Councilmember Susan Wengraf
Weekend Warnings

August 21, 2020
==Dear Friends and Neighbors,

==We are currently being challenged by multiple health and safety issues. The notice below was issued by the city in preparation for several more days of smoke filled air and potential fire danger.

==Please read through it carefully. Your health and safety is my primary concern. If you need any clarification, please leave a phone message at 510 981-7160. I will be checking the number throughout the weekend.

==Please take care and check in on your neighbors.
August 21, 2020
=With air quality expected to worsen over the weekend, everyone should stay inside with windows and doors closed. Hills residents should take this time to review evacuation plans and pack or refresh go-bags.
==Although air quality levels are currently rated “moderate” at the Berkeley air monitor in Aquatic Park, conditions can change quickly. Smoke from multiple fires blazing throughout the region will continue to affect Berkeley in the days ahead.
==Use an interactive map, which is updated hourly, to check air quality status throughout the day. The City’s air quality webpage provides information on how to understand Air Quality Index (AQI) levels. 

==You can protect your health by reducing physical activity and staying inside with doors and windows closed. You should also:

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
  • Set air conditioning units to re-circulate so you don’t bring outside air in.
  • Don’t smoke, burn candles, or use incense.
  • Don’t use propane or wood burning stoves.
Contact your health care provider if you experience symptoms
==Contact your health care provider if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Repeated coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea or unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness

==Those at higher risk during poor air quality should take particular care. This includes anyone with respiratory or cardiac issues, children, older adults, and pregnant individuals.
Fire weather watch is a reminder to prepare
==The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for the entire San Francisco Bay Area for Sunday through Tuesday. Lightning from scattered thunderstorms is expected to spark new fires across the region.
==Regional fires are a stark reminder of the need to prepare for disasters, especially for residents in the Berkeley hills. In a fire, you could have only moments to leave - so being prepared is crucial.
  • Sign up for AC Alert: AC Alert is the City’s emergency notification service. Make sure everyone in your home is registered so we can contact you in an emergency.
  • Review evacuation routes: Plan at least two routes away from your neighborhood by foot, and two routes by car. During an evacuation you may not be able to drive.
  • Pack or refresh your go-bag. Everyone in your household should have a “go bag” with the items you would need to safely evacuate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this includes face coverings and hand sanitizer. If you have a go bag already, check it and replace any expired items, like food or batteries.
  • Talk to your household about evacuation plans. Make sure everyone knows what to do in a fire. See for information on preparing for an evacuation and a printable evacuation checklist.
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.
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?
Wear A Mask!
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