will result in death. Apply direct pressure on the wound, with your hands, using a clean cloth if one is available. If there are no fractures, elevate the wound. If bleeding is a pumping action, apply the pressure to the appropriate arterial pressure point. Never use a tourniquet except as a last resort.
  • Shock - If there is no head or chest injury, keep head lower than the rest of the body. Loosen clothing and cover with blankets. Encourage fluids if the victim is conscious and there is no abdominal injury or nausea. Recommend solution of 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda in 1 quart of water, if available.

Other injuries/illnesses should be treated in priority with respect to a critical need:

  • Severe head injuries/unconsciousness
  • Heart attack
  • Severe nausea/vomiting
  • Poisoning
  • Burns
  • Back/neck injuries
  • Radiation sickness
  • Broken bones
  • Diabetic shock
  • Major multiple fractures

Depending on the seriousness of the illness or injury, the victim should be taken to a nearby hospital or another medical treatment facility by one of the following means:

  • Ambulance
  • Spouse/another family member
  • Fellow employee's car
  • Self
Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado

Thunderstorms can occur at any time of the year in this county; they are most frequent in the spring and least frequent in the winter. Any thunderstorm may have gusty winds and a chance of a dangerous lighting strike. These dangerous storms often have frequent lightning, damaging winds, and heavy rain. A tornado is a possibility whenever a severe thunderstorm occurs. Tornadoes may strike with little or no warning, leaving a path of almost total destruction from 100 yards to one mile wide, and from 5 to 50 or more miles long. A tornado may move along its damage path at a speed of 30 to 75 miles per hour.

  • A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH or a TORNADO WATCH means that atmospheric conditions are favorable for the formation of one or more severe thunderstorms or tornadoes.
  • A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING or a TORNADO WARNING means that a severe thunderstorm or a tornado has actually been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

When a thunderstorm occurs, don't panic. Although lightning kills more people each year than any other weather hazard, your chances of being hit by lightning are approximately one in a million. To minimize your chance of being struck by lightning:

  • If you're outside, get into a building or vehicle.
  • If in a forest, pick a low area under thick small trees.
  • If swimming or boating, get out of the water immediately. In open water, you are the highest object and the most likely target for lightning.
  • If in an open area, head for low ground or crouch down, but avoid narrow valley or ravines, which may be channels for flash floods. If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to your knees where you are and bend forward immediately, putting your hands on your knees. Don't lie flat on the ground; this will maximize your contact with the current-flow area.
  • Avoid tall trees, poles, hills, overhead wires, clotheslines, metal pipes and other objects, and water. The worst place to be in a thunderstorm is under a tall tree on a hilltop.
  • Do not use the telephone except in an emergency.


  • Advise all personnel of the weather condition.
  • Monitor radio/television or National Weather Service (162.550 Mhz) for updates.
  • Save work on computers frequently; sudden power disruptions may cause you to lose important data and information.
  • Modify outdoor activities to ensure that relatively quick access to shelter is available.
  • If swimming or boating, prepare to leave the water quickly.


  • Advise all personnel of the weather condition.
  • Monitor radio/television or National Weather Service (162.550 Mhz) for updates.
  • Monitor sky conditions. If you see a revolving funnel-shaped cloud, seek shelter immediately. If possible, CALL EMERGENCY 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY AND REPORT IT.
  • If swimming or boating, get out of the water immediately and seek shelter.
  • Terminate routine outdoor activities; seek shelter.
  • Tie down or otherwise secure outdoor objects that could blow away and cause damage or injury.

When a TORNADO WATCH is issued, in addition to the actions to be taken under a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH:

  • Cease swimming and boating activities; if a tornado occurs, there may not be enough time to get out of the water and into a safe shelter.
  • Cease any other outdoor activities that would unduly delay the seeking of shelter.
  • Monitor sky conditions. If you see a revolving funnel-shaped cloud, seek shelter immediately. If possible, CALL EMERGENCY 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY AND REPORT IT.

When a TORNADO WARNING is issued, or if you sight a tornado without warning:

  • Monitor radio, television, or the National Weather Service continuously.
  • Monitor sky conditions continuously. If you see a revolving funnel-shaped cloud, seek shelter immediately. If possible, CALL EMERGENCY 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY AND REPORT IT.
  • Turn off all utilities to minimize the possibility of fire.
  • Move all personnel to best available tornado shelters: basement or cellar, cave, or underground excavation; the center of basement or lowest level of a well-constructed building; interior hallway, closet, or bathroom - away from windows, doors, and outside walls; and under sturdy furniture or stairs.
  • If you are in automobile, mobile home or building with wide-span roof: get out and seek other shelter immediately; if outside, move at right angles to the tornado's path; and if you can't escape, lie flat on the ground, preferably in a low spot that is not flooded or subject to flash flooding and protect your head from flying debris.

After the tornado or damaging severe thunderstorm:

  • Check for injuries; provide first aid.
  • Check the facility for damages.
  • Turn on and check utilities.
  • Report any utility outages.
  • Stay away from disaster areas, except to assist in rescue and recovery efforts.

Remember that tornadoes may pass in just a few minutes and that they are extremely destructive during that time.

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Winter Storm

Severe winter weather occurs infrequently in San Bernardino County, but it can and does occur. If you are in our local mountains during such conditions, follow these guidelines.

Winter storms vary widely in intensity, from brief snow flurries to blizzards lasting many days (highly unlikely in San Bernardino County). Severe winter storms are usually forecast far enough in advance (WINTER STORM WATCH) to allow for preparation.

  • A WINTER STORM WARNING means that high winds, low temperatures, snow and/or sleet will occur in a matter of hours or are occurring now.
  • An ICE STORM WARNING means that freezing rain or drizzle is expected or is occurring, which is expected to accumulate a significant thickness of ice on roads, wires, trees, and other exposed surfaces.
  • A HEAVY SNOW WARNING means that snowfall of at least 4 inches in 12 hours, or 6 inches in 24 hours, is expected.
  • A BLIZZARD WARNING indicates that heavy falling and/or blowing snow, and winds of at least 35 miles per hour, are expected to last for several hours.
  • A SEVERE BLIZZARD WARNING is issued when heavy snow, winds of at least 45 miles per hour, and temperatures of 10 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, are expected to last for several hours.

Blizzards are a very rare occurrence in San Bernardino County, and a severe blizzard is an extremely unlikely event. TRAVELERS ADVISORIES are issued when ice and/or snow accumulations may hinder travel, but not seriously enough to require warnings.

When a WINTER STORM WATCH is issued, the following precautions should be taken:

Businesses, Industries, Schools, Government Agencies:

  • Review policies and procedures for closing or reducing operations, as well as the necessity for designated personnel to assist in protecting facilities and equipment.
  • Check the need and availability of emergency supplies, such as flashlights and batteries, first aid supplies, food for employees who may be stranded, etc.
  • Ensure that heating and vehicle fuel supplies are adequate.
  • Ensure that emergency heating equipment, with adequate fuel, is available and operable.
  • Check supplies of food to be sure that they are adequate.
  • Check operability of battery-powered radio(s) and flashlights, and supply of extra batteries.
  • Dress for the season.

When any type of WINTER STORM WARNING is issued:

Businesses, Industries, Schools, Government Agencies:

  • Implement policies for release of employees and curtailment of operations; if at night or on weekend, issue announcements through news media as appropriate.
  • Continue to monitor weather conditions and forecasts, and keep employees advised of the status of operations plans.
  • Stop business travel except in emergencies..


  • Stay indoors.
  • If you must go outdoors, don't overwork, dress appropriately, watch for signs of overexposure.
  • If the home is without heat, seek another heated shelter. If impossible, use an alternate heat source, such as a wood stove or fireplace; use one or two rooms, close off the rest of the house; dress warmly in layers, wear a hat, and use several light blankets when sleeping; hang blankets over windows and seal cracks in doors.
  • If you must travel, do so during the day and in convoy with another car or with another person, if possible; monitor weather reports on the radio; keep the gas tank at least half-full; seek shelter if the storm gets worse.
  • If you become trapped in your car, stay there unless you can clearly see shelter that you are sure is adequate and that you can get to safely; run motor and heater only when necessary and open a window slightly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning; be sure vehicle exhaust is not blocked; exercise by moving arms and legs and clapping hands, but avoid overexertion; keep watch for rescuers and turn on the inside car light at night so rescuers can see you.

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