Evacuation, Shelter & Reception Centers

In case of an emergency, learn how to stay safe with the following tips for evacuation, seeking shelter and heading to your local reception center.


If directed to evacuate, please stay calm. Those who live or work in the Emergency Planning Zone will be directed north to locations outside the three Orange County cities of San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano. Interstate 5 (I-5) and Pacific Coast Highway are the designated routes, but please follow directions from law enforcement as traffic patterns may change. Traffic will be heavily controlled on surface streets leading to I-5 and at all highway on-ramps. Northbound traffic will be stopped at SR-78 in Oceanside and southbound traffic will be stopped at the I-5/405 interchange. If you know someone in your neighborhood without transportation, please offer them a ride.

Take necessary items for at least three days, including prescription medications, a small amount of cash, checkbook, toiletries, baby supplies and bedding. Also bring your potassium iodide (KI) tablets if you have them.


If directed to shelter in place, please do as directed. Local officials have determined it is safer for you to stay where you are instead of moving to another location. This means:

  • Stay indoors
  • Close all vents (including fireplace dampers)
  • Close windows and doors
  • Turn off air conditioning/heating system

If possible, move to a small, interior room with few or no windows. Keep the television or radio at hand to receive the latest information.

Because sheltering in place may last for more than a day, it is important to prepare and maintain an emergency kit that includes at least a three-day supply of food and water per person.

Reception Center

In the event of an evacuation, a Reception and Decontamination Center will be opened at the Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, in Costa Mesa.

The center is designed to receive, register and determine additional needs of evacuees. In the event of a radiological release, government, health and fire department personnel will be available to monitor evacuees for exposure to radiological contamination and take appropriate actions.

If you're at Camp Pendleton and told to evacuate, you'll be directed south to an on-base Reception and Decontamination Center located at 21 Area Fitness Center (Camp Del Mar). This location can be accessed through the Del Mar Gate off Oceanside Harbor Drive.

3 Emergency Zones

Emergency Zones: Zone 1: Camp Pendleton, Dana Point, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano. Zone 2: Aliso Viejo, Bonsall, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Fallbrook, Laders Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Oceanside, Rancho Santa Margarita, Vista. Zone 3: Ingestion Pathway Zone.

Southern California Edison (SCE), along with local and state governments and federal agencies, has detailed emergency response plans that can be put into action in the event of a nuclear power plant incident. Three emergency zones have been established around the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to educate and, if necessary, evacuate the people who live and work near the plant.

  • Zone 1: Emergency Planning Zone
    This is the area within a 10-mile radius from SONGS, where it is possible people downwind from the plant could be exposed to a radioactive plume if there is a release from the plant during an emergency.
  • Zone 2: Public Education Zone
    This area is in a radius of 10 to 20 miles from the plant. People who live or work in this area are provided educational information from SCE through community outreach activities, including presentations at local events, tours, safety expos and classroom visits.
  • Zone 3: Ingestion Pathway Zone
    This zone encompasses the area within 50 miles around the plant in which a radioactive release could have the potential to contaminate food and/or liquid produced or collected from the area. This area is designed to protect consumers from the ingestion of contaminated crops, agricultural products, water and livestock.