Cedar Fire in 2003 (Photo: San Diego Union Tribune)
HELIX’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLAN
Emergencies come in different sizes — from a pipe break causing a water quality issue on a single street, to an earthquake impacting all of San Diego County. Our focus, throughout an emergency, is maintaining a safe water supply and providing the critical information our customers need.
Backup power supplies at our water treatment plant and pump stations assure that we can continue treating and distributing water when the electrical grid goes down.
Our EOC (emergency operations center), where we coordinate operations and communications with customers, agencies and media runs on solar power and a backup generator.
Helix, other water agencies and cities have shared resources agreements, so equipment and key people can be allocated where and when they are needed.
Helix’s field operations, GIS and customer service staff coordinate to quickly identify impacted customers and broadcast recorded phone messages to them using Call-Em-All’s web-based software.
A link on our homepage will take customers to a blog post continuously updated with critical information. We will respond to customers who submit questions and comments.
With the Nextdoor application, we can provide neighborhood-specific information and respond to customer questions.
Facebook and Twitter
We will continuously update Facebook and Twitter with critical information and respond to customer questions.
Plan Your Emergency Response
San Diego Blackout of 2011 (Photo: San Diego Union Tribune)
HOW TO COMMUNICATE
Locating family and friends and making sure everyone is OK is the first priority in an emergency.
Have a Plan
Make a family communications plan and choose your emergency channel, whether it’s text messaging, Twitter or another social media app. You should also choose a place to meet in case you can’t communicate.
Text Beats Talk
Text uses less bandwidth than talking, so you, and everyone else, will have a better chance of getting through. Text messaging and social media apps are both good options.
If the electrical grid goes down, you can still charge your smartphone in your car — if you have a car charger.
WHERE TO FIND INFORMATION
Add this emergency information and these apps to your smartphone.
Helix Water District
We will continuously update critical water supply information and respond to customer questions on the following channels:
Call customer service
On Twitter and Facebook
We provide neighborhood level information
County of San Diego
The county provides information on evacuations, shelters, road closures and other disaster-related services on the following channels:
Call for information
SD Emergency app
National Weather Service local weather on Twitter
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED
The rule of thumb in planning for an emergency is to have three days of supplies, because it could take that long for help to arrive. Note, however, that it can take much longer to restore utilities and basic services.