When logging into PG&E’s (Pacific Gas and Electric) website, the following message appears. WILDFIRE SAFETY – ACTION REQUIRED.
A quick Google search leads to the following information.
PG&E on Tuesday warned customers in the Bay Area about a new policy that will cut electricity to certain neighborhoods during extreme fire weather conditions.
Customers were told to be “prepared” for when the alerts go into effect and the power could be abruptly cut off….
PG&E is talking about using these pre-emptive power outages specifically during the threat of wildfires like the ones that destroyed nearly a quarter of a million acres in the north bay last October.
PG&E has now been blamed for some of those fires. 90,000 people were evacuated and more than 40 people died.
Southern California Edison has a similar program in place….
The affected regions include much of the area that burned in the wine country wildfires.
The announcement comes on the heels of last week’s Cal Fire report that blamed PG&E for a dozen of the Wine Country wildfires.
The report noted that trees and branches came into contact with power lines during the extreme weather event, sparking the blazes last October.
While one can understand why this would be necessary, it doesn’t make it any less terrifying. If you have no power, then your chargers for your cell phone or your cordless home phone aren’t going to be very useful. This is the time where a good emergency radio is essential. Radio becomes so much more important during these kinds of emergencies. Radio works, it’s reliable, and it can cover a very large area and change programming quickly unlike some newer technologies that are reliant on power and the internet. There are so many stories out there about how local radio saved the day during floods, storms, fires and other natural disasters by keeping people informed.
As Hurricane Harvey approached Houston, residents evacuated or hunkered down, preparing for days of rain. Broadcasters, though, prepared for days of non-stop reporting, aimed at keeping community members as safe as possible during the storm.
“We never went off the air. We never stopped with the broadcast,” Michael Berry, a show host on iHeartRadio’s KTRH, said.
Ham radio operators also play a crucial role like they did in Puerto Rico during last year’s hurricane
In the days after the worst storm in three generations hit the American island — and for many more to come — public electrical, land-line and cellular communication systems showed few signs of life. And radio networks used routinely by police officers, power company workers and other first responder still were down.
Yet, a key mode of communication — one not reliant on infrastructure vulnerable to strong winds and flooding — still crackled: the “ham” radio.
As of the time of this post, there are 15 active wildfires in California. At the same time we’re being hit with wildfires, other areas primarily in the East are being flooded.
The fires near us (the CARR fire, in Redding and surrounding areas is only about 3 hours to the East of Fortuna) have really reminded us how important it is to have batteries, a battery operated flashlight and radio, check your emergency radio and make sure it’s working (or time to purchase one). It’s also a great opportunity to make sure your emergency plan is current or if you don’t have one, now’s the time to make one.
What an excellent post! One thing Canada is doing is reviewing its network of Environment Canada stations. I answered their survey so that they’d know people still listen. Switching to apps would be bad because cell phone systems get swamped during emergencies. Radio transmissions don’t get bogged down and can reach many people at once. I hope the government keeps these transmitters going. By the way, not everybody has a smart phone. Folks seem to forget that.