Wildfire preparations a ‘new normal’ at CSU San Marcos

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SAN MARCOS, Calif. -- California State University San Marcos entered a heightened state of preparedness after utility companies warned of potential power shutdowns in areas at high wildfire risk during the Santa Ana windstorm.

University officials described the wildfire preparations as a "new normal" for the campus.

"I think it's so important for an organization like ours to learn from the past and learn from our colleagues," said Lindsey Rowell, director of energy management at CSUSM. "We have campuses going through this up north. We're worried for their safety and their operations and we're watching what they do to apply those lessons learned to this campus."

The university has encouraged students to be prepared in case the campus experiences an outage. The outages are authorized to last for up to five days, during which time the campus would shut down.

"Have a flashlight where you can reach it, keep your cell phone charged, maybe invest in a solar charger and battery backup for your cell phone, keep your laptop charged," Rowell said. "We ask that students, if they have a vehicle, don't let it get below half a tank."

Utility companies plan to give at least 24 hours' notice before an outage.

Cal-State San Marcos students will receive alerts if power is shut off on campus.

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