2020 Wildfire Season in Malibu: What You Can Do To Be Prepared Right Now
Malibu has already been seeing dangerous Santa Ana winds, Red Flag conditions, power outages, downed trees, disabled traffic signals, and numerous small fires, which fortunately were quickly knocked down. The City has been conducting widespread public outreach to help community members be prepared for wildfire, evacuations and power outages as part of the effort to achieve community-wide preparedness, including hosting many virtual meetings and workshops, sending out mailers, social media and e-notification messaging and even going door-to-door to hand out Emergency Survival Guides and Evacuation Zone information and maps.
NOW IS THE TIME to learn about the City's Wildfire Evacuation Zones, Evacuation Plan and to make sure that you and your family have emergency supplies and plans, and are ready to evacuate in case a major wildfire threatens our community. Please review this checklist and more detailed information below.
Quick Preparedness Checklist:
- Sign up for Alerts and Notifications
- Know your Evacuation Zone and evacuation routes
- Get a Dolphin Decal
- Get a copy of the Malibu Emergency Survival Guide
- Prepare for power outages
- Harden your home against flying fire embers
- Get a "Go Bag" ready - make sure it includes copies of important documents
- Take photos or videos of your home and valuables
- Prepare to evacuate your pets/livestock
Sign Up For Alerts and Disaster Notifications
City website alerts - Make sure all members of your family, business, or organization are signed up for emergency, weather and traffic alerts by text and email from the City. To sign up, visit the E-notify web page at http://www.malibucity.org/news (scroll down to Alert Center). These alerts are sent out for smaller-scale emergencies, mobility impacts and road hazards, water main breaks, small-scale power outages, small fires that may become a threat, weather and fire conditions that may become a threat, etc. The alerts are also automatically posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
City Disaster Notifications - When there is an imminent threat to any part of our community or evacuations, the City issues Disaster Notifications via text, phone call and/or e-mail to the specific area that is being threatened. In 2019, the City acquired a database of all cell phone numbers in the 90265 zip code. However, residents are still encouraged to create an account in the system so that they can add or remove phone numbers or emails to receive Disaster Notifications on. To do so, visit http://www.malibucity.org/disasternotifications, create a profile and enter contact information.
Wireless Emergency Alerts - If there is a severe, widespread, imminent threat to public safety, the City has the ability to send out a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) which goes to all cell phones within range of cell towers in the City with no subscriptions necessary so it reaches visitors as well as residents. For more information about the City’s different types of emergency alerts, visit: https://www.malibucity.org/566/Alerts-Emergency-Notifications.
LA County Alerts – To sign up to receive emergency alerts by text message and/or email from Los Angeles County agencies, include LA County Fire, Sheriff’s Department and Public Works Departments, and Office of Emergency Management (LAOEM), visit: https://lacounty.gov/emergency/alert-la.
Learn About Malibu’s Evacuation Zones
The Evacuation Zones are part of the Mass Evacuation Plan that the City Council adopted February 24, 2020, following a recommendation from the Malibu Disaster Council. The Mass Evacuation Plan, an update to the City’s Emergency Operations Plan, was created by the public agency working group convened after the Woolsey Fire to improve communication, coordination and response on wildfire evacuations in Malibu. All residents and businesses in Malibu are encouraged to become familiar with the Evacuation Plan, Evacuation Zones, and Emergency Operations Plan and California’s standardized Evacuation Terminology. They are all available, as well as a search feature to find out what zone your Evacuation Zone is on the City website: www.MalibuCity.org/Evac.
Get a Malibu Dolphin Decal
The City’s Dolphin Decal vehicle identification program was established to assist emergency personnel in identifying residents and other individuals who need to access their homes and businesses during some emergencies. During a“Resident Only Road Closure,” the Dolphin Decal may expedite passage into the restricted area, as motorist approaching a roadblock are checked for proof of residency or business. The Dolphin Decal gives no special rights or privileges. For more information and to register, visit https://www.malibucity.org/229/Dolphin-Decal-Access-Program or call City Hall at 310-456-2489.
Get a Malibu Emergency Survival Guide
The City of Malibu’s Emergency Survival Guide is now available for free to download or in print. The Guide is based on the Los Angeles County Survival Guide and customized for Malibu. It includes information about creating an emergency plan, emergency kits and supplies, special measures for seniors, people with disabilities, pets and horses, what to do when disaster strikes, basic first aid, important phone numbers and hazards specific to Malibu and more. Neighborhood and community groups are encouraged to pick up the guide books in bulk to distribute to their members and neighbors. To make an appointment to pick up guides, contact Sarah Kaplan, Public Safety Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-456-2489, ext. 368. The guide is available to download or print at www.MalibuCity.org/SurvivalGuide.
Be Prepared for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and Other Power Outages
PSPS - what, why, when? - When the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts critical fire weather conditions -high winds (Santa Ana events), along with high temperatures and low humidity - Southern California Edison (SCE) has, can and will proactively shut down power across large sections of Malibu in order to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires until the dangerous conditions have passed. Once the threat has passed, SCE crews must first inspect all electrical equipment (transformers, power poles, etc.) to ensure power can be safely restored, which can take 24 to 72 hours.
Any time SCE is considering a PSPS, it notifies Malibu, other public agencies, and customers at least 48 hours in advance, and again 24 hours in advance that power might be turned off. The City is broken into several circuits, and the circuit maps are available at: https://www.malibucity.org/973/SCE-Circuit-Maps.
Anytime notice is given that a PSPS is being considered for Malibu, the City will send out emergency messaging to alert the community using emergency alerts, Disaster Notifications (like Reverse 9-1-1), the website, social media, the phone hotline and PSAs on KBU 99.1 FM radio. The City Hall phone line (310-456-2489) will be staffed 24 hours/day.
How to prepare for a power outage lasting for hours or days
Have battery-operated or solar-powered lights, emergency cash, keep your vehicle fuel tank filled, have non-perishable dry and canned food, keep the refrigerator closed and purchase bags of ice to store in the refrigerator to keep your food cool longer. Throw away perishable food that was exposed to temperatures above 40°F for two hours or more, or anything that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that requires refrigeration, unless the label says otherwise. Never use a stove, oven or BBQ to hear your home. Keep backup batteries for cell phones and tablets. Make sure you know how to manually open your garage door or driveway gate.
Be prepared for traffic signal outages, and approach any intersection where the traffic signal is not functioning as if it were an all-way stop sign (as required under California law).
People with disabilities or mobility issues, or who are medically dependent on electricity should consider proactively leaving the area until power is restored. Residents are encouraged to check on family members and neighbors who may need assistance. If you require power for medical equipment, contact SCE at 800-447-6620.
Monitor news, weather, traffic and emergency information by listening to KBUU 99.1 FM and KNX AM-1070 on a battery-powered, solar, hand-crank, or car radio.
For more information on how to prepare for PSPSs and other power outages, visit www.MalibuCity.org/PSPS.
Harden your home against wildfires
The City’s Fire Safety Liaison is available to visit your home, assess the property’s wildfire risk and provide a checklist of ways that that you can harden your homes against flying embers, which are a main cause of homes catching fire during a wildfire. Tips include clearing away dry, flammable material, furniture, and vegetation from adjacent to the home, covering eve vents with metal mesh, keeping rain gutters free of leaves and debris, and creating defensible space around the house. The outreach also includes tips on situational awareness, early evacuation, and creating a family emergency plan. To schedule an appointment online, visit the web page or email FireSafety@malibucity.org or call 310-456-2489, ext. 387. To see a home hardening checklist and other home hardening information, visit: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-ready/hardening-your-home.