Last Sunday I was in the Malibu Times booth helping pass out the Malibu Hero’s Dolphin Pins, Certificates and Goodie bags.  Everybody had a story of what they did to help their friends and neighbors through that 3-week period.  Their actions helped make Malibu a better, more resilient, place.

Contractor Frank Kerze told of saving his home on Zumirez after losing the battle to save his neighbor’s home with a dribbling garden hose because the Water Tank feeding Point Dume was nearly empty by the time the Point started burning.  

More stored water will make Malibu a more resilient community.  It’s wonderful that District 29 and LACo Fire have gotten together to enable nearly all the destroyed homes to be rebuilt.  I appreciate that they haven’t forgotten the 17 homes on Lower Encinal and the LaChusa Highlands and are still working on a solution to allow those homes to be rebuilt.  

As a community, We really need the larger water tanks and bigger pipes not just in case of fire, but also to support our normal needs during any kind of emergency that results in a power failure lasting more than two days or a water main break that interrupts the supply being pumped up the Coast.  In the absence of our normal water deliveries, the water in the existing tanks will be exhausted in a little less than 3 days.  If we simultaneously have a power failure that prevents District 29 using electric pumps to balance the supply by refilling smaller tanks from existing ones within the service area, the underserved areas could have no water within 2 days.  More stored water equals more options in an emergency.

I also had several discussions about why some houses didn’t burn.  Frank Kerze had recently remodeled  Father Kerze’s home in Malibu Lake.  The remodel included closing in the eaves, adding ember stopping  vents, and replacing flammable siding with Hardyboard, a fire-resistant material.  When Father Kerze was able to return after the Fire, his house was still there.  His neighbors were not so fortunate.

If you are rebuilding, please consider any changes that could make your new home more Fire resistant.

We can all pitch in and make Malibu work better.  

Take the Community Emergency Response Team class and join the CERT Team.  

Join Arson Watch.  Get to know your neighbors, especially those likely to need your help.

Start a Fire Brigade in your community.

Prepare your home and family for the next emergency.  

Make a plan of where to meet if you can’t get home.  Set up an out of state 3rd party to relay messages via phone or text in an emergency.  When lines are down you may be able to call outside the service area on your phones but not receive calls.  Keep enough dry staples and a way to cook them in your pantry to allow you to feed your family without a trip to the market for at least two weeks.  Some jugs of water for drinking and cooking may also be useful.