Power Outage

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Self-Reliance in a Power Outage


A power outage is just one type of emergency that can occur in Dana Point. As with any emergency, when the power is out for a long period of time requests for fire, police, medical, and other services will increase. Eventually, the increased demand for services could result in delayed response times.

For this reason, everyone should learn to be self-reliant in a power outage. Even though outages may only last a few hours, you should be also prepared for other emergencies where you may be without assistance for 3 days or longer.

Before an emergency occurs, prepare yourself by gathering supplies and building a disaster kit. We also encourage you to register to receive emergency notifications via phone, email, and text message by registering for AlertOC.


Power Outage Tips
When the power goes out, follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.

  • Check Circuit Breakers. If your power goes out, check your home's circuit breakers or fuses first. Your power could be out because a circuit has tripped or a fuse has blown.
  • Report Electrical Outages. Check to see if the lights in your neighborhood are off. Contact San Diego Gas & Electric at 800-611-7343 to report the outage.
  • Power Lines. If you can see any power lines on the ground, stay at least 10 feet away from them as electricity might still be flowing through the lines. Power lines that have been turned off can still be energized without warning, so make sure everyone stays away.
  • Sensitive Appliances. Protect appliances from possible power surges when electricity is restored. When an outage occurs, unplug appliances and computers and turn lights and other equipment off. Keep one light turned on so you know when the power is back on.
  • Keep Food Cold. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help prevent food spoilage. Refrigerated foods should remain safe to eat for four hours. Food in a closed freezer can stay frozen for up to two days. Throw away any perishable food that was exposed to 40° or higher temperatures for more than 2 hours. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Dry Ice. Add dry or block ice to the freezer to help keep food frozen. Never add dry ice with your bare hands or place directly on top of food.
  • Water. Discontinue non-essential water usage, such as irrigation. Do not drink cloudy or dirty water. Don't be alarmed if the chlorine level is slightly higher than normal. Notify water officials of low or no water pressure.
  • Stay Cool. During hot days, stay in cool areas and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Check on Neighbors. Check on elderly, disabled, or medically dependent neighbors and children who are home alone.
  • Life Support Equipment. If someone in your household uses life support equipment, make arrangements for a back-up power supply.
  • Generators. Establish independent, short-term power supplies such as generators or battery-operated devices. If you must use a generator, never plug it into any electric outlet in your home. Instead, plug appliances directly into an outdoor generator.
  • Monitor Radio and Television. Monitor a radio or television for current information on the outage. Battery-powered or hand-crank radios are great, but a car radio can be used as well.
  • Telephones. Use a telephone that does not depend on electricity. Cordless phones will not function during an outage. Cellular phones may work but should only be used for an emergency. Text and email messages will work better than voice calls.
  • Electric Doors and Gates. Know how to manually release and open any electric garage doors and security gates.
  • House Numbers. Ensure house numbers are readily visible to emergency responders from the street.
  • Traffic Signals. Intersections should be treated as four-way stops when traffic lights are out or flashing red. Expect long traffic delays in areas where the power is out. Plan ahead by always keeping your car's gas tank at least half full.


Rotating Outages

During periods of extremely high demand for electricity, it may be necessary to have rotating power outages, which are also known as rolling blackouts. When this happens, San Diego Gas & Electric will manually shut down power to parts of the power grid for a short time to reduce the load on the entire system.

Rotating outages only occur after the California Independent System Operator, the organization that manages most of California's power grid, has declared a Stage 3 Power Emergency. At that point, electric utilities are required to take significant steps to reduce the amount of power being consumed. This is done by using rotating outages.

These outages will generally last no more than one hour in each area, and are staggered so that there will not be a second rotating outage in that location again for as long as possible. SDG&E has pre-identified the locations next in order for rotating outages on their Rotating Outage website. This information is subject to change, but is a good reference for when your area may be subject to rotating outages. Because the need to reduce power use can happen quickly, you may not receive any notice before an outage occurs.

You can help by reducing your electricity use when the weather is hot or power demand is high. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, do not use major appliances until evening hours, and turn off all unnecessary lights.


Helping Children Cope

Children depend on daily routines: regular times for meals, school, and play. At night, they are accustomed to having light and entertainment available at the flick of a switch. When a power outage interrupts this routine, children may become anxious and look to you and other adults for help.

How you react to a power outage gives children clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, a child may become more scared. When talking with children about an outage, be sure to share a realistic description of what has happened and the expected outcome.

  • Explain the Situation. Your calming words and actions can provide reassurance.
  • Listen. Concentrate on your child's emotional needs by asking the child what's first in his or her mind. Encourage children to describe what they're feeling. Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion.
  • School Plans. Ask your children's teachers and caregivers about power outage emergency plans for schools and day-care centers.
  • Emergency Numbers. Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones and teach your children how and when to call for help.
  • Entertainment. Keep flashlights, light sticks, playing cards, books, notebooks, magazines, board games, and craft supplies handy.
  • Returning to Normal. Have children participate in activities that will help them feel that their life will return to "normal" when the power is restored.



People With Disabilities

If you are disabled, or assist someone who is, being prepared can reduce the fear and inconvenience that surround an emergency.

  • Backup Power Supplies. Know how to start or connect a backup power supply for essential medical equipment.
  • Flashlights. Keep a flashlight or light stick handy to signal your location to other people and for illumination to aid in communication.
  • Self-Help Network. Create a self-help network of relatives, friends or co-workers. Discuss your needs in advance, and ask for their assistance in an emergency. Arrange for someone to check on you in an emergency.
  • Teach Others How To Help You. Teach others how to operate necessary equipment. Give a key to a neighbor or friend who may be able to assist you. Make sure they know where you keep emergency supplies.
  • Hearing Impairment. Remind friends that you cannot hear warnings or emergency instructions. Ask them to be your source of emergency information as it comes over their radio or television.
  • Medical Alert Systems. Consider getting a medical alert system that will allow you to call a service provider if you are immobilized in an emergency. If you have a severe speech, language, or hearing disability, learn how to use TDD/TTY telephone services. Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your needs.
  • Wheelchair Use. If you use a wheelchair, show friends how to operate your wheelchair so they can move you if necessary. Make sure your friends know the size of your wheelchair in case it has to be transported.
  • Personal Attendants. If you use a personal care attendant obtained from an agency, check to see if the agency has special provisions for emergencies such as power outages.
  • Life Sustaining Equipment. Know the location and availability of more than one facility if you are dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
  • Service Animals. Despite their training, service animals may become confused or disoriented in an emergency. Remember to include food, water, and other items for your service animal in your emergency supplies.
  • Special Assistance Programs. Complete and return a Special Assistance Card, found in the Emergency Information brochure distributed annually. This information helps emergency responders assist you in an emergency.


For Further Information

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