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The original item was published from 1/14/2021 9:59:29 AM to 1/15/2021 8:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: January 14, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) in Malibu today, 1/14 due to Red Flag fire conditions

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Be Prepared for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) in point dume area of malibu today, thursday, january 14 through Friday, January 15 Due to Red Flag Fire Conditions

Due to forecast Red Flag fire conditions (very strong wind, low humidity, and high temperatures) Southern California Edison (SCE) notified the City and customers that it may implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) today, Thursday, January 14 through Friday, January 15 for the Cuthbert Circuit which covers most of Point Dume from Westward Beach Rd east to Latigo in Malibu. See the circuit map on the City's PSPS page: https://www.malibucity.org/973/SCE-Circuit-Maps.

Residents should monitor local news for weather conditions and any potential fires, especially on AM/FM radio since you can receive AM/FM radio on a solar, hand crank or battery powered radio, or in your car. Residents should make sure they are signed up for emergency alerts. Sign up for City of Malibu utility, emergency and weather alerts: www.MalibuCity.org/news (scroll down to Alert Center). Sign up for County of LA emergency alerts: https://lacounty.gov/emergency/alert-la/. All current City of Malibu alerts are posted at: www.MalibuCity.org/alerts.. For wildfire preparedness information specifically for Malibu, get the City’s Emergency Survival Guide: www.malibucity.org/SurvivalGuide.  

RED FLAG FIRE CONDITIONS THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 4PM - FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 4PM

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger conditions forecast in the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties from 4:00 PM Thursday, January 14, to 4:00 PM Friday, January 15, due to strong winds, low relative humidity, and unseasonably high temperatures. A Wind Advisory is also in effect from 6:00 AM on Thursday to 3:00 PM on Friday. See the City weather alert. For current and forecast weather and fire conditions, visit NWS LA/Oxnard: https://www.weather.gov/lox..


WHAT IS A PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFF (PSPS)?

When the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts critical fire weather conditions -high winds (Santa Ana events), along with high temperatures and low humidity - the power companies (Southern California Edison (SCE) in Malibu and much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties) may proactively shut down power in certain at-risk areas to reduce the threat of wildfires.

When SCE implements or considers PSPS, it refers to shutting off power for certain circuits, or electricity distribution areas. Look up what circuit you live at https://www.malibucity.org/973/SCE-Circuit-Maps. During a PSPS, power to all properties within a specific circuit(s) identified as at-risk for a wildfire will be turned off until the weather conditions change. 

Once the threat has passed, SCE crews will inspect all electrical equipment (transformers, power poles, etc.) to ensure power can be safely restored. This process can take 24 to 72 hours to complete.


HOW ARE RESIDENTS NOTIFIED OF A PSPS?

SCE will directly notify all customers in the affected circuit area at least 48 hours in advance of a potential PSPS implementation. An update will be sent at least 24 hours in advance of the time when the power may be shut off.

The City also receives notifications from SCE whenever any part of Malibu may potentially experience a PSPS. At that time, a Disaster Notification will be sent to all residents within the defined circuit area. The City has acquired a database with all cell phone numbers for accounts with 90265 zip codes so registration in the system is not necessary. However, residents can create a profile with the system so they can add or change the contact information they will be called or texted with. Visit MalibuCity.org/DisasterNotifications and follow the instructions to create a profile.

Emergency Alerts, Weather Alerts and Utility Advisories are sent to all subscribers in the City website’s e-notification system (sign up at MalibuCity.org/news, scroll down to Alert Center), as well as Nixle, NextDoor, and social media outlets. The information will also be posted to News & Announcements on the City website homepage and recorded on the City’s Emergency Hotline (call 310-456-9982).


HOW SHOULD I PREPARE IF MY HOME IS IN THE PSPS AREA?

A PSPS event will last as long as the dangerous fire weather conditions exist, plus the amount of time it takes for SCE to check its power lines, which could take hours or days depending on the size of the area.

  • During a PSPS, battery-operated or solar-powered flashlights and lanterns are better and safer than candles to provide lighting in and around your home.
  • Always have cash available for food or other necessities. ATMs will probably not be functioning and, while some stores can remain open without power, they may not be able to process credit card transactions.
  • Gas station pumps may be inoperable - fill up your car with gas before the power is shut off.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours. Buy a couple of bags of ice and keep them in the refrigerator and freezer or in an additional cooler.
  • Throw away food that was exposed to temperatures above 40°F for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that must be kept refrigerated, unless the label says otherwise.
  • Never use a gas stove top or oven to heat your home.


COMMUNICATIONS

Since phone towers within the circuit area are affected during a PSPS, cell phones, many landlines, and the internet may be inoperable. Residents should ensure that cell phones are constantly charged, and may consider having external batteries and battery chargers on hand.

Whenever a PSPS is implemented, the City Hall phone line (310-456-2489) will be staffed 24 hours/day.

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. KBUU has emergency power and will be on the air with updates during power outages every 15 minutes.


MEDICAL NEEDS

Individuals who are medically dependent on electricity should consider proactively staying in another area until conditions change and power is restored. Residents are encouraged to check on family members and neighbors who may need assistance.

If you or someone in your household requires power for medical equipment, contact SCE at 800-447-6620 to add that information to your account and register for the Medical Baseline program that provides an additional 16.5 kWh per day to your normal baseline electricity allocation. Learn more at: https://www.sce.com/residential/assistance/medical-baseline.

Talk to your doctor to find out how long medications can be stored at higher temperatures, and get specific guidance for any critical medications.


PUBLIC SAFETY ACCESS

During a PSPS or any power outage, electronic gates and garage door openers may not work. Gates should be left open and garage door openers set to manual operation to ensure you can get in and out of your property, and fire, paramedics or police can get to you when needed. Before the power goes out, residents should make sure they know how to manually open their garage doors  Doors may be heavy - ask a family member or neighbor for assistance if you cannot safely open your garage door.


WHAT THE CITY IS DOING TO PREPARE FOR PSPS

ZERO POWER PLAN - During the Woolsey Fire, cell phone towers and powerlines were destroyed, so we lost all power and cell phone service, and that created a serious and dangerous challenge in putting out emergency information to the community. We developed a ZERO POWER PLAN: Emergency Supplies and Information Stations, 10 set up along the length of the 21 mile city at logical gathering places such as shopping centers, marked with flags. We put out sandwich boards, and run out printed emergency information so we can keep people informed even when the power or cell phones are out. Recently did a demonstration and set up a station together with our Malibu CERT Team.

 ZERO POWER PLAN - The City is working on a system of sirens or loudspeakers, kind of like Tsunami warning sirens, that could be placed in strategic locations and warn the community about wildfire (or any disaster).

 ZERO POWER PLAN - The City recently purchased a large number of bullhorns and flashing light bars and Emergency vehicle identification placards so that city staff and volunteers can alert residents during an emergency when power is out or to assist Sheriffs deputies with evacuations, and conducted a drill in the Big Rock neighborhood.

 ZERO POWER PLAN - The City partnered with the Malibu CERT Team, which has some members that are experts in emergency radio use. (Dec. 2019) The City got approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to place a repeater antenna on top of Castro Peak, a high point in the Santa Monica Mountains, to greatly expand the reach of handheld radios so that public safety staff and CERT Team volunteers can communicate during disasters when power and cell phone services are out, as part of the City’s Zero Power Plan. The City funded the license, 40 handheld radios for the CERT Team, and the lease of the repeater antenna on Castro Peak.

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