595 San Ysidro Rd. Montecito, CA 93108
Montecito Foothills Aerial Shot
Montecito Emergency Readiness & Radio Action Group

Building a resilient and self-reliant community.

MERRAG provides readiness awareness and training, neighborhood radio communications, and timely, accurate
official information as a reliable community ally.

MERRAG  (pronounced "mirage") is a network of trained volunteers who live and/or work in the Montecito area. Members are prepared to respond to a community disaster during the critical first hours following an event. Since 1987, the mutual “self-help” organization has served Montecito’s 9,000 residents with the guidance and support of the Montecito Fire, Water and Sanitary Districts. 




A strong membership helps everyone in our community
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Training Opportunities

Know what to do when the time comes to respond to an emergency.
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Nixel Notifications

Get up-to-the-minute emergency notifications.
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Latest News from MERRAG

Do 1 Thing – June – Unique Family Needs

Each Month we will list one simple thing you can do to be better prepared for Disaster. This month we’d like you to focus on Unique Family Needs.

The following information is provided by http://do1thing.com/ The mission of Do 1 Thing is to move individuals, families, businesses and communities to prepare for all hazards and become disaster resilient.

THE GOAL: Be aware of and prepare for your family’s unique needs.

Every household is different. Is there an infant or young child in your home? Does someone in your family have a medical condition that requires medication? Do you have a pet? Before disaster strikes, talk to your family about your household’s unique needs. Make a list of special items you may need in a disaster.

Talk with family members to identify your household’s unique needs.

What kinds of things can members of your household not be without for 72 hours? Here are some examples of things that can create unique needs for your family:

  • Infants and young children
  • Prescription medication (keep a three day supply with you)
  • Health-related supplies (For example, diabetics need insulin syringes, alcohol wipes,
    and glucometer supplies)
  • Assistive devices (glasses, canes, etc.)
  • Pets

When you are in a hurry, it is easy to overlook small and important items. Common items like diapers and pet food might not be easy to find right after a disaster. Trying new brands of food or formula, or not having a comfort item, can make disasters more stressful for both children and pets.

Talk to your kids about what to do in a fire, a medical emergency, or a disaster. Make sure they know where emergency supplies are kept, how (and when) to call 911, and who to call if they can’t reach you in an emergency.

Make a plan to make sure pets are taken care of in a disaster.

A disaster may happen while you are away from home. Your neighborhood may be evacuated, or you could be trapped somewhere else and unable to get home. Consider asking a trusted neighbor to check on your pets if you can’t get home because of a disaster or emergency. You may also ask them to take your pets with them if an evacuation is ordered while you are not home. Make sure they are comfortable with your pet, and that they know where to find leashes and other supplies.

If you or someone in your household has a disability, create an evacuation plan that works for them.

People with disabilities are more affected by disaster than others in the community. Accessible services might not be available. Hazards like wildfire, floods, and hurricanes can lead to evacuations. If you have a disability and you live in an area where these things can happen, make sure you have an evacuation plan:

Make sure you are signed up for any emergency notification systems your community offers. Some notification systems will only call landline phones. If you use a cell phone, you may have to sign up separately.

Paratransit services may not be available once a disaster happens. Talk to your paratransit provider now to find out what services they can provide when evacuation is ordered.

If paratransit services aren’t available, arrange for someone else to pick you up if an evacuation is ordered. Make sure they will come for you UNLESS you tell them not to. That way there won’t be any confusion when the time comes. If you can’t evacuate, call 911 to let them know your location.

Talk to your local Red Cross chapter or other organizations who provide emergency sheltering in your community. Make sure that your needs can be met in an emergency shelter. Think about accessible entrances and bathrooms. What methods of communicating with shelter staff, medical services or assistive devices will you need? If you have a service animal, talk to them about what they can provide for the animal. Find out what you need to bring with you. Make sure you have batteries or a  charger for any assistive devices in your emergency kit.

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Do 1 Thing: May – Work, School & Community

Each Month we will list one simple thing you can do to be better prepared for Disaster. This month we’d like you to focus on Work, School and Community.

The following information is provided by http://do1thing.com/ The mission of Do 1 Thing is to move individuals, families, businesses and communities to prepare for all hazards and become disaster resilient.

THE GOAL: Make sure the people who count on you are prepared for a disaster.

Make sure emergency procedures are in place for your workplace or school.

Talk to your employer about emergency plans for the building where you work. Think about other places that you and family members regularly spend time, like your child’s school. Talk to administrators at those places about their emergency plans as well.


  • Make sure evacuation routes and tornado shelter locations are marked on a map and posted in the building.
  • Hold emergency training and drills.
  • Help create an emergency kit for the facility.
  • Know where fire extinguishers and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are located.

Give emergency kits to people who count on you (college students, elderly parents, etc.).

  • Put together basic emergency kits for people who may not be able to do so for themselves or for those who may not think of doing it for themselves. Show them what is in the kit and talk to them about disasters.
  • Make sure the kit meets their specific needs. For instance, if someone takes prescription medicine, include a list of medications and dosages. For a college student, make sure the kit is small enough to store in the space they have available.


  • Talk to your college student about how you will stay in touch if a disaster occurs.
  • Make sure they understand that cell phones may not work during a disaster.
  • Choose an emergency contact who does not live near you or the college. Arrange with your student to call that person if they can’t reach you during a disaster.
  • Visit the website for your student’s college to find out about the school’s disaster plans and procedures. Some colleges will provide a phone number that you can call in an emergency. If you don’t find the number on the website, call the admissions office and ask. Add the number to your emergency contact list.
  • Make sure your student knows to call you if there is an emergency on campus. Also, ensure your student is registered for any emergency notification system on their campus.


  • Talk to your insurance agent to find out if your policy covers your student’s belongings while they are away at school.
  • You may need to buy an additional renter’s policy.
  • Also check with your health insurance carrier to find out where your student can find covered healthcare at school.

Know how others in your community will respond in a disaster.

  • Talk to other people when you are developing an emergency plan for a school, workplace or organization.
  • Get input from people who work there and other people who use the building. It is especially important to include people with disabilities.
  • Think about asking your local police and fire departments to review the plan.
  • Make sure that what you are planning won’t interfere with emergency response.
  • Find out if your community has designated evacuation routes for floods, hurricanes, or other disasters. Include that information in your plans. Make sure that the plans you develop will work for everyone.
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Do 1 Thing – April – FOOD!

Each Month we will list one simple thing you can do to be better prepared for Disaster. This month we’d like you to focus on FOOD!

The following information is provided by http://do1thing.com/ The mission of Do 1 Thing is to move individuals, families, businesses and communities to prepare for all hazards and become disaster resilient.

THE GOAL: Have an emergency food supply that will meet the needs of your household for three days without outside help.

An emergency food supply doesn’t have to sit on a shelf, ready for disaster to strike (although it can). It can be part of the food you use every day. The key to a good food storage plan is to buy ahead of time. Replace items before they run out. Buy items when they are on sale. A large duffle bag or plastic tub with a lid makes a great storage place for an emergency food supply. Make sure your family, including pets, will have what they need when disaster strikes.

Buy a three-day emergency food supply for your household.

Put aside a three-day supply of food for disasters. You probably have a better idea than anyone else how much food you and your family members would need for three days. Follow the BUS rule to help you. BUS stands for balance, usability, and shelf-life.


You may already buy food that provides a balanced diet for your family. A balanced
diet includes a variety of foods from each of the basic food groups. This is especially important for people with certain health conditions. Also include high energy foods (such
as nuts and protein bars) and comfort foods (such as graham crackers or chocolate).


Choose items that don’t need to be cooled, heated, or need a lot of water. Examples
include canned or dried meat, dry cereal, and canned vegetables. Make sure you have
a manual can opener if you plan to use canned goods.


Look at the expiration date listed on the food item. Use and replace foods before
the expiration date.

Take steps to make sure food in your refrigerator and freezer will stay safe.

  • During an extended power outage, temperatures in your fridge and freezer will begin to rise, even if the doors stay closed. As the temperature rises, harmful bacteria may begin to grow on your food.
    If the temperature in your fridge stays above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours, perishable food items (milk, lunch meat, mayonnaise based salads, poultry items, leftovers, etc.) may be unsafe to eat.
  • If the temperature in your freezer stays above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than one to two days, food may be unsafe to eat. Food that still contains ice crystals should be safe. Always check the color and odor of food, particularly meat when it is thawed. If it is questionable throw it out (make sure it is discarded where animals can’t get to it).


  • Install a thermometer in your fridge and freezer.
  • If you anticipate a power outage, such as a winter storm, reduce the temperature of your fridge and freezer. The colder your food is the more time it takes to thaw.
    Keep containers of ice in your freezer to keep the temperature down.


  • Cover the fridge or freezer in newspapers and blankets. Keep vents clear in case the freezer starts operating again.
  • Avoid opening the door to the fridge or freezer.
    Use dry ice, if available. Identify a source for dry ice in advance and remember that if the power outage is widespread, there may be a lot of competition for this resource.
  • If you don’t know the temperature of your fridge or if the fridge was off for more than four hours, the food should be discarded. Eating perishable food that has not been kept cold can cause food poisoning, even if it is refrozen or cooked. When in doubt, throw it out!

Make sure you can meet any special dietary needs in your household.

  • Some people are on special diets for health reasons. There can be serious effects if the right food is not available during a disaster. If you use special equipment, like a blender, food scale, or feeding tubes, make sure you take those with you. Think about keeping extra equipment at a friend or relative’s home in case you have to evacuate.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider or a nutritionist about nonperishable menu options that can be used if you can’t get to a grocery store, or that can be prepared at an emergency shelter. Keep a description of your medical condition and the diet in your emergency kit.
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