California’s three largest energy companies announced Monday a coordinated wildfire safety and awareness campaign that includes plans for shutting off power during-red-flag danger.
Approximately 25 percent of the state’s population — some 11 million people — resides in areas at high risk for wildfires, according to the governor’s office.
“Wildfires are a real and growing threat in California,” said Denise Everhart, Pacific Division Disaster Executive of the American Red Cross. “Now more than ever it is critical that Californians be ready for the unexpected and prepare their emergency kits.”
The statewide “Power of Being Prepared” campaign is being led jointly by San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company at the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission.
The multimedia and multilingual campaign includes radio ads, preparedness resources and a new website: PrepareForPowerdown.com.
A key part of the campaign is reminding residents that utilities will turn off power to fire-prone areas during extreme weather events as a safety precaution. Decisions are made by the individual companies based on high winds, low humidity, dry vegetation and conditions on the ground.
The companies said power outages could last multiple days, depending on the severity of weather conditions, so it is important to have an emergency plan in place. Early warning notifications will be sent via phone calls, text alerts, email and other means.
A number of major California wildfires over the past decade have been blamed on power lines downed during high winds.
The companies offered a series of tips to prepare for a possible public safety power shutoff:
- Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers
- Plan for any medical needs like medications that need to be refrigerated or devices that require power
- Plan for the needs of pets and livestock
- Build or restock emergency kits with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash
- Designate an emergency meeting location
- Know how to manually open garage doors
- Ensure any backup generators are ready to safely operate
- Identify the unique needs of your family and loved ones in the area for your emergency plan
SDG&E customers can sign up for outage alerts at sdge.com/wildfire-safety.
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