MALIBU—A wildfire preparedness outreach program launched September 26, in Eastern Malibu, and is a collaboration between City officials and local volunteers.
In order to create wildfire awareness among citizens in Malibu, the city’s Public Safety staff members of the Malibu CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Sheriff’s Volunteers on Patrol (VOPs), and the volunteer Arson Watch came together.
“With mega-fires ravaging communities across California, it is more important than ever for everyone in Malibu to be prepared for the next catastrophic wildfire,” said Mayor Mikke Pierson.
“I applaud the partnership between the City staff and volunteers to go directly into neighborhoods to help residents get prepared, especially in this era of information overload on the internet, social media and the news, which can lead people to tune out,” Pierson said.
Susan Duenas Public Safety Manager, City of Malibu said to Canyon News that this is a direct outreach effort, “whereby volunteers, in teams of two, go door-to-door to talk to residents about the new fire evacuation zones, what zone they are in, how the zones will be used, new evacuation terminology, what to expect, etc.”
The event takes place on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon, “depending on the size of the neighborhood you were assigned and how chatty people were,” she said.
“We are providing this information through all of the traditional platforms – radio, newspaper, social media, etc – but we know that not everyone is tuned to those mediums on a regular basis or at all. Therefore, old-fashioned door knocking is needed,” Duenas said.
According to Duenas, the main goal of the program is to make sure everyone is aware of the evacuation zone they belong to and what to expect when an evacuation order is issued.
“This program will be used whenever it is needed. We did the same thing during the rain storms after Whoolsey to make sure people were aware of potentially damaging storms that were coming, how to get and place sandbags, etc,” Duenas said.
The volunteer numbers are not steady and fluctuate because of the pandemic and hesitation of people to interact with others, she said.
Duenas said the goal is to bring awareness and “An increase in the number of people who are aware of the [evacuation] Zones.”
“Over the two weekends of doing outreach we spoke with 199 people. At least 90% [among them] did not know about the evacuation zones and in my book, that is success,” said Duenas.