Saturday, February 22, 2020
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Prepare for PG&E’s

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)!

By this time, there is a good chance residents have heard about PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program. Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services is encouraging every resident to become as self-reliant as possible during these power outages. While ultimately PG&E decides if and when a PSPS event will occur, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to prepare for the potential effects of an outage that could span multiple days.

PG&E has stated they will attempt to notify customers of a potential PSPS event 48 hours in advance if possible. Residents should be aware that a notification could be as little as six hours in advance. To be certain that you receive notifications from PG&E, please visit pge.com/mywildfirealerts or call 1-866-743-6589 and update your contact information. Additionally, be sure you are enrolled in SLO County’s Reverse 911 by visiting the www.Slocounty.ca.gov website (click here.)

Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services is providing as much information as possible to our citizens, to ensure proper planning and to help residents understand what resources should not be relied upon during a PSPS event. Due to the location of transmission lines supplying power to San Luis Obispo County, it is a very real possibility that a PSPS event could affect the entire County all at once.

Currently, there are no fuel stations in Atascadero that are equipped with back-up generators to provide power during a shutoff. Without alternate power, stations will not be able to run fuel pumps to provide diesel or gasoline. It is strongly advised to keep vehicle fuel tanks above half and to have adequate fuel storage for generators. Be sure that any storage of fuel is stored properly and safely. Also, consider alternate fuel sources if making a generator purchase, such as natural gas or propane.

At this time, local grocery stores have also stated they are not equipped to remain open during an extended power outage. Now is the time to create emergency kits that include food and water storage! Do not rely on last minute purchases of emergency items, when demand inevitably outpaces supply. For more information on what to pack in an emergency kit, visit the www.Slocounty.ca.gov website by clicking here.

It is highly likely that a PSPS event will occur during extreme heat. Unfortunately, Atascadero does not currently have a plan to establish a cooling center during a PSPS. It is encouraged to not only have a plan for your household, but also to check on neighbors, especially those that are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Additionally, anyone that is reliant on electricity-dependent medical devices or refrigeration for medications should have a plan in place to mitigate issues during a power outage. Remember that these power outages may last multiple days and could very well affect the entire county at the same time.

Communication is another factor to consider during a PSPS event. While most of the community is reliant on cell phone services to stay updated and in contact with others, an extended outage will potentially exhaust the back-up power sources for nearby cell towers. An outage that continues for more than 48 hours will likely affect the reliability of cell phone communication.  Be sure to include an AM/FM radio and extra batteries in your emergency kit.

Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services is working with the City to ensure essential services will continue without interruption during a PSPS. We are asking each and every individual to take the necessary steps now to prepare for the same potential event. For additional information or assistance, please contact the Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services at (805) 461-5070 or your local fire agency.

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