Community Meetings Encourage Emergency Preparedness
Wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters can happen at a moment’s notice and it’s only then that people often realize they are unprepared.
For more than a year, Southern California Edison has joined with the American Red Cross, first responders and other local officials at nearly 30 community meetings in high fire risk areas to explain what the utility is doing to strengthen its power system to better withstand wildfires and to urge people to help themselves by being prepared.
“We want to educate our customers about our Wildfire Mitigation Plan, Public Safety Power Shutoffs and emergency preparedness,” said Bob Stiens, an SCE government relations adviser who delivered SCE’s presentation at a recent community meeting in Culver City.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby was among the local officials who attended and spoke about wildfire and emergency preparedness.
SCE’s wildfire mitigation work includes:
- Installing weather stations and cameras in high fire risk areas and using enhanced weather modeling so its meteorologists can pinpoint weather conditions that could pose a potential for wildfire.
Making its system more fire-resistant by installing insulated wire and fire-resistant composite power poles.
- Conducting inspections by helicopter and drones using infrared, LiDAR and other imaging technology to identify any potential problems with its equipment.
- Trimming and removing trees and vegetation that could fall or blow into power lines, causing a spark that results in a fire.
The Public Safety Power Shutoff is a process that has become an important tool in protecting public safety as climate change increases the risk of wildfires.
When high winds, heat and low humidity create an elevated fire risk, SCE will send out an alert to customers in that area that they are being considered for a power shutoff. The company will try to give customers a two-day notice so they can prepare. A second notice will go out a day before a possible power shutoff. Local governments and agencies will also be notified.
SCE will only shut off power when elevated conditions indicate a heightened risk of wildfire. Customers will then be notified that power has been shut off and again when it has been restored.
"We know a power outage is disruptive, but we are doing this to ensure the public’s safety,” said Stiens. “Customers can help us help them by checking with SCE to ensure their contact information is up to date so they will receive email, phone or text message alerts notifying them of a possible shutoff.”
For more information and to sign up for PSPS alerts: sce.com/PSPS.
- Have a personal safety plan in place for every member of your household (including pets).
- Plan for any medical needs like medications that need to be refrigerated or devices that require power.
- Build or restock your emergency supply kit, including food, water, flashlights, a radio, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
- Identify backup charging methods for phones.
- Learn how to manually open your garage door.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.