Emergency Notifications

The focus of the North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council is about taking steps before a wildfire emergency that will lessen its impact if and when it happens. One of the most important things to do is to be "in the loop" in the event of an emergency. Here are a few things every Topangan should do:

1) Sign up and register your mobile and internet phones online at Alert L.A. Alert L.A. is an emergency notification system run by the County of Los Angles that is used to call your phone and let you know about important emergency information, such as the need to evacuate, in your specific area. It is tied to your physical address, so "land line" phones should be called automatically*, but if you have a mobile phone or use VOIP through the internet for your phone, you must register those numbers to get into the system. You can register up to 4 phones and email addresses. You also have the option to get text messages sent to your mobile phones as well. (If you have more than 4 phones, you can create a different account, with the same address, and register more phones.)

Once you register all your phones you can test them to verify that they are in the system properly.

*Some people have not received emergency calls to their land line phones, so we recommend that you also register your land line phone number online too, just to be sure. When you register your land line phone, be sure not to "opt in" for texts on that number.

2) Add the TCEP Emergency Status page to your home screen on your phone and web browserThe Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness—TCEP—is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization based in Topanga, California. For over 23 years, they have provided emergency preparedness education and real-time disaster status updates to residents of Topanga, Malibu and surrounding areas. If a fire is near, they will have info about it. 

3) Get TCEP Tweets pushed to your mobile phone. TCEP also has a Twitter feed that sends out notification about potential emergencies, such as a fire in the area. These can show up on your home screen on your phone, so you will always know right away when there is something you should know about -wherever you are. (Many people do not want Twitter in their lives. If you are one of those people, considering creating a Twitter account and ONLY following TCEP).

4) Download and install the PulsePoint app to get early warning about fires. This app will notify you right after fire is called into 911. You can set it to alert you several different types 911 incidents, but TCEP recommends "Confirmed Vegetation Fire" and "Confirmed Structure Fire" (as structure fires can lead to vegetation fires). If you want to go further, set it for "Vegetation Fire" and "Structure Fire" as well. This might lead to false alarms as you will get notice of a fire before authorities confirm it, but you'll also be the first to know if there is an incident that might be significant.

5) And, If you're really into this, download the 5-0 Radio Police Scanner app for iPhone or Android . With this installed, you can monitor the Los Angeles County Fire Department on your smartphone as they respond to the incident you just heard about on PulsePoint. You will be able to hear what the responders area saying about the incident to dispatchers, to get a sense of how big or small it is, and its current status. Follow Los Angeles County Fire-Blue 3, or Los Angeles County Fire-Blue 1, 3, 6, and 12.

6) Finally, Southern California Edison has a new (2019) policy where they can preemptively shut off the power in Red Flag fire weather. This makes getting emergency notifications difficult or impossible. We suggest getting a portable, rechargeable, "emergency" radio and setting it to KNX 1070 AM to monitor any news of a fire or evacuation order if the power goes out. In the 2018 Woolsey fire KNX was a valuable source of information, providing 24/7 fire updates and evacuation status for our area. 

You can also listen to KNX on your smartphone with the Radio.com app . This can be useful if you are not at home (and have power) and want to keep up with the latest developments. We used this app while we were evacuated during the Woolsey fire, and it's a good idea to have it installed on your smartphone, in case you are traveling and there is an emergency back home.