What’s Being Done About Fire Safety in Malibu?

Areas where traffic studies were undertaken by the city in Point Dume

Last week’s Public Safety Commission meeting, which was also attended by LA County Sheriff’s Department representatives, public safety manager Susan Dueñas and the Public Works Department, brought important updates on community concerns and issues. Last week, Malibu was surrounded by four major wildfires in LA County, with one fire of its own quickly extinguished by the fire department. City residents were on edge about emergency alerts, and safety commissioners had a number of questions about the city’s emergency alert systems and responses. 

Registering additional contact information on city’s emergency alert system—Everbridge

All land line phone numbers in the City of Malibu are automatically entered into the Everbridge database. This service is contracted by the city to allow immediate mass distribution of critical information and instructions in case of large-scale disasters such as earthquake, wildfire, major road closures or evacuations. Residents and businesses may also register cellphones, work phones and email to receive emergency messages on multiple devices. 

Though systems of this kind were once referred to in some areas as “reverse 911,” Everbridge is now the official name of the program.

Do not rely on Waze or PulsePoint for emergency alerts

Dueñas said residents are critical of the city, saying they’re getting emergency information much faster on Waze and PulsePoint than they are from the city’s alert system. Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app for phones, simply shares unverified information from other drivers that is not necessarily correct. PulsePoint monitors calls made to 911—but not if those calls were for real emergencies.

Unlike those two apps, the city does not send out an alert until an event has been verified by the fire or sheriff’s departments. 

Does Malibu have a plan to rescue the homebound and elderly?

Dueñas said the city does not keep a list of homebound or elderly people who would need to be rescued in the event of fire or other emergency. “We don’t want people to think the government is going to go out and get homebound people—it’s too much of a liability,” Dueñas said. “It’s literally impossible to know where all the homebound people are … People should make their own plans. If you know someone sick or elderly, you can contact them or a relative to make arrangements.”

She also pointed out that residents registering their devices on Everbridge are asked whether there is anyone at home who might have difficulty evacuating on their own, or is on oxygen; but she didn’t recommend relying on this system for rescue. 

Point Dume and Busch Drive traffic data  

The city has been studying traffic in Point Dume and on Busch Drive. In the latest “traffic calming” attempt, speed advisory signs were installed on Wildlife Road, Birdview Avenue, Dume Drive, Grayfox Street, Dume Drive and Busch Drive in December 2016. The signs also collect traffic data. 

The results comparing traffic speeds, amount of traffic and time of day between the winter months and the summer months were presented by Travis Hart of the Public Works Department. Some of his interesting findings: Wednesdays and Thursdays tended to be the busiest days for traffic, and the slowest day was Sunday. More cars were on Birdview in the winter than in the summer—the opposite of what he said he would have expected. The speeds on Busch tended to be about five miles per hour over the limit, but in general, vehicles were not speeding on the monitored streets. Overall vehicle counts were higher in summer than in winter on Dume Drive.

The city will continue to collect data on an ongoing basis.  

Update on the $47 million Civic Center wastewater plant construction project

Bob Brager, public works director and city engineer, gave an update on the Malibu Civic Center Wastewater Treatment Facility (CCWTF) project. 

“This is the 18th month of construction, and we’ve cranked up the treatment plant, and we’re testing it now,” he said. “It’s clearwater testing, which will continue until February or March; and then we’ll slowly introduce raw sewage, and expand it very slowly, tying more and more lines from different properties into it. We want to make sure everything works properly before we repave the street—Civic Center Way, which is torn up, with metal plates.

“By June or July, everything should be tied in and completed,” Brager continued. “Then we go to City Council and ask them to accept the project as complete.”

Crime statistics compared to last year

Comparing crime statistics to the same period of time last year, the sheriff’s report showed significant increases in thefts from locked vehicles, the number of stolen vehicles and misdemeanor domestic violence. There was a decrease in theft from unlocked vehicles. Overall, though, crime was up only 2.2 percent.


Stay informed

  • Everbridge—All land line phone numbers in the City of Malibu are automatically entered into the Everbridge database, so residents with a land line don’t need to do anything to register. This service is contracted by the city to allow immediate mass distribution of critical information and instructions in case of large-scale disasters such as earthquake, wildfire, major road closures or evacuations. To register cell phones, work phones and email, go to member.everbridge.net/index/453003085613099#/login or go through the Emergency Notifications portal on the City of Malibu’s website.

  • Nixle—Nixle is a community information service that provides emergency advisories and notifications regarding situations within Malibu and throughout Los Angeles County. Updates are generated by official agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, CHP, local law enforcement agencies, and government offices. Alerts can be provided by email, text or the internet. To sign up for alerts go to: local.nixle.com/register 

  • Go to Cal Fire and click on “Current Fire Information” or download the app

  • Tune in to KBUU 99.1 FM on the radio, or online at radiomalibu.net for the latest verified emergency information.

  • Information on PulsePoint and Waze is not verified by anyone; local television news information may or may not be the very latest.

  • The Malibu Times online at malibutimes.com updates with information about fires in Malibu, and notifications for voluntary and mandatory evacuations will be sent out to newsletter subscribers. To subscribe, go to malibutimes.com/users/admin/mailinglist.