Three large utility companies are coordinating a “Power of Being Prepared” media campaign to inform residents about public safety power shutoffs during very high or extreme fire threats. PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are undertaking the wildfire safety and awareness campaign at the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission.
The campaign includes radio ads, preparedness resources and a new website, prepareforpowerdown.com, in advance of the 2019 wildfire season. Citing a recent report released by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strike force on wildfire issues, the utility companies say more than 25 million acres of California wildlands are classified as under very high or extreme fire threat, and 25 percent of the state’s population – 11 million people – live in that high-risk area.
The wildfire preparedness campaign urges residents to prepare emergency kits, download the Red Cross Emergency App, outline a family plan and practice safety drills before wildfires. The energy companies will turn off power to fire prone areas during extreme weather as a safety precaution, and residents should expect the public safety power shutoff could last multiple days. Each utility company will turn off power based on high winds, including Red Flag Warnings from the National Weather Service, low humidity, dry vegetation and conditions on the ground.
The energy companies plan to send early-warning notifications by phone, text alerts, emails, and other means before turning off power. The energy companies also are working with customers to update their contact information and reach them before, during and after a public safety power shutoff. PG&E customers can update their contact information at pg&e.com/mywildfirealerts.
Websites and social media channels also will share information and provide regular updates to local news and radio outlets. In advance of wildfires, residents should have backup phone charging methods, a plan for refrigerating of medications, a plan to take care of pets and livestock, agree on a family designated emergency meeting location, ensure backup generators are safe and learn how to manually open garage doors.
More information about the Power of Being Prepared campaign is available at prepareforpowerdown.com.