SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The 2018 wildfire season was the most deadly in California history. And the hot and dry predictions we're seeing for Summer 2019 mean that everyone must prepare ahead of time to stay safe.
Unfortunately for Northern Californians, that means power may be cut as PG&E begins it's "Public Safety Power Shutoff" plan.
If there is extreme fire danger in an area - like gusty winds and dry heat, PG&E's plan for power shutoffs will go into effect. Because of the checks and safety inspections that follow the shutoffs, PG&E said it's possible that thousands of customers could be without power for several days.
- California approves power outages to prevent more wildfires
- PG&E could cut your power to prevent wildfires. Is it time to own a backup generator?
- PG&E launches power shutoff forecasting site
- These schools will be closed due to PG&E power shutoffs
SHUTOFF PROCESS EXPLAINED
STEP 1: PUBLIC SAFETY OWER SHUTOFF
PG&E will cut electricity to avoid events like the Camp Fire - which was sparked by power lines last year. The Camp Fire destroyed much of the city of Paradise and claimed the lives of 85 people.
Each shutoff will be unique, but factors that could lead to a shutoff are:
- High winds and high wind gusts
- Low humidity levels
- Dry vegetation
- Fire threat
- Real-time observations
- Red flag warning
STEP 2: SAFETY INSPECTIONS
Before power can be restored PG&E must complete safety inspections. Here's how the utility outlines that process:
- Once the hazards behind a shutoff has passed and it is safe to inspect, PG&E crews will patrol the area and inspect the electric infrastructure.
- Inspections take place during daylight hours.
In most cases, PG&E expects to be able to restore power within 24 to 48 hours after the extreme weather has passed, though weather conditions or repairs may impact restoration times.
HOW TO PREPARE
City, state and county officials stress that preparation is the most important part of this process.
Understanding that there are customers with medical needs who rely on power, PG&E is urging that people take steps to have a place to go and buy backup batteries or generators. For tips on how to prepare for medical needs for you or a loved one, please click here.
In addition, the utility recommends that customers do the following:
- Update your contact information with PG&E at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or via phone at 1-866-7436589 during normal business hours.
- Have a personal safety plan and review your emergency kits - make sure to have flashlights, batteries, cash and first aid supplies.
- Plan for medical needs ahead of the power shutoff.
- Plan for backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
- Check in with young or elderly family members and don't forget about pets.
Outage map - Gives a live look at outages across PG&E coverage area.
Address checker - Ahead of a shutoff, customers can type in their address to see if they will be affected.
Resource centers are open in the following counties:
- Butte County: Oroville Bird Street School, 1421 Bird Street, Oroville 95965
- Butte County: Magalia, 14144 Lakeridge Court, Magalia 95954
- El Dorado County: Placerville, El Dorado Fairgrounds 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville 95667
- Lake County: Clear Lake, Clearlake Senior Center 3245 Bowers Avenue, Clearlake 95422
- Napa County: Napa, 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo 94589
- Napa County: Calistoga, Calistoga Fairgrounds 1601 N. Oak Street, Calistoga 94515
- Santa Clara County: San Jose, Avaya Stadium 1123 Coleman Avenue, San Jose 95110
- Nevada County: Grass Valley, Sierra College Grass Valley 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley 95945
- Contra Costa County: San Ramon, Bishop Ranch Parking Lot – 2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon 94583
- Calaveras County: Arnold, Meadowmont Shopping Center - 2182 HWY 4, Arnold 95223
- San Mateo County: Half Moon Bay, Pasta Moon Restaurant, 845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay 94019
- Placer County: Auburn, Gold Country Fairgrounds 1273 High Street, Auburn 95603
- Shasta and Tehama counties: Redding, Cottonwood, and Red Bluff, Shasta College, 11555 Old Oregon Trail Redding 96003
- Solano County: Vacaville, Mission Church 6391 Leisure Town Road, Vacaville 95687
- Sonoma County: Santa Rosa & Sonoma, Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa 95404
- Alameda County: Oakland, Merritt College LOT B – Leona Street, Oakland 94508
- Tuolumne County: Sonora, Mother Lode Fairgrounds 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora 95370
- Santa Cruz County: Aptos, Twin Lakes Church 2701 Cabrillo College Drive, Aptos 95003
- Amador County: Pioneer, Mace Meadows Golf Course, 26570 Fairway Drive, Pioneer 95666
- Mendocino County: Ukiah, 1775 N. State Street, Ukiah 95482
- Yolo County: Winters, Next to PG&E Gas Academy - Intersection of E. Grant Avenue & Timber Crest Road, Winters 95694
- Colusa and Glenn counties: Williams & Orland, 839 Newville Road, Orland 95963
- Mariposa County: Coulterville, Coulterville Fire Dept. - 10293 Ferry Road, Coulterville 95311
- Sierra County: Sierra City, Loganville Campground parking lot - HWY 49, Sierra City 96125
- Stanislaus County: Westley, Westley Hotel - 8615 CA-33, Westley 95387
- Plumas County: La Porte, 2140 Main Street, La Porte 95981
- El Dorado County: El Dorado Hills, Rolling Hills Christian Church 800 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills 95762
- Yuba County: Oregon House, 9185 Marysville Road, Oregon House 95962