For the past few months, Malibu has been prioritizing public safety with increasing traffic enforcement and parking regulations, in preparation for the scorch of visitors in the summer. Now that the city is prepared with the temporary impound yard at Heathercliff Road, the reminder of wildfire season is slowly approaching.
Last week, the LA County Fire Department and Ventura County Fire Department responded to a brush fire in Westlake Village and Carlisle Blvd. While the fire was no threat to Malibu, the city was still monitoring and providing updates through their alerting system. Residents can sign up to receive news and information on fire safety and prevention at www.malibucity.org/list.aspx.
As Southern California heads into peak fire season, the city continues to prepare and help community members be ready to respond when the time comes. While the community has been recovering from the Woolsey Fire that impacted thousands of residents, city and public officials have continued to improve evacuation plans in response to wildfire threats.
In 2020, Malibu created a Mass Evacuation Plan which was designed to create maximum traffic flow to improve evacuees as quickly and efficiently as possible. The three main factors include evacuation strategies, traffic management, and communication. The evacuation plan goal is to ensure a safe and effective evacuation of the community during life-threatening emergencies.
Initial actions depend on what type of action the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department incident commander receives from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The three standardized evacuation terms include evacuation order, evacuation warning, and shelter in place.
Affected residents will be notified for evacuation routes, safe refuge areas, shelter locations, and large animal shelter locations outside evacuation areas.
Safe Refuge Areas are temporary staging areas in a mandatory evacuation. They may also be used to help move traffic off the road to speed up the movement of people out of the immediate danger area. Residents seeking refuge in a Safe Refuge Area will be notified that the Safe Refuge Area is not a “hard or permanent shelter” and in the event, the evacuation order involves the Safe Refuge Area, those residents will be required to evacuate.
Communications from the city include official notification of an evacuation by LAFD or LASD, and messages using all available and appropriate communication tools.
The city also coordinates with Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Team members, volunteers with Meals on Wheels, Sheriff’s Volunteers on Patrol (VOPs), and other community-based organizations, nonprofits and faith groups to conduct wellness checks.
The Mass Evacuation Plan can be found on the city website malibucity.org.
Malibu issues emergency alerts upon notification, such as an alert of an evacuation, wildfire threats and alert systems, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and through social media by following the city on Instagram and Twitter at cityofmalibu.
Other forms of preparedness the city has in place is a Survival Guide. The city, in collaboration with other agencies, provides public works and other key services during an emergency. The guide provides a detailed list of emergency steps to take during and after a major disaster. Being prepared such as having a plan, pre-assembling an emergency supply kit, staying informed and knowing what to do if a family member is in need of medical attention is essential.
In addition to community awareness, Malibu is working to help the community prepare for wildfires, earthquakes, and other disasters with the city’s annual Public Safety Expo on Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall.
“We never know when disaster may strike, so the time to get prepared as individuals and as a community is right now,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “I urge every resident, employee, student or business owner in Malibu to join us for the Public Safety Expo to learn how to make a plan and gather supplies so we can be ready and resilient.”
The free event is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to help the community be more prepared for wildfires, earthquakes, floods, landslides and other disasters that nature might bring.
Attendees will be able to take a ride in an earthquake simulator that recreates a realistic and educational experience of a major earthquake inside a house, highlighting the need to make your home more earthquake safe.
Numerous vendors will have emergency preparedness equipment and supplies for sale and demonstration. Attendees can learn about a variety of volunteer opportunities and see specialty emergency and law enforcement teams and vehicles such as K-9, Malibu Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Fire Department trucks and more.
The vendors, participating agencies and training offered at the Expo will be listed on this page and at www.MalibuCity.org/PublicSafety.