City Staff and Residents Come In For Criticism In Review Of How Malibu Handled The Woolsey Fire

Written by on August 1, 2019

The outside evaluation of the city’s handling of the Woolsey Fire was published tonight They make 53 recommendations to the city and its residents. Key findings:
Malibu residents expect too much from the city
Community members lack understanding about the City’s role in this incident (not a first responder), and about their own responsibilities and expectations should they choose to shelter in place instead of evacuating. Many residents practiced the “Stay and Defend” procedures versus the widely accepted “Ready-SetGo” protocol. The City is not obligated to provide logistical support for those who defy a mandatory evacuation order, but its planning must assume that some individuals will do so.
The city manager spent too much time running around Malibu solving problems, and not enough time at the Emergency Operations Center directing things.
The forced relocation of the EOC (as well as the entire community) out of Malibu resulted in a critically important functional communication gap between City leaders, the community, and first responders for about 16 hours in the early stages of the incident.
The City Manager served as the primary liaison between the City Council and the rest of the organization and the EOC and during this event. That role was stretched thin, which was made especially acute with a citywide evacuation. The City Manager spent considerable time with elected officials during and immediately after this event, which impacted her time and capacity for the broader response issues and organizational management.
City staff evacuated City Hall and left behind important stuff
City staff left behind critical information and equipment when the EOC was forced to relocate. Equipment such as laptops, satellite phones, personal contact information, and payroll information made operations in the new location exceedingly difficult.
The CERT teams and other volunteers were unsure of their roles, and not used
The City did not fully utilize the community’s CERT volunteers to play an active part in the evacuation and response efforts, due in part to the fact that many CERT volunteers had evacuated the City.
The best parts of the report are reprinted here:
The entire report is printed here:

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