SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week's 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Napa County was a forceful reminder that we all live in a seismically active region. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is sharing preparedness information with customers, especially for natural disasters that are more common to Northern and Central California, such as earthquakes, wildfires and winter storms.
National Preparedness Month in September serves as another good reminder that readiness for natural disasters is critically important every day. To ensure PG&E's preparedness for catastrophic events, the utility routinely conducts exercises focused on strengthening its emergency response and coordination between employees, first responders and the communities it serves.
Throughout September, PG&E will participate in several community events throughout its service area to educate customers about potential gas and electric hazards that can occur following a catastrophic event. On September 6, PG&E is sponsoring the California Day of Preparedness Event hosted by the State's Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento. The event is a free educational fair open to the public that will feature demonstrations and displays from several emergency response organizations including gas and electric safety demonstrations from PG&E.
"PG&E is pleased to partner with Cal OES to sponsor the California Day of Preparedness. Being prepared and ready to respond to all types of emergencies is crucial, as we never know when the next natural disaster will strike our area," said Barry Anderson, vice president of emergency preparedness and response for PG&E. "We want our customers to be safe, and we want to help them get their lives back to normal. That's why we are always working to optimize our tools, processes and alignment for emergencies with local, state and federal stakeholders."
In a crisis, first responders may not be able to respond quickly to everyone who needs help. That's why personal preparedness is so important. A wealth of safety and readiness information is available through PG&E's website, at www.pge.com/safetycentral and through the Federal Emergency Management Agency at http://www.ready.gov. PG&E offers the following information to help customers develop a preparedness plan to protect themselves and their families before and after disaster strikes:
GET READY FOR NATURAL DISASTERS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN:
- Prepare an emergency plan and conduct an emergency drill with your family.
- Prepare an evacuation plan for your home. Each room should have at least two ways to escape in case one is blocked. Establish a place where your family can reunite.
- Establish an alternative way to contact others who are not home, such as an out-of-the-area telephone contact.
- Prepare and maintain an emergency preparedness kit with enough supplies on hand to be self-sufficient for at least three days, and preferably up to one week.
- Know where your gas service shutoff valve is, and how to shut off your gas supply. The main shutoff valve is normally near your gas meter and will require the use of a 12- to 15-inch adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench or other suitable tool.
- Know which of your appliances use gas and where the appliance shutoff valves are. In some cases, turning off the gas at the appliance shutoff valve will suffice.
- Know where the main electric switch is and how to turn off your electric supply.
KNOW WHAT TO DO AFTER AN EMERGENCY:
- Check for injuries and ensure that everyone is safe.
- Check for damage. If you smell or hear gas escaping inside your home or business, get everyone outside immediately to a location upwind where you no longer can smell natural gas. Do not use electrical switches, appliances or phones because sparks can ignite gas. Do not check for a gas leak with a match or an open flame. Once outside, use your phone from a safe distance to call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- If you smell or hear gas escaping inside your home or business, shut off the gas at the appliance valve or the main gas service valve if you can do so safely.
- Once you shut off the gas, DO NOT turn it back on. Contact PG&E or another qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before the gas service is restored and the gas appliance pilots are re-lit.
- If the power goes out, turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored. Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights instead of candles due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lamp shades and small children and never leave them unattended.
- Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Call 911, and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.
- Utility Industry