The city of Malibu is hosting its annual Public Safety Expo in person again this year. The event takes place on Saturday, October 2, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the front parking lot at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu. 

The free event is part of the city’s 2021 National Preparedness Month, and features crisis first aid training (at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon), emergency preparedness equipment vendors, volunteer opportunities and more. 

This year the event includes LA County Animal Control’s Command Post Trailer and ATV; the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad Truck and K9 Unit, a Search and Rescue Truck, Disaster Communications Truck, Station Deputy and Patrol Car, and CSI Fingerprinting. Learn more at https://malibucity.org/prepmonth

The event features information on every potential kind of disaster, from earthquake to tsunami, but fire is foremost on everyone’s mind this year. After numerous fire incidents involving homeless encampments, the Malibu City Council recently voted unanimously to declare a local emergency and establish a program for reducing the risk of fires associated with unhoused people engaged in unregulated camping in city limits. 

The resolution directs city staff to work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to identify homeless encampments in Malibu; provide notification of the prohibition to the people residing in the encampments and provide connections to available resources; and ensure that Malibu remains free of homeless encampments while ensuring that these efforts do not criminalize people experiencing homelessness.

Like Topanga, the entire city of Malibu is within territory designated by CAL FIRE as a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, based on its vegetation, steeply sloping topography and fire history, among other factors. Currently, local factors such as live fuel moisture and extreme drought conditions make wildfire an even more dangerous risk to the city, its residents, and its unhoused population. 

Most vegetation fires in the Santa Monica Mountains are caused by human activity, including sparks from power lines, car accidents, weed whackers, arson, and campfires, Fires are a regional problem that impact everyone living in the urban wildland interface. The emergency declaration is part of Malibu’s strategy for reducing fire risk. That plan also includes home ignition zone assessments, public education on fire preparedness and the safe use of equipment that can spark fires, like weed whackers.

Learn more at www.MalibuCity.org/Homelessness.