How Californians can prepare for PG&E’s planned mass power interruption

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it may deliberatly shut off power to an estimated 800,000 customers across 34 counties across Northern and Central California as early as midnight Wednesday, in order to mitigate wildfire risk during exceptionally windy conditions.

When that happens, the power could be out for several days, the utility said.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare.

  • Have a safety plan for everybody in the household. Don’t forget the pets! Have a way to keep in touch.
  • Make sure that you have adequate amounts of any prescription medicines, as well as an alternative cold storage means for meds that need refrigeration.
  • You should have an emergency kit, including batteries for any necessary devices, flashlights, a phone charging kit, first-aid supplies, food, water and, if possible, cash.
  • Does your house have an automatic garage door? Make sure you know how to get it open when the power goes out.
  • If you have a backup generator, make sure that it’s safe to operate.

If you need a place to charge your phone, use the bathroom or maybe just enjoy some air conditioning, PG&E is maintaining community resource centers in several counties.

You can get PG&E alerts for your ZIP code by calling 877-900-0743 or by texting “ENROLL” to 97633.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.