The state of California retired its Blueprint for a Safer Economy today as it fully reopens its economy, relaxing masking and physical distancing requirements, as well as most state industry-specific guidance. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed it will align with the state, retiring its own protocols, and is expected to release further industry-specific guidance for higher education as early as this week or next. Similarly, Cal/OSHA, which governs workplace rules in the state, is expected to approve its updated COVID-19 regulations later this week.
Each of these expected protocols affects the University. Pepperdine leadership is carefully and quickly evaluating this information as it is released and will make adjustments to campus policies and practices accordingly. The University will communicate any modifications to Pepperdine’s safety protocols—as well as impacts to and permissions for student activities and University operations—including how these changes will affect office guidance and workplace rules. Until that time, the current policies, including those governing masking and social distancing, remain in place for all faculty, staff, and students.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department has reported a Red Flag Warning will be in effect in the Santa Monica Mountains beginning at 2:00am on Wednesday, April 30, and continuing through 8:00pm on Thursday, May 1.
Red Flag warnings identify time periods when conditions are ideal for wildfires: gusty winds, low relative humidity, and low fuel moisture levels. During Red Flag warnings it is especially important to:
- Report any signs of smoke immediately to emergency responders. If on the Malibu campus, call Public Safety at (310) 506-4441. At all other locations, report smoke by calling 911.
- Smoke only in approved locations. Use caution when disposing of cigarettes and ensure that they are completely extinguished.
- Minimize any use of open flame in outdoor settings.
Pepperdine Public Safety is monitoring the situation and is prepared to respond to potential wildfires. Additional information regarding Red Flag warnings and Pepperdine’s wildfire response plans is available on the University’s Emergency Information Page, http://emergency.pepperdine.edu, and in the Emergency Preparedness Guide found in WaveNet beginning on page 14.
At this time, Pepperdine’s Malibu and Westlake Village campuses are not threatened by the Camarillo Springs Fire. However, we continue to monitor the situation closely, as today is another Red Flag warning day with weather conditions favorable to wild land fire activity.
Pepperdine’s plans to address the risk of wild land fires are well-practiced by experienced staff who have managed brushfire situations in the past. The University’s Emergency Operations Committee is on standby and has been closely monitoring the Camarillo Springs Fire and has staff resources present at the fire department’s incident command post. These precautions are routine and precautionary. Pepperdine enjoys a close and trusted relationship with the fire department and receives the latest accurate information from fire officials in order to make the best decisions to protect our community. Further, Pepperdine has resources on campus to shelter-in-place community members if a brushfire threatens the Malibu campus. Further detail about this practice can be found at: https://emergency.pepperdine.edu/shelter-in-place/.
The University’s plans call for early announcements to our community and guests to alert them of necessary precautions to take in the event the campus is threatened.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports that “All the available information continues to indicate Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories, and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity,” despite the reports of low concentrations of radioactive particles heading eastward from Japan.
On April 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that there are no radiation related health risks to individuals outside of Japan. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control remains confident that there will be no serious health consequences here in the U.S.
The U.S. continues to monitor the situation through Radnet, a system of 100 radiation monitors overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pepperdine University officials are also following developments for any changes. Additional information is available from the resources below:
- The California Department of Public Health has opened a phone hotline to address concerns regarding local radiation exposure. The hotline is (916) 341-3947.
- The Centers for Disease Control has also opened a line for those with questions (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4696. Additional information is available on their web site http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/.
- The World Health Organization www.who.int
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission http://www.nrc.gov/
- The Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/radiation/
- Southern California Air Quality Management District http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/2011/Radiationmonitoring.htm
- EPA link to common sources of radiation exposure in everyday life (please scroll to the bottom of the page) http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/perspective.html