Prepare for Power Failures

We don’t realize how dependent we are on power until we are without it. Power affects the electricity we get in our homes, as well as the water supply and transportation systems – from traffic lights to dock lights. Power failures and blackouts can occur due to problems at power stations, damage to equipment, or the overuse of energy in a particular area – such as during a heat wave if residents are running air conditioners on high all day and night. Power failures can occur during storms, heavy winds, strong winds, flooding and mud slides.

In 2019, PG&E announced that it may be necessary to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. When wind is high and conditions are dry, they will send out alerts to customers of a pending Public Safety Power Shutoff at 48 hours, 24 hours, and just prior to shutting off power.

The community learned a great deal of lessons during the October 2019 PG&E Power Shutoff. Click here to read all the comments, covering topics on food safety, lighting ideas, charging cellphones and laptops, communications, waste management, generators, bathing, helpful support, and marina-specific suggestions. Solutions and questions to answer are on the final page.

Your best bet is to be prepared for power failures so you and your family can be safe and secure.

Before a power failure:

  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • If you know a public safety power shutoff or rolling blackout will occur, fill plastic containers with water and place them in your refrigerator and freezer. The chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a short power outage.
  • Empty your holding tank, so you can flush a few times.

During a power failure:

  • Don’t open the fridge or freezer! You’ll let out whatever cold air is inside and food will spoil more quickly.
  • Leave one light on so that you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Only use flashlights, not candles. The flame from a candle could start a fire in your home.
  • If it’s very hot outside, try to stay cool by going to the lowest level of your home. Cool air falls, hot air rises. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • If it’s very cold outside, wear many layers of warm clothing. Don’t use your gas oven as a source of heat. The fumes could be dangerous. Try to find a place that has power and go there to stay warm.

After a power failure:

  • Don’t eat any food that was in the refrigerator if you were without power for more than half a day – spoiled food could make you sick.

Want to print this information in a handy four-page document?

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