With summer and the wildfire season fast approaching, now is a good time to take steps to protect your home and your family. This fire season also brings with it a new challenge, Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). We all recall the devastating fires in Sonoma County and the City of Paradise. These fires cost many lives and destroyed properties and infrastructure. Because of those fires and in an effort to prevent similar events in the future, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has established the PSPS policy.
PG&E has communicated with municipalities that in the event of “Extreme fire danger,” the PSPS will be implemented, and power shut off. Decisions on the extent and duration of the shutoff will be made by PG&E staff. According to the policy, “A Public Safety Power Shutoff will only be done as a last resort during the most extreme fire danger conditions.”
They will consider the following criteria when deciding to shut off power:
- “Extreme” fire danger threat level
- A “Red Flag Warning” is declared
- Low humidity levels
- Sustained winds
- Site-specific conditions
- Critically dry vegetation
- On the ground, real time observations from PG&E crews
PG&E has indicated they will NOT turn power back on until the lines that were shut down are physically inspected by their crews. In their presentation of the PSPS program they state, “We would make every effort to restore power within 24 hours. However, depending on conditions or if any repairs are needed, outages (weather plus restoration time) could last between 2 to 5 days.”
What does this mean for you? A loss of power affects many things, refrigeration, air conditioning, and medical devices in your home. Local businesses could be impacted, affecting commerce in town.. Town of Danville Emergency Management staff recommend residents prepare for the possibility of a power shutoff. A letter being sent by PG&E to customers can be found online.
You can go to the following web site for further information: www.pge.com/wildfiresafety
For questions or concerns about the PSPS program and other emergency preparedness issues, contact Emergency Services Manager Jeff Hebel at (925) 314-3368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.