Santa Barbara Translator Talks Disaster Prep

Liliana Encinas Invited by Sacramento to Lend Her Expertise

Santa Barbara City Fire Public Education Specialist Liliana Encinas at Station One. | Credit: Paul Wellman

Liliana Encinas, the city Fire Department’s Bilingual Outreach Coordinator and a crack Spanish translator, was recently invited up to Sacramento by Governor Gavin Newsom’s office to discuss best practices of emergency preparedness. She took part in a panel discussion with state officials at Univision headquarters, where she talked about the popular Listos program created right here in Santa Barbara.

Listos, a disaster-readiness program for Spanish speakers, was originally put together in 2009 by the county in partnership with the Orfalea Foundation. Encinas got involved the following year ― revising the curriculum and developing a train-the-trainer element ― and Listos has since expanded to 32 communities across California. Just recently, the state awarded a $2.2 million grant to the Fire Service Training Institute (FSTI), a Santa Barbara nonprofit, to continue spreading the Listos word.

Born in El Paso but raised in Juarez, Encinas said she “crossed the border every day of my life to have a bilingual, bicultural upbringing.” She started her career in Santa Barbara as a volunteer for a local family resource and immigration center, and she’s now executive manager of the entire statewide Listos program, in addition to previously translating FEMA materials and CERT trainings. In March, she translated the Santa Barbara Independent’s Disaster Prep Guide. “Lastly, but most importantly,” she said, “I am a wife and mother of four children who enjoys spending free time with my family.”

Encinas applauded Newsom’s new California for All initiative that’s working to ensure emergency prep information reaches all segments of the population, including those living in isolation or poverty, and those with language barriers or special needs. Listos is currently being translated into five additional languages, she noted. For more information on Listos and available trainings, contact Encinas at 805-564-5778 or


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