Keep Inconvenient Power Outages from Becoming Disasters
Power outages happen from storms, wildlife or vegetation contact with power lines, car versus pole accidents, fires, winds, mudslides, tennis shoes and mylar balloons, to name a few. Some outages are planned and noticed, giving residents and businesses time to prepare. Other sudden events can leave an entire community in the dark.
The best defense against a power outage is always being prepared no matter the time of year or weather.
When a power outage occurs, report it or check for current information on the outage at pge.com/outagealerts. If the internet is not available, call 800-743-5000. Residents and businesses can also sign up to receive outage information automatically.
Being prepared for power outages means thinking ahead and planning for what you need to make it through hours and possibly days without power. Give good thought to personal and family member needs and the needs of pets and livestock. Livestock needs water; pets need food; aquarium fish need filtration and aeration; reptiles and birds may need heat.
This quick checklist provides a good starting point for preparing for a power outage. Have on hand:
- Drinking water – be sure to have enough for everyone in the house, including the pets, and ensure water available for any livestock
- Extra water for household needs if the house is on a well – flushing toilets, washing hands, etc.
- Non-perishable food for yourself, pets, livestock
- Critical medications
- Flashlights – be sure they work before an emergency by testing them regularly
- Radio with battery power
- Extra batteries for lights, radios, phones, lanterns and other critical equipment
- Vehicles with a full tank of gas or full electric charge
- Cash – when the power goes down, ATMs and credit card machines can be affected
This list is by no means complete, so be sure to visit El Dorado County’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) page for more information and to sign up for El Dorado County’s “CodeRed” alert notification system. The California Office of Emergency Services also has extensive emergency preparedness information.
Having a back-up generator for homes and businesses or portable power stations can help a household or business survive an outage. When adding battery or generator backup, take the following steps to ensure your safety and the safety of any powerline workers who are working to restore power. These steps include but are not limited to:
- Ensure the battery system you choose matches your critical electrical needs
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for operation and installation
- Use a licensed, qualified professional for the installation of stand-by and permanent generation to ensure safety and code compliance.
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended charging protocols to keep power stations charged and ready to use.
Links to additional resources and preparing for outages like public safety power shutoffs and enhanced powerline safety system outages can be found at https://pioneercommunityenergy.org/understanding-outages.