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PSPS Preparedness: The County of Lake’s Health Services Department and Public Health Officer, Gary Pace, MD, MPH, offer the following recommendations for upcoming possible power outages.

Due to weather changes predicted for this Sunday, October 25, PG&E advises they will likely proactively shut off power, in order to decrease the risk of wildfire.  Presently, severe weather is expected to subside by 6am Tuesday, October 27.  This Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Event may result in outages through Tuesday night; depending on damage to electrical infrastructure, some areas could be without power longer. 
 
PG&E is currently preparing for the possibility approximately 30,000 Lake County customers will lose power.  To confirm whether your home or business address is expected to be affected, use PG&E’s address lookup tool:
https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/addresslookup/
 
Preparation is very important, especially if you are medically fragile.  Those with major medical needs may want to evacuate to an area that is not expected to lose power.  Considering risks associated with COVID-19 will make those decisions more challenging this year.  If you haven’t already, start planning right away.
 
Ensure you have essentials needed to endure a multi-day outage before the power shuts off.
 
Medications: 
Some pharmacies were closed in previous events.
• Keep at least a seven-day supply of essential medications in the house. Refill any medications that are low before the power goes out.
• If your pharmacy is closed, other pharmacies may be able to provide a small supply, or you may need to go out of the area to fill your prescription.  Take your prescription bottle with you.
 
Medical Equipment, especially Oxygen:
• People that are dependent on electricity due to their medical condition should sigh up with PG&E for their “Medical Baseline” program.  Sign up at https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/save-energy-money/help-paying-your-bill/longer-term-assistance/medical-condition-related/medical-baseline-allowance/medical-baseline-allowance.page.
• If you are oxygen dependent, you need to have a plan before the power goes out.
   o Consider evacuating to a safe place out of the area expected to maintain power.
   o Get a properly installed generator, if possible.
   o During the day, you can visit a Community Resource Center (CRC) to plug in your equipment.
   o Fill extra tanks, to give some reserve.
   o Contact your Medical Equipment provider, if you have questions.
• Other equipment—CPAP, motorized scooters, nebulizers all require power and planning.
• For more ideas, check out https://prepareforpowerdown.com
 
Hospitals and Nursing Homes:
• During previous outages, both hospitals have run on generators, but with some limitations in x-ray services.   It appears PG&E may have developed other power sources for the hospitals.
• All three nursing homes were open and running on generators previously.

Outpatient Medical Providers:
All outpatient clinics were closed throughout last year’s Countywide events.  Lake County Tribal Health now has a large generator.  The hospital-based clinics may also be on the micro-grid that may run the hospital.
 
Medical questions or advice:
• If you need some medical guidance, try calling your provider.
• No answer? Try calling your insurance company since some have on-call nurses to answer questions.
   o Partnership HealthPlan: 24/7 call number: (866)778-8873
   o Other insurance: check your insurance card for advice numbers.
• During last year’s PSPS Events, both Sutter and Adventist hospitals had call centers open to answer medical questions for their patients.
• Of course, if you are having a medical emergency, go to the Emergency room or call 911!

Behavioral Health:
• If you are feeling significantly stressed, Lake County Behavioral Health has a 24 hour hotline: 1- 800-900-2075.

Community Resource Center (CRC):
These were created by PG&E for people to come and plug in their devices, get bottled water, and other basic services.  Locations are typically announced shortly the start of a PSPS Event.  Visit https://www.pge.com/ for more information.
 
General Concerns:
 Gasoline/propane. Most suppliers were closed, people should fill their tanks before the power goes out.
• Food. Most grocery stores and restaurants were closed previously, but they may have other arrangements this time.  It makes sense to get food before the shutdown. If you do not have, a way to keep food cold, purchase non-perishables like canned and packaged goods. Use frozen gallon jugs of water or ice to help keep food cold and prevent spoilage. “When in doubt, throw it out.”
• Water. People on wells with electric pumps may be without water. Fill bathtubs or other storage tanks prior to the event.
• Temperature regulation. Electric heating and cooling may not work. Plan ahead to keep comfortable, especially when elders and children are in the house.
 
PG&E’s website includes many valuable preparedness resources:
https://www.pge.com/
 
7-Day PSPS Forecasts (more frequently updated when PSPS Events are imminent) are available at the PG&E Weather Awareness page:
https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/psps-weather-map/
 
For information on Changes to PSPS Events in 2020, including a Lake County-specific presentation, visit:
http://www.lakecountyca.gov/Residents/Emergencies/PSPS/New_in_2020.htm

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