Six Ways Californians Can Prepare and Survive this Summer’s Blackouts

Posted: July 31, 2019

With California utilities planning intentional blackouts to minimize the chance of wildfires, it is more important than ever for residents to prepare themselves to go without electrical power, according to the Western Propane Gas Association (WPGA).

An estimated one in four Californians – 11 million people – currently live in “high risk” wildfire areas, including suburban Southern California and the Bay Area, say officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials warn this could be another bad fire season because of excess vegetation that will provide fuel when it dries out this summer.

“It is critical for these Californians to review how best to prepare for possible blackouts and fires that could last for weeks,” said Joy Alafia, president of WPGA. “We would like to remind everyone to follow five key guidelines suggested by the American Red Cross and also consider the need for backup power.”

She said that propane generators offer a safe and environmentally friendly option for homeowners and businesses.

“While backup power may be viewed as a nice convenience, it can be a matter of life and death for countless Californians reliant on such life-support equipment as oxygen ventilators, dialysis machines and heart pumps,” said Alafia.

Propane generators offer a number of advantages, she said, because propane will not go stale; it also is quieter and is 90 percent cleaner than traditional fuel generators. Within seconds of an outage, they automatically supply power directly to residential electrical circuit breaker boxes. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. These generators are also easy to use, and sit outside just like a central air conditioning unit.

“Propane fuel continues to play a significant role in helping California meet its low-carbon goals while serving millions of customers with a critical source of clean energy,” said Alafia. She advised California residents to review the Red Cross’ generator safety and other tips for blackout preparedness.

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