Prepare for a Power Outage

In the event of a power outage, there are a few things to remember to stay safe:

Power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out. A power outage may:

  • Disrupt communications, water, and transportation;
  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services;
  • Cause food spoilage; and
  • Prevent use of medical devices.

It's important to be prepared for a power outage and to know where to find information. Below are resources and important information to help you and your family prepare for before a power outage, during an outage, and after an outage.

When the Power Goes Out

  • Do not touch any electrical power lines, keep your family away from them, and call 911 from a safe distance to report them. 

Keep Food as Safe as Possible

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
  • Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with the food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.

Electrical Equipment

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
  • When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system
  • If you are considering getting a generator, get advice from a professional, such as an electrician. Make sure that the generator you purchase is rated for the power that you think you will need.

Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Power Outage Restoration Tips

  1. PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff
  2. PSPS FAQs

Public Safety Power Shutoff

What is PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff Program?

If extreme fire danger conditions threaten a portion of the electric system serving Santa Rosa, PG&E may proactively turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff. 

  • PG&E will only proactively turn off the power to help reduce the likelihood of an ignition when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted. 
  • Customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected, but any of PG&E’s electric customers, including residents who live in the City of Santa Rosa, could have their power shut off if their community relies upon a line that passes through a high fire-threat area. 

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