By Paul Doherty
September is National Preparedness Month, and with thousands of people recently displaced and widespread damage due to the hurricanes that devastated parts of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, along with the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Mexico City, PG&E reminds its customers to make a personal emergency preparedness plan and build an emergency kit.
“These recent natural disasters are proof positive of the importance of having sufficient supplies and a realistic emergency plan in the event of a natural disaster,” said Pat Hogan, PG&E senior vice president of Electric Operations.
“While hurricanes aren’t something Californians necessarily have to worry about, wildfires, earthquakes and severe storms are,” he added. “These weather events and emergencies could give little to no time to gather the most basic necessities in the event of an evacuation or related power outage that could occur, and this is exactly why planning ahead is essential.”
While hurricanes aren’t something Californians necessarily have to worry about, wildfires, earthquakes and severe storms are,” he added. “These weather events and emergencies could give little to no time to gather the most basic necessities in the event of an evacuation or related power outage that could occur, and this is exactly why planning ahead is essential.”
Closer to home, nearly 200,000 people downriver from Lake Oroville were evacuated for several days in February when the main and emergency spillways of the California Department of Water Resources’ Oroville Dam were significantly damaged due to heavy winter rains, nearly resulting in a large uncontrolled water release and life-threatening floods.
PG&E took precautions and worked closely with local, state and federal agencies during the crisis to coordinate response efforts, identify potential impacts to customers, and ensure the public’s safety.
Today, in the wake of these recent events and as a part of National Preparedness Month, PG&E is asking customers to pledge to create personal emergency plans. And in support of the communities it serves, the company also will host giveaways of emergency kits at a handful of locations throughout its service area at the end of the month.
PG&E urges customers to stay safe during emergencies by taking these precautions and remembering these and other tips that can be found at pge.com/beprepared:
- Create an emergency preparedness kit that includes food and water, health and medical supplies and equipment such as a portable radio and flashlights.
- Make a plan and practice it. Ensure that all your household members know what to do when emergencies occur. Consider that not everyone might be together during the event.
- Establish a location where your family can reunite after evacuating. Decide on a second meeting place, in case the primary location is unusable.
- 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.
- 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. Of course, if authorities identify a specific evacuation route, follow it. Do not take shortcuts as they may be blocked.
- Never Touch Downed Wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- In the event of an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply 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.
Customers can sign up for outage alerts, where PG&E provides updates that include the cause of the outage as well as when customers can expect power to be back on, at pge.com/outagealerts.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.