SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Millions of people in Northern California could face a days-long power outage after PG&E, the state’s biggest utility, announced it would shut off electricity in an effort to prevent wildfires caused by windblown power lines.
These people – an estimated two million – will be faced with an unprecedented situation: What to do if PG&E shuts off their power for days.
How should I prepare for an extended power outage?
According to Ready.gov, people who still have their power on should start preparing for an extended power outage.
“Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy,” the website, which is the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, said.
Those who still have electricity should take inventory of the items that rely on power, talk to your doctor about how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures, plan for batteries and other alternative power sources, sign up for local alerts and warning systems and monitor weather reports.
But what if my power is already out?
Those who have already felt the effects of the power outage can still take steps to prepare for the long term.
According to Ready.gov, people should keep their freezers and refrigerators closed and maintain their food supplies that don’t require refrigeration.
A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, but a full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. People should also never use a gas stove or an oven to heat their home, as it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Turn off and disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics because the power may return with momentary surges or spikes that could cause damage.
There will also be PG&E Community Resource Centers open in the impacted areas with restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air conditioning. These centers, which can seat up to 100 people at a time, have been open since 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9.
For those available to do so, the government recommends checking up on neighbors, especially those who are elderly or have younger children.
What should I do once my power is back on?
Throw away any food that has questionable odors, colors or textures. Also discard any medicine that should be refrigerated if your power has been out for more than a day.
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