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City of Malibu to Conduct Full-Scale Test of Disaster Notification System on February 7

The City will conduct a full-scale test of Everbridge, Malibu’s Disaster Mass Notification System, on Wednesday, February 7 at 7:00 PM as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to improve disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

The recent massive wildfires fires and ensuing mudslides that devastated communities in California highlighted weaknesses in the phone-based emergency alert systems that most government agencies rely on.

“We should learn from the experiences of the tragic California wildfires and mudslides to improve our own emergency systems,” Mayor Skylar Peak said. “My goal is for every family in Malibu to be signed up for Everbridge. I hope that this test will encourage people to sign up and get familiar with the system so we are all safer and better prepared if a disaster strikes.”

Following the test, the City will analyze the effectiveness and reach of the system and will conduct additional outreach to register more residents.

According to some estimates, fewer than half of all homes currently have a landline. People are increasingly “cutting the cord” and using only cell phones. During the deadly and destructive Santa Rosa and Thomas Fires, many people never received an evacuation notification. In some cases, telephone lines and poles were physically destroyed.

The City’s disaster mass notification system, Everbridge, will be used in case of major disasters or evacuations to send urgent, critical information by landline phone call, cell phone call, text message and email. It is a separate system from the City’s website Alert Center, which is regularly used to send out traffic, weather, utility and (minor) emergency alerts by text message and email to subscribers.

The system enables the City to immediately send an alert by voice message, text and email to all registered landlines, cellphones and email addresses. The 26,150 Verizon landlines in Malibu are automatically registered. Users can go to the City’s Everbridge website, create a profile, and enter multiple cell phone numbers, landlines and email addresses so that every family member, or staff member of a business, will receive an alert wherever they are.

There are currently only 1,617 cell phones registered for Malibu’s 13,000 residents. The recent disasters underscore how important it is for every person and household to sign up and register their cell phone numbers. All information will be kept strictly confidential and will not be shared with third parties.

When activated, the Everbridge system will send a recorded voice and/or text message, and cycle through every device that is registered, until a person clicks a “message received” confirmation. If no confirmation is received, the system will start over and cycle back through all of the devices/contacts until a confirmation is given.

The system also allows users to register disabilities, special medications, or specialized medical equipment that emergency responders may need to know about during an evacuation.

Users can download a free, optional Everbridge mobile app for use on Android or Apple devices. The system will work without the app. To find the app, search for “ContactBridge” in the app store or iTunes.

To sign up for the City’s disaster and evacuation alerts through Everbridge, visit www.MalibuCity.org/DisasterNotifications. For more information, call Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas at 310-456-2489 ext. 313 or email SDuenas@MalibuCity.org.

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