I moved to Calistoga in 1998, attracted by the strong sense of community. Last year after closing my business and selling my home I decided to stay in Calistoga. I’ve had some mixed emotions about that decision due to variables resulting from devastating wildfires. The heightened threat of wildfires has increased the need for emergency preparedness and understanding about what is being done to protect us. Numerous cities and counties in California are doing outreach programs to make sure their communities and citizens are informed and prepared. The recent emergency preparedness seminars held in locations throughout Napa County, including Calistoga, offered handouts and presentations about what citizens can and should do to be prepared. I want to share some additional information that I’ve learned. Some of which is a direct testament to the forward thinking of our city officials.
- Due to ongoing efforts by our elected officials Calistoga will soon own the fairgrounds.
- PG&E and cellular providers have joined forces to provide cell coverage during power outages.
- Cities are protecting public right of ways and residential neighborhoods with telecommunication ordinances. Many nearby cities already have telecom ordinances (Sonoma, San Rafael, Mill Valley and others). Calistoga officials are reviewing the adoption of a telecom ordinance, and are urged by citizens to move forward quickly.
- It is a relief to know that our city council is reviewing and hopefully approving permanently installed sirens very soon. Perhaps as soon as the Sept. 3 council meeting.
- Calistoga has pressed PG&E for standalone power that will serve much of the city during PG&E power shutdowns.
- PG&E contractors have made great efforts and progress in clearing trees near power lines and have heightened inspections of their lines/equipment. They’re inspecting lines using low flying helicopters in high fire threat areas.
- Emergency vehicles in Calistoga and Napa County are equipped with new, secondary high-low sirens for the purpose of public alert in case of emergency.
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- There is widespread installation statewide of university backed Alert Wildfire cameras in Napa county (including two on Mount St. Helena) and surrounding areas.
- There are simple measures people can take to improve their cell coverage. Contact carrier to ask about micro cell boosters, make sure antenna isn’t covered when using and learn other tips from carrier.