By Matt Nauman
With the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey for the people of Texas and Louisiana, PG&E and its employees in California want to help.
Starting today (Aug. 29), PG&E employees will be able to donate to the American Red Cross for its Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In addition, the company will match those donations up to $50,000, providing as much as $100,000 or more in aid.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of this disaster, and we hope our contribution helps in some way toward rebuilding lives. PG&E is committed to being there in times of natural disasters, whether it’s earthquakes, wildfires or floods here at home, or for the residents of Texas and Louisiana in their own time of need,” said Geisha Williams, CEO and president of PG&E Corporation.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall just as the focus of September as National Preparedness Month was beginning. The painful power of Harvey is yet another reminder that having a family emergency plan, having emergency kits in cars, homes and offices and having pre-arranged, out-of-area points of contact for communications are essential to surviving and recovering quickly from a disaster.
PG&E has a plan for emergencies, and the energy company practices and evaluates its emergency response with local first responders every year. California residents should also develop, update and practice their personal preparedness plans as well, and National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to get started with the following tips:
Get ready for natural disasters before they happen:
- Prepare an emergency plan and conduct an emergency drill with your family.
- Prepare an evacuation plan for your home. Each room should have at least two ways to escape in case one is blocked. Establish a place where your family can reunite.
- Establish an alternative way to contact others who are not home, such as an out-of-the-area telephone contact.
- Prepare and maintain an emergency preparedness kit with enough supplies on hand to be self-sufficient for at least three days, and preferably up to one week.
- Know where your gas service shutoff valve is, and how to shut off your gas supply. The main shutoff valve is normally near your gas meter and will require the use of a 12- to 15-inch adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench or other suitable tool.
- Know which of your appliances use gas and where the appliance shutoff valves are. In some cases, turning off the gas at the appliance shutoff valve will suffice.
- Know where the main electric switch is and how to turn off your electric supply.
Know what to do after an emergency:
- Check for injuries and ensure that everyone is safe.
- Check for damage. If you smell or hear gas escaping inside your home or business, get everyone outside and shut off the gas immediately.
- Do not use electrical switches, appliances or phones because sparks can ignite gas. Do not check for a gas leak with a match or an open flame.
- Once outside, use your phone from a safe location upwind where you can no longer smell gas to call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- Shut off the gas at the main gas service valve normally located near your gas meter by using a 12- to 15-inch adjustable wrench or other suitable tool to give the valve a quarter turn.
- Once you shut off the gas, DO NOT turn it back on. Contact PG&E or another qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before the gas service is restored and the gas appliance pilots are re-lit.
- If the power goes out, turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored. Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights instead of candles due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lamp shades and small children and never leave them unattended.
- Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Call 911, and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.