While winter storms in California are far milder than they are in other parts of the country, it's still important that we all are prepared for the upcoming inclement weather. Now is the time to check on your emergency kit making sure you have fresh batteries, working flashlights, and a spare charger for your cell phone. While Buena Vista is not in a flood risk area, this doesn't mean that streets, basements, and cellars will not flood. Free sandbags are available from the water district if you need them.
Talk to your Neighbors
Now is the time to check in with neighbors, especially those with access or functional needs. Make sure they are ready for the storm with adequate food and alternate lighting as well as coming up with a plan on how they can get help if they need it; an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.
Help Prevent Power Outages
You can help ensure the lights stay on for you and your neighbors by taking a few minutes to go outside and checking the trees. While for many, loosing electricity is an inconvenience, for people who need power to get around, use medical equipment, or keep medications hot/cold loosing power can be a major problem.
The most common cause of service interruptions during inclement weather are trees taking out power lines. Take a look at the power poles around your house and neighborhood and look for any trees that are touching or threatening the electrical lines. If you see a problem, make note of the address and notify PG&E (1-800-743-5000) so they can come out and address the problem before it becomes one.
Usually located at the top of wood poles above the pole-mounted transformer, they deliver into local neighborhoods. We maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches around these power lines, with high fire-threat areas requiring a minimum 4-foot clearance.
Usually located below primary lines on the same poles beneath the pole-mounted transformer, they typically carry electricity directly to homes or businesses through connected service wires. We clear vegetation from secondary lines if we determine there is strain or abrasion.
Wires that connect directly from secondary lines to your home or business. Customers are responsible for maintaining service wires to keep them free of vegetation.
Storm Safety Tips:
Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup.
Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.
Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply 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.
Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.