Get ready for wildfire season and potential safety-related outages
Hotter, dryer and more extreme weather has increased the likelihood of wildfires in Oregon and unfortunately, the likelihood of a safety-related power outage. Is your business prepared? If not, it’s prep time!
While stores are well-stocked, create an outage kit specifically for summer and make sure everyone in your business knows where to find it. Below are a few basic items to start you off, and you can add more to suit your business' needs.
Flashlights or camp lights for all areas, including bathrooms
Battery powered or hand-crank radio
Battery powered clock
Battery powered or hand-held fans
Car chargers for cell phones and laptops or tablet computers
Bottled water for people and animals (if your water relies on an electric pump)
Emergency phone numbers, including PGE Customer Service: 503-228-6322 or the number of your account representative.
Having a plan in case of a safety-related power outage can help minimize disruption, keep your employees safe and protect equipment. Be sure to communicate your outage response plan with key employees. And remember, part of a good outage plan is having a good outage kit.
Identify whether and how you could run your business without power. Think about how you’ll complete transactions, keep employees and customers cool, power your lighting and ensure safety and security.
Plan a manual alternative for work done on computers and cash registers.
Ensure electronic door locks can be bypassed manually.
If you have an emergency lighting system, make sure it’s in good working order.
Train your employees to know what to do if they’re working when the power goes out, including shutting down sensitive equipment.
Plan how you’ll let customers and employees know you’re closing if the power goes out.
Make a plan for caring for perishable inventory, watering crops, and keeping livestock or animals cool and watered.
Consider a backup generator and follow manufacturers' guidelines for safe operation.
Be sure to have your maintenance team – or your team members familiar with your electrical systems – ready to come in once power is safely restored. This will ensure that after we turn power back on, they can do any necessary work on your systems so you can be back up, running and serving your customers.
Power outages can affect equipment and data. Here’s how to protect them both:
Know how you will keep critical equipment running during an outage.
Locate equipment power switches and turn off.
Locate your electrical supply panels and know how to shut off power.
Protect computers and other equipment from power surges with good quality surge protection.
Prevent data loss with automatic backup programs and battery backup systems.
The safety of our customers and community is always our first priority. If extreme weather conditions threaten our ability to safely operate the electrical grid, we will turn off power in certain high-risk zones to help protect public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS. A Public Safety Power Shutoff is a last-resort safety measure. We consider wind speed, temperature, humidity, the dryness of trees and brush, field observations by our crews, as well as information from local fire departments when we’re deciding whether a PSPS is needed.
If we do need to call a PSPS, we work to minimize the number of customers affected and the amount of time they are without power. And, we’ll keep you informed about what is happening and what to expect from us by communicating across a wide range of channels.
For us, being prepared is a year-round effort to protect people, property and natural environments.
Our crews regularly inspect our poles and equipment and make necessary modifications or replacements to reduce the risk of a spark. For example, we’ve installed metal poles and fiberglass cross-arms that are fire-resistant.
Over that past few years, we’ve increased funding and resources for our program to inspect, trim and remove more trees and shrubs that could cause trouble with our transmission lines. This adds to our already robust line-clearing and tree trimming program that actively manages more than 2 million trees along 12,000 miles of overhead power lines.
While you’re preparing your business for summer wildfire outages, be sure you and your employees prepare at home too .