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Posted on: October 9, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Preparedness Guide

PSPS Prep NF

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.


WHAT IS A PSPS?

Malibu is separated into areas serviced by SCE circuits. 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. Residents can update their record in the City's Disaster Notification System, to include all methods of contact (home phone, cell phones, email) at MalibuCity.org/DisasterNotifications. Emergency Alerts and Utility Advisories are sent to all subscribers in the City website's e-notification system (sign up at MalibuCity.org/news), 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).


WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY HOME IS IN THE PSPS AREA? HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR A POWER OUTAGE?

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 & 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 temps above 40°F for 2 hour 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 10 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.

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, 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.

TO MANUALLY OPEN A GARAGE DOOR

  • Make sure garage door is closed. 
  • Locate and pull the release lever. 
  • Completely open the garage door. 
  • Prop it open so it does not slam back down. 

See the step-by-step video instructions.  

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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