California’s three largest energy companies have announced a coordinated wildfire safety and awareness campaign to prepare Californians for the threat of extreme weather and power outages during times of increased wildfire danger.
The statewide “Power of Being Prepared” campaign is being led jointly by San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), at the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Energy companies turn off power to fire-prone areas during extreme weather events as a safety precaution, which is known as a public safety power shutoff.
While such shutoffs are more likely to occur in high fire-risk areas, all Californians could be impacted by emergency events and need to be prepared with a plan and an emergency kit, according to the campaign. It provides customers with specific steps to take to be ready in case of a power outage that lasts multiple days.
The multimedia and multilingual campaign includes radio ads, preparedness resources and a new website, prepareforpowerdown.com. It is a call to action for all Californians to take important steps to get ready before the 2019 wildfire season, such as creating a thorough emergency plan and updating their contact information with their energy company.
According to a recent report released by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Strike Force addressing wildfire issues, “More than 25 million acres of California wildlands are classified as under very high or extreme fire threat. Approximately 25 percent of the state’s population – 11 million people – lives in that high-risk area.”
“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, download the Red Cross Emergency App, outline a family plan and practice safety drills before the need arises. Education, awareness and preparedness can make a difference in keeping families safe and saving lives.”
Energy companies will aim to send early warning notifications via phone calls, text alerts, emails and other means before turning off power. As part of the campaign, all three energy companies are to work with customers to ensure they have updated contact information on file.
Recommended steps to help prepare for extreme weather and power shutoffs include:
- Update contact information with energy companies to sign up for important outage alerts — for Edison customers, sce.com/psps; for PG&E customers, pge.com/mywildfirealerts
- Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers
- Plan for any medical needs such as 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
For more information about the campaign and additional steps customers can take, visit prepareforpowerdown.com.