SAN FRANCISCO — With the unprecedented evacuation of nearly 200,000 people downriver from Lake Oroville Sunday night, PG&E reminds all customers in its service area to have a plan if an emergency strikes. This includes an emergency kit, a way to communicate with family members and other proactive steps to be prepared.
“In the event of a mandatory evacuation, such as the case in the Oroville Dam area, residents might only have minutes to evacuate the area, leaving little time to gather even the most basic necessities. This is exactly why planning ahead is essential,” said Pat Hogan, senior vice president of Electric Operations at PG&E.
Last week, as the level in Lake Oroville was rising, PG&E took precautions to ensure preparedness in the event the situation worsened. First, the company assessed its electric and gas facilities below the dam to identify potential impacts to customers. Then PG&E removed power lines from transmission towers below the dam’s auxiliary spillway to ensure safety should the towers themselves destabilize due to water flow.
And just as PG&E has a plan for potential disasters, the energy company urges its customers to do the same. In case of an evacuation, consider the following tips to stay safe:
- Create an emergency preparedness kit that includes food and water, health and medical supplies and equipment such as a portable radio and flashlights.
- Keep at least a half tank of gas in your car at all times in case you need to evacuate unexpectedly. Gas stations might be closed during emergencies or even run out of fuel if there’s a rush of customers. Keep electric vehicles charged as well.
- Familiarize yourself with alternate routes out of your area. If possible, identify multiple locations in different directions so you have options during an evacuation. However, if authorities identify a specific evacuation route, follow it. Do not take shortcuts as they may be blocked.
- Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
- If possible, leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
- Keep your pets in mind when planning for emergencies. Include your pets in your practice drills. The practice can help them get used to a leash or carrier during stressful situations. Find out which kennels, shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals during an emergency. Public shelters may not accept pets because of health and safety concerns.
- Establish a location where your family can reunite after evacuating. Decide on a second meeting place, in case the primary location is unusable.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.