Oct 09, 2019
This week, PG&E announced they will be shutting down power to prevent wildfires caused by electrical lines — a move that will impact nearly 800,000 people. Since the shut-off may last several days, it’s important that your policyholders are prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Below are several precautions residents should heed to stay safe:
Back-Up Power and Heat
In the event of a power outage, unplug major electrical items to prevent power surges when the power returns. Consider investing in a generator to keep critical items running during an outage. When turning to backup electricity and heat, safety should be top of mind. A portable generator and any fuel-burning appliance can emit carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous and even deadly. For this reason, never run a generator indoors. Make sure to run generators a fair distance away from the house, away from windows, and allow for adequate ventilation. Ensure homes are equipped with battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors in all bedrooms, living areas, and the kitchen.
Food, Water, and Medications
Once a refrigerator loses power, the food inside could begin to spoil. Keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed can help slow the process. According to the Red Cross, an unopened refrigerator will keep food safe for up to four hours, and an unopened freezer will keep food frozen for 48 hours, or 24 hours if the freezer is only half-full. Stock up on non-perishable foods, like canned goods and dried fruits to get through the power outage.
Be prepared with a supply of water, too. The standard suggestion is one gallon of water per person per day, according to Ready.gov. Just to be safe, plan for three days’ worth of water.
In addition, people with medical conditions whose treatment depends on a secure power supply should speak with their medical advisers now to be ready. That could mean simply having a full ice chest ready to go in case you have medicines that need to be refrigerated, having a back-up power supply, or evacuating to a location that has a power source.
During any power outage, staying connected to friends, family, and news sources is critical. Invest in one or more power banks for cell phones and ensure they are fully charged. In addition, sign up for local alerts from news sources, as well as alerts from the utility company and the local government. Follow advice from these sources, including heeding any curfew and evacuation procedures. Check out the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services site for other tips.
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