Emergency Response

California fairgrounds have been a core resource for emergency response personnel whenever extreme weather, fires, floods, and pandemics have affected local communities. To assist our fairgrounds in these efforts, the information below will provide some background of the authorities that allow for the use of the fairgrounds, the management systems utilized, planning tips, sample shelter related documents, and some of the resources available to our fairgrounds when activated for emergency response purposes.

Fairground Emergency Use Authority

California Government Code 8589: The Office of Emergency Services shall be permitted the use of all state and local fair properties as conditions require.

Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)

SEMS is the cornerstone of California's emergency response system and the fundamental structure for the response phase of emergency management. The system unifies all elements of California’s emergency management community into a single integrated system and standardizes key elements.

SEMS incorporates:

  • Incident Command System (ICS) - A field-level emergency response system based on management by objectives
  • Multi/ Inter-agency coordination - Affected agencies working together to coordinate allocations of resources and emergency response activities.
  • Mutual Aid - A system for obtaining additional emergency resources from non-affected jurisdictions.
  • Operational Area Concept - County and its sub-divisions to coordinate damage information, resource requests and emergency response.

Fairground Emergency Response Activation Preparation Recommendations

  • Samples - Animal Intake, Animal Care, County MOU
  • Establish a relationship with your local OES Office
  • Have DUNS numbers, MOUs, agreements, and contracts in place prior to an emergency activation
  • Post evacuation procedures and documents on fair's website
  • Establish donation management and media plans

Fairground Emergency Response Activation Recommendations

  • Work with your OES contact to define your role in the event and obtain contact info for the lead staff deployed to your fairgrounds
  • Get agreements and contracts executed as soon as possible after an emergency activation
  • Execute donation management and media plans
  • Assign staff to track expenses, register evacuees and animals, serve as spokesperson and secure points of entry (as necessary)
  • Attend daily coordination meeting with the response organizations utilizing your fairgrounds, especially during organizational transitions for feeding responsibilities and shelter management

Fairground Emergency Response Closure Recommendations

  • Provide clear and unified messaging of fairground shelter status and alternative shelter locations (if applicable)
  • Ensure that lead sheltering organization(s) communicates to and relocates all remaining evacuees
  • Work with local property owners and stable operators to relocate any remaining sheltered animals
  • Complete documentation of expenses and submit reimbursement requests within required deadlines
  • Attend any after‐action reporting/coordination meetings with those response organizations that utilized your fairgrounds to voice any concerns or to offer best practices for future activations

Fairground Emergency Response Resources

  • Local County OES / Other County Resources
    - Staffing, equipment,reimbursements, CARES access
  • Network of California Fairgrounds
    - Experienced CEOs, websites, forms, staff
  • Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative Care & Shelter Planning Toolkit  http://www.bayareauasi.org/careshelter
    – Plans, agreement samples, shelter kits
  • Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) www.itdrc.org
    - Wireless Connectivity, Voice/Data Infrastructure, CCTV / AV
  • California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES)
    -  CARES is assist with all aspects of animal care and control in the event of a disaster or   emergency and is only available through your county
  • CDFA Fairs & Expositions
    - Temporary animal pens; Inter-agency, CDFA, NGO, and SOC communications

Resources and Sample Fairground Documents

Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)

  • The ETS applies to all employers, employees, and to all places of employment
  • The ETS must still be followed for vaccinated persons
  • To comply with the ETS, an employer must develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Program or ensure its elements are included in an existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)
  • The ETS requires employers to provide employees with face coverings (or reimburse employees for the cost) and ensure they are worn over the nose and mouth when indoors and when outdoors, and within 6 feet of another. Exceptions apply, see the Cal/OSHA site for more details.

Cal/OSHA Worker Safety and Health in Wildfire Regions

  • Cal/OSHA regulation (section 5141.1) to protect employees exposed to wildfire smoke requires the following: Identification of harmful exposures; Communication; Training and instruction; Control of harmful exposures; Specific particulate sampling requirements if an employer opts to monitor employee exposure with a direct reading instrument
  • Where the current AQI for PM2.5 is from 151 to 500, employers must provide a sufficient number of NIOSH-approved particulate respirators, such as N95 masks, to all employees for voluntary use, and training on the regulation, the health effects of wildfire smoke, and the safe use and maintenance of respirators
  • Cal/OSHA is maintaining a list of vendors who have represented they have at least 100,000 NIOSH-certified disposable N95 respirators in stock and available for delivery

Emergency Response Plan Publication

WFA Area Resources

The Western Fairs Association Areas share resources.

Please contact your local WFA Area chair, if your fairgrounds need equipment, livestock panels, emergency equipment, etc.


Report 1 CA Fairgrounds Support of Disasters and Catastrophes (not available at this time) Report 2 CA Fairgrounds Best Practices and Resources Use in Support of Disasters and Catastrophes (not available at this time) Report 3 CA Fairgrounds Concept of Operations in Support of Disasters and Catastrophes (not available at this time) Sample DAA and Del Norte County OES MOU Sample Del Mar Emergency Evacuation Animal Care Sheets Sample SON Emergency Animal Evacuation Packet