With extreme heat and wind, comes increased risk for wildfires. As California prepares for warmer weather this week, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is coordinating closely with local governments and investor-owned utilities to ensure Californians are aware of these threats.
PG&E has announced a public safety power shut off watch potentially impacting the following counties on August 30, 2023: Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Napa, Shasta, Tehama, Yolo
WHAT IS A PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFF?
A Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is when a utility provider temporarily turns off power to specific areas to reduce the risk of fires caused by electric infrastructure.
While the state has no role in the decision to initiate a PSPS, Cal OES is actively engaging with investor-owned utilities such as PG&E to ensure orderly and proper use of a PSPS.
Cal OES wants all Californians to remain informed and prepared, while considering any secondary impacts these power shutoffs may pose to the public.
WHAT CAN I DO BEFORE A PSPS TO PREPARE?
- Sign up for power outage alerts through your energy provider to receive notification. You can also sign up for emergency alerts through CalAlerts.org.
- Visit the PG&E PSPS Updates website to view shutoff status by address and an outage area map. You can also view a PSPS 7 Day Forecast to help you plan ahead.
- Have a personal safety plan in place for every member of your household, including pets.
- Make a plan for any medications that need to remain cooled or devices that require power.
- Build or restock your emergency supply kit, including food, water, flashlights, a radio, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
- Identify backup charging methods for phones.
- Learn how to manually open your garage door.
- If you own a backup generator, ensure it is ready to safely operate.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY LOVED ONES WHO HAVE MEDICAL NEEDS?
If you or your loved ones use electric medical and assistive devices, here are a few additional tips to consider:
- Pack a go-bag that includes emergency contact list, list of medicines you take, and information on your medical needs and devices.
- Inform your utility about your medical needs and enroll in a medical baseline program to receive additional notification and assistance.
- Develop a plan with your medical equipment supplier. Some companies may supply additional medical equipment and other services during emergency situations.
- Discuss a personal disaster plan with family and caregivers. If your needs cannot be met during a power outage, plan with caregivers for transportation to a location with power.
- Keep emergency phone numbers in your cell phone contacts or near your landline. This includes your doctor or medical equipment company.
- If you use a motorized wheelchair or scooter, have an extra battery. A car battery also can be used with a wheelchair but will not last as long as a wheelchair’s deep-cycle battery.
HOW CAN I STAY SAFE FROM HEAT?
- Go to a community location with power to stay cool from the heat. In extended outages, call your local county to find shelter locations or cooling centers. Public shelters serve everyone and cannot ask for ID. Some shelters may better serve people with disabilities or pets.
- Check if neighbors, friends, or family have power and ask if you can come there – or offer your home if you have power and others don’t.
- Listos California Power Outage Guides (multilingual)
- Prepareforpowerdown.com – Prepare for Power Down informational website
- California Health and Human Services – Public Safety Power Shutoff Resource Guide
- Ready.gov – Disaster preparedness and power outage information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Public Utilities Commission – Public Safety Power Shutoffs information
- HeatReadyCA.com – provides extreme heat resources and tips for all Californians.
- Power Outage Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs
- Summer of Safety: Preparing for Power Outages
- 2023 County Cooling Centers