That is why we have made major improvements to evacuation routes and pre-fire strategies. Prevention is key, and we recently increased the frequency of defensible space inspections, enhanced pre-fire vegetation management, added new helicopters, and improved pre-fire emergency planning with a greater emphasis on technology and GIS mapping.
I’m proud of the investments to strengthen fire safety in existing and future communities. We have assisted over 20,000 homeowners in achieving defensible space through community education.
Also, we have expanded the Heli-Hydrant program. A Heli-Hydrant is a pilot-controlled, remotely activated, 12-foot by a 5-foot deep open tank that is only filled when needed. Heli-Hydrants are similar to an above-ground swimming pool that can be filled with approximately 5,000 gallons of water in 6 minutes. It will allow a firefighting helicopter to fill its water tank within a matter of seconds and return to the fire quickly.
On March 2, 2021, I partnered with Supervisor Joel Anderson on a Board Letter after hearing about problems associated with Public Safety, Power Shutoff events. This item passed with unanimous support and directed the Chief Administrative Officer to identify gaps in Public Safety Power Shutdown mitigations and opportunities to further reduce the impact on the region.
I've heard from several people, especially in the unincorporated area about the negative impacts these shutoffs have on daily life. We cannot have people evacuating in complete darkness.
Also, I led the effort to partner with the San Diego County Fire Protection District for the "Residential Knox Box Program," which provides a lock box to residents that can be accessed by first responders in an emergency.
The county will provide residents with a lockbox that can be installed near or on a resident's front door and will hold a spare key to the home. The boxes are then unlocked by San Diego County fire crews in an emergency, like a fire or a medical emergency.
This program is primarily meant to help seniors who may not be able to answer the door during a crisis. Apply here if eligible and interested.