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The original item was published from 2/24/2021 3:45:07 PM to 2/25/2021 8:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: February 24, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Strong Winds Forecast Bringing Potential for Fire and Power Outages

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STRONG WIND EVENT FORECAST FOR MALIBU feb. 24 -25 BRINGING fire conditions and potential for power aND TRAFFIC SIGNAL OUTAGES 

The National Weather Services (NWS) has issued a Wind Advisory for the Malibu coastal area from 9:00 PM today, Wednesday, February 24, through 3:00 PM Thursday, February 25. Damaging wind gusts of 40-55 mph are predicted which may cause power outages and downed trees. Strong offshore winds and low humidities are forecast with elevated to potentially critical fire weather conditions. See the current City weather alert. See NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard weather conditions and forecasts.

Residents should be prepared for potential fires, power and traffic signal outages, downed tree limbs and powerlines, hazardous driving conditions, and debris in the roadway. Residents should monitor emergency and weather updates on local AM and FM radio (which will work with hand-crank, solar, battery-powered, and car radios if the power is out). The City will send out alerts as needed and post all emergency information on the website.

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.  


HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR POWER OUTAGES?

Power outages are very common in Malibu during strong wind, Santa Anas and winter storms caused by wind bringing down tree branches that fall into power lines, wind slaps power lines into each other, and other causes. Traffic signal outages related to power outages are also very common during wind and storm events. 

  • During a power outage, 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

Power outages can impact cell phone service, landline service and internet service for residents. Residents should ensure that cell phones, tablets and laptops are constantly charged, and may consider having external batteries and battery chargers on hand.

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. 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 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 extended power outages

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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