Safety Tips for PG&E Shutoff

Tips and suggestions on how to prepare for PG&E's potential power shutoffs.

Date Posted: October 8th, 2019 @ 7:01 PM
Last Updated: October 27th, 2019 @ 3:25 PM

What to do if you see a downed power line

Downed power lines are dangerous. Never touch them. For safety’s sake, always assume that a fallen power line is live, and follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole.
  • Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line.
  • Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines.
  • Avoid driving over a fallen power line.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately to report a fallen power line.

Stay safe if a fallen power line touches your car

If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, follow these safety rules:

  • Stay inside your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
  • Sound the horn, roll down your window and call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your car can be injured.
  • Use your mobile phone to call 9-1-1.
  • Wait until the fire department, police or PG&E workers tell you it’s safe to get out of your car before exiting the vehicle.

If your car is in contact with a fallen power line and a fire starts

Follow these guidelines when exiting your vehicle:

  • Remove loose items of clothing.
  • Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
  • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.

HOW TO PREPARE

  • Subscribe to ACAlert.org for alerts and updates via text message, phone calls, or email.
  • Confirm or update your contact information with PG&E. PG&E will send notifications to the contacts on file in advance of a shutoff, when possible.
  • Create a safety plan for all members of your family, including pets. A Public Safety Power Shutoff can happen at any time of day or night, due to changing weather conditions.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit. Include enough water, non-perishable food, toiletries, and medicine to last your household—including pets—for one week. Be sure to refresh your kit once a year.
  • Determine if your landline will work during an outage. Keep a mobile phone as a backup.
  • Keep mobile phones and other devices charged.
  • Keep your gas tank full and cash on hand; during power shutoffs, gas pumps and ATMs won’t work.
  • If you have a generator, make sure it's ready to operate safely.
  • Have flashlights available for your household. Avoid using candles.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • For individuals dependent on electricity for a medical device, please review the checklist provided by the Pacific ADA Center and by PG&E at prepareforpowerdown.com.
  • If you have a driveway, use it. Keep narrow roads clear for emergency vehicles and evacuations.
  • Create a plan– Develop an evacuation plan and identify a safe meeting place away from the home in the event you become separated. Clearly identify safe routes out of the home in case the primary exit is unavailable.

AFTER A POWER SHUTOFF

  • Use coolers with ice to keep food cold and safe. Typically, your refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours--as long as the freezer and refrigerator doors are kept closed.
  • Unplug or turn off appliances, equipment, and electronics to avoid damage caused by surges when the power is restored.
  • Leave a single lamp on to alert you when the power returns. Then, turn your appliances on, one at a time.
  • Use generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills outdoors only. Do not use a gas stove for heat.
  • Check on your neighbors. (Courtesy of PGE.com: https://bit.ly/35j1bkT)