Detailed plans to safely evacuate East Orange residents during a fire emergency were presented by the Orange Police Department at the Jan. 14 city council meeting.

The designated evacuation routes, developed with input from Orange police and fire, the Anaheim police department, Orange County Sheriff’s and California Highway Patrol, are a result of the Canyon 1 and 2 Fires, wherein streets were gridlocked and residents reported drive times of up to two hours to travel two to three miles.

In most cases, residents will be evacuated in a western direction, using westbound Serrano, northbound Cannon, westbound Santiago Canyon Road and westbound Chapman Avenue.  In an emergency, those arterials will be designated one-way only.

The East Orange area has been divided into 10 segments, with more detailed exit routes defined for each one. A website, accessible via the police department home page, will enable residents to type in their address and find the route specific to them. 

Orange Park Acres, for example, would be directed down Orange Park Boulevard to either Chapman Avenue or Santiago Canyon Road. OPA residents north of Santiago Blvd. would be routed to that street – westbound only.  Santiago Hills residents would have the option to take either westbound Chapman or southbound Jamboree. Neighbors using Cannon Street would be directed northbound.

The police department is calling its evacuation program “Know Your Way,” and encourages residents to look up designated evacuation routes from their neighborhoods once the website goes live. Streets are also being identified with evacuation route signage. Police also note that while it’s a good idea for residents to know their exit routes before an emergency, those routes are subject to change, depending on a given fire’s path of travel.

“The Know Your Way program’s success is dependent on people listening to us,” Chief Tom Kisela advises. “We spent a lot of time during the Canyon 2 Fire convincing people to leave.”

Evacuation routes for

East Orange identified

February 2020