Beyond worries about hospitals, hospices and medical care facilities, officials are warning residents to formulate plans to ensure their health needs are met. That ranges from keeping food and water on hand to knowing how to manually open your garage. The blackouts will impact 34 counties in Central and Northern California.
The Wall Street Journal: PG&E Starts To Cut Power For Nearly 800,000 California Customers On Wildfire Risk
PG&E Corp. has begun to shut off power to hundreds of thousands of people in California as it seeks to prevent its electric lines from sparking more deadly wildfires, in what is believed to be the largest such pre-emptive blackout ever. The outages are poised to hit areas across the northern and central parts of the state, including the famous wine country region, the rural Sierra Nevada foothills and portions of Oakland and San Jose. (Blunt, Carlton and Ailworth, 10/9)
Los Angeles Times: Unprecedented Power Outages Begin In California As Winds Bring Critical Fire Danger
The blackouts will impact 34 counties in Central and Northern California. It would be the biggest power shutdown so far as utilities across the state attempt to reduce wildfire risk due to heavy wind. Utilities malfunctions have been tied to some of the state’s most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp fire, which devastated Paradise, Calif., and the 2017 wine country blazes. “It is a very blunt way of approaching the situation, but at the same time, there’s an understanding of why it’s being undertaken,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, who noted PG&E’s announcement came on the second anniversary of the 2017 firestorm. “We have vulnerable populations, our elderly and young children. We’re mostly concerned about them.” (Serna, Cosgrove and McGreevy, 10/9)
NBC News: Power To Nearly 1 Million Californians Could Be Shut Off Over Fire Hazard
“Turning off the power is an extremely difficult decision to make, because we know how much our friends, families and our communities rely on power,” said Scott Strenfel, PG&E’s principal meteorologist. But Strenfel said the utility was expecting strong winds with gusts as high as 70 mph, which, coupled with low humidity, could lead to “catastrophic wildfire growth” in vulnerable areas of northern and central California. (Johnson, 10/8)
Sacramento Bee: Historic PG&E Blackouts To Test Medical Emergency Planning
Health care providers and officials around Northern California said that PG&E’s electrical grid shutdown, expected to trigger blackouts in 34 of 58 counties on Wednesday, will test on a grand scale whether residents and medical care facilities have done enough to planning for medical emergencies. (Anderson, 10/8)
San Francisco Chronicle: PG&E Shut-Offs: Health Systems Prepare To Move Medicines, Reschedule Appointments
Bay Area hospitals do not expect to go dark during the PG&E power shut-offs slated to begin tomorrow, but health systems that also run urgent care clinics, outpatient facilities and smaller doctors’ offices — which may not have the large backup generators that hospitals typically have — are preparing for the possibility of losing power. John Muir Health, which runs hospitals and medical centers across the East Bay, is preparing to move medications that need refrigeration from clinics in Orinda, Lafayette and San Ramon to locations where power will be maintained, said spokesman Ben Drew. Those medications include flu, shingles and MMR vaccines and osteoarthritis medicine. (Ho, 10/9)
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