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Preparing for Emergencies in Advance Can Be a Lifesaver

September is National Preparedness Month and SCE encourages Medical Baseline customers to be prepared for disasters and emergencies.

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When Anna Campos learned a recent extended maintenance outage would leave her and her husband without electricity for more than eight hours, she didn’t panic.

The Southern California Edison customer turned to her backup plan.

She filled portable oxygen tanks she keeps at home for her husband Eddie, who has hypertension and difficulty breathing at times. Next, she checked her “grab and go” bag filled with emergency essentials. Then she headed to her mother-in-law’s where the Palmdale couple kept cool until their power was restored.  

It’s really important to us to help our most vulnerable customers and our Medical Baseline Program is just one of the ways we can do that.

Kari Gardner
SCE senior manager 

“You have to always be prepared. No surprises. We don’t want to be surprised with a phone call telling us we’re turning off your electricity because of a power outage today,” said Anna, whose husband is enrolled in SCE’s Medical Baseline Program. “You never know what could happen. I keep my bag handy by the door so I can grab and go.” 

September is National Preparedness Month which encourages and reminds everyone to be prepared should an emergency or disaster strike. Each week, preparedness themes are planned and “A National Day of Action” is scheduled for Sept. 15.

When the unexpected happens, knowing what to do and being prepared in advance can be a lifesaver. That’s extremely important if you or someone who lives with you depends on life support equipment at home, and/or has a medical condition involving heat and/or cooling needs.

Individuals with special energy needs due to qualifying medical conditions may be eligible for assistance through SCE’s Medical Baseline Program. Enrollees receive an extra 16.5 kilowatt hours per day over their standard electricity allotment at the lowest rate available to help offset the cost of the additional electricity used as a result of their medical equipment or device.

They also receive SCE automated alerts and notifications about maintenance outages, extended outages, emergencies and scheduled changes.

“It’s really important to us to help our most vulnerable customers and our Medical Baseline Program is just one of the ways we can do that,” said Kari Gardner, SCE senior manager of Consumer Affairs. “It provides extra energy per day at a lower rate and lets us know there is a fragile situation in the home so we can send alerts and notifications to our residents.”

To enroll in the Medical Baseline Program, a licensed physician or a physician’s assistant must certify a resident has a qualifying medical condition. For additional information, call 800-447-6620 or print out and complete a Medical Baseline Program application.

Emergency Preparedness Tips

  • Learn lifesaving skills. Take a CPR and/or first aid class. Learn how to shut off water and gas.
  • Make a safety kit. Include fresh water, nonperishable food, a manual can opener, batteries, a flashlight, necessary medication and more.
  • Keep emergency contacts. Include the phone numbers of your doctor, family members, friends and medical equipment company. Keep a fully-charged cell phone or spare battery pack on hand.
  • Have a plan. Work with your hospital or medical company that supplies your life-support device to develop a backup plan. They may offer special services during an emergency.
  • Let your city or county first responders know. Contact your local fire department to see if they keep a list of customers with special medical needs. It could be helpful in responding to you during emergencies.
  • If you must leave your home. Create a plan for leaving your home in the event of a lengthy departure and share this plan with your family and friends.