Councilmember Susan Wengraf
Newsletter #82

September 2, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

==The forecast is for very hot weather this coming weekend. With wildfires burning throughout the state, I want you to have as much information as possible to prepare for a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

==Many of you have contacted my office, concerned about the possible cancellation of your fire insurance policy.

==On Friday, September 4th, there is a Virtual Town Hall on Wildfire Assistance and Insurance Resources with State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. This is an opportunity for you to learn about your fire insurance options.

==Please be safe and take care,
Town Hall on Wildfire and Insurance Resources
==Many of you have called my office about your fire insurance being threatened or canceled.

==Now you have the opportunity to hear from the experts on what is happening in high risk fire areas.

==California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and United Policyholders Executive Director Amy Bach are holding a Virtual Town Hall on wildfire assistance and insurance resources available to renters and homeowners. The event will be held on:

Friday, September 4th at 1:30PM
Telephone: (215) 446-3649 or (888) 55708511
Conference Code: 832767
Public Safety Power Shut-Offs
==PG&E claims that it may be necessary to turn off your electricity to keep you safe from the risk of wildfire during extreme weather events. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). They promise to provide notifications two days in advance, then one day in advance, and right before they turn off your power. You will be notified through calls, texts and emails. I will also try to notify you in a timely way.

==Factors that PG&E considers when they are making their decision:

  • A red flag warning called by the National weather Service
  • Low humidity levels
  • Sustained winds of above 25 mph in the forecast
  • Very dry ground fuel
  • On the ground, real time observations

==You can find out more here.

==When you get notification, use that time to prepare for being without power. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a supply of batteries for my radio and devices?
  • Do I have medications that need refrigeration?
  • Do I use medical devices that rely on electricity?
  • If power goes out, do I know how to open the garage door manually?
  • Have I charged up all my devices like cell phones and laptops?
  • Do I have any neighbors with a generator or battery supply that I can access?
  • Do I have enough LED lanterns to provide sufficient light? DO NOT USE CANDLES for light.
  • Do I have a battery operated radio to receive news and updates?
Is Your GO-BAG Ready?
==Now is the time to create a go-bag or refresh the one you already have. Here are my suggestions for what to include. These recommendations are based on research and consultation with emergency preparedness experts. That said, feel free to customize these ideas to your own personal needs.

==Put these items in a backpack or duffel bag with a shoulder strap.

==Keep your Go-Bag(s) in an easily accessed location - an entry-hall closet or a garage.

==You could also keep them outside your home in a waterproof box or trash can with a strapped lid.

==Make sure each bag has a tag with your name and address.

==It is also a good idea to have emergency Go-Bags in your vehicle and at work.

==Remember that you may be walking or running with this bag, so do not make it too heavy.
  • Battery-powered small AM/FM radio, extra batteries
  • LED flashlight and headlamp, extra batteries
  • Chargers and power banks for cell phones
  • N95 mask, cotton bandana, goggles, work gloves and hat
  • Change of clothing (cotton preferred)
  • Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
  • Medications, personal supplies
  • Toiletry and sanitation items
  • Bottle of Water, non-perishable energy bars and snacks
  • First aid kit, whistle, pocket knife,
  • Roll of duct tape, emergency blanket
  • Extra car and house keys, cash (small bills)
  • Paper, pencils, permanent marker
  • Emergency phone list and contacts
  • Copies of important documents; driver’s license for birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, prescriptions
==If you assemble your go-bag this week, you will be one step closer to being prepared to evacuate in the event of a threatening wildfire or other disaster.

==The advice of the Fire Department is: DO NOT WEAR AN N95 MASK WHEN EVACUATING. WEAR A BANDANA.

==You can wear the N95 after you have evacuated when smoke particulates are polluting the air, but wearing an N95 when you are either walking fast or running is not recommended.
Concerned About Your Ballot?
==In this 2020 election, all California voters will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot. You can vote as soon as you receive your ballot, which should arrive during the first week of October.

==You can get updates on the whereabouts of your ballot through California’s official “Where’s My Ballot?” tracking tool. The tool follows your ballot from when it is first mailed to you to when it is counted. Sign up here, or click the "Track Your Ballot" image above.
Emergency Notifications
==AC Alert will be Berkeley's primary emergency alerting system for the public. It is one of the tools the City of Berkeley uses to communicate emergency information and instructions to the community. AC Alert can send:
  • Voice alerts to phones
  • SMS text messages
  • Email
  • TTY/TDD messages
   Listed AT&T "land lines" are automatically included to receive voice messages from AC Alert for emergency warnings. Community members must sign up to receive voice or text alerts on cell phones, VoIP phones, unlisted phones, TTY/TDDs or through email.

   If you want to receive emergency alerts and updates, sign up for AC Alert.
  • Need a new refuse can?
  • Have a favorite pothole you want filled?
  • Want to report illegal dumping?

CALL 311
Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
(510) 981-7160