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FAQ: What Santa Monicans Should Know About the Fire

December 7, 2017 1:10 PM
by Joseph Vandenorth

FAQ: What Santa Monicans Should Know About the Fire

As residents navigate the impacts of the fires across the region, the City of Santa Monica asks that residents and visitors closely monitor updates and avoid the fire areas to allow emergency responders the access they need. This is the time to prepare your home, build a kit of supplies, and have a plan with your friends and family. Please also sign up for SM Alerts so the City of Santa Monica can text or email you with major updates. 

At this time, the biggest impact to Santa Monica is air quality. Resident, visitor and staff safety is our top priority. Pay attention to local forecasts and use the below information to get prepared. 

How do I check air quality in my neighborhood?

It is recommended that you avoid smoke as much as possible. Monitor the air quality in your area by entering your zip code at www.aqmd.gov. If the Air Quality Index is above 100, sensitive groups mentioned above should suspend outdoor activity. If conditions rise above 150, it is recommended that all individuals suspend outdoor activity.

What does Ready, Set, Go mean? 

If there’s potential for evacuation, residents in a defined area would be put on “evacuation advisory” similar to areas west of the 405 Freeway, east of Mandeville Canyon Road, north of Sunset Blvd. This is also referred to as Ready, Set, Go. 

  1. Ready entails disposing of combustible material around your home and trimming trees and bushes.
  2. Set consists of preparation measures such as putting together a “Go-Kit” (medication, documents, supplies), creating an action plan with family and neighbors, including practice exit plans, and signing up for emergency notifications and alerts via social media.
  3. Go means go. Get your Go-Kit and leave well before the threat approaches. Stay aware of the situation and stick to your plan. Cooperate with local authorities, including the re-entry process. 

What would an evacuation of Santa Monica look like? 

In the event of an evacuation, the City of Santa Monica will initiate a SM Alert to all residents and businesses in the impacted area. This evacuation message would go out to landlines that are registered in public records as well as all cell phones and e-mail addresses that are registered with SMAlerts, Santa Monica’s mass notification system. To receive SMAlerts for your home or business, visit www.smalerts.net and register for “emergency” alerts. Residents and businesses may also register for Public Safety notices that provide situational awareness on immediate safety concerns in our community. Public Safety notices have currently been used throughout the wildfire incidents to notify the Santa Monica public about local cancellations, weather-related hazards, and traffic information.

If there was an imminent threat and evacuation is mandatory, law enforcement would notify all residents similar to the efforts seen in the current wildfire evacuations across the region.  

What is Santa Monica Fire Department doing?

A team of firefighters were deployed overnight until early morning on Thursday conducting a safety patrol of the Santa Monica monitoring for fire and embers with the increased winds and the uncontained Skirball Fire. This was a preventative measure and it’s important that residents stay vigilant and take measures to dispose of combustible material around their homes and stay alert of the current conditions.

The Santa Monica Fire Department deployed two engines to the Thomas Fire at 11 p.m on Monday, December 4 as part of our Mutual Aid Strike Team with Culver City FD and Beverly Hills FD. At 8:30 on Tuesday, December 5, Los Angeles City Fire (LAFD) requested a strike team deployment to the Creek Fire in the Sylmar area. SMFD sent one Engine and one Battalion Chief to assist. Those resources were re-deployed to the Skirball Fire where SMFD has B2, TRN3 & E1 with LAFD resources. SMFD has recalled off-duty personnel to staff reserve engines. There is no interruption in emergency services to the Santa Monica community while the Strike Teams are deployed.

What should I do if my power goes out or a tree falls in the road?

There is a potential for downed trees, power lines and power outages. To report downed trees or fallen limbs in the public right of way, please contact the Public Landscape Division at 310-458-8974. Contact Southern California Edison for power line or outage issues.

Would there be shelters available? 

The City of Santa Monica Emergency Operations Center would coordinate with the American Red Cross and other community partners on suitable evacuation shelter locations based on the situation. This information would be disseminated to the public using social media, SMAlerts, local media, and the City’s website.

Are City services and schools open? 

Some outdoor recreation programs were closed on December 6 and 7, but are back open now. It's best to reach out to the specific site if you have questions. 

City Hall and other City services, incuding Big Blue Bus and Resource, Recovery, and Recycling are operational. 

For schools, check SMMUSD's website and Santa Monica College's website for the most up-to-date information. All schools plan to re-open on Monday. 

Where can I find more information and alerts?

Here are a few links to help you with preparation as well as getting the latest information. 

Register for SM Alerts

Read, Set, Go! Guide

City of Santa Monica website

City of Santa Monica Twitter

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