To recognize National Wildfire Awareness Month, Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power are encouraging Oregonians to prepare for fire season. Fire-weather conditions, such as severe drought combined with summer windstorms or active wildfires, can lead to safety-related power outages.
PGE, Pacific Power and Idaho Power continue to invest in and prepare their electric grids to deliver reliable power and operate safely in all seasons. Preparedness is a year-round effort, and everyone has a part to play. As electric providers, we partner with tribes and federal, state and local agencies to plan and prepare for the upcoming wildfire season.
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) will be reviewing 2023 wildfire mitigation plans for investor-owned electric providers during a public meeting on May 25.
“These plans demonstrate and allow the PUC to evaluate the utilities’ work to understand wildfire risk and adapt their systems and operations to increase the safety and resiliency of electricity supply,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. “The work of the utilities is just part of the equation. All Oregonians have a role in preparing for and mitigating wildfires.”
Resources are available to help every Oregonian get ready for wildfire season. At wildfire.oregon.gov, Oregonians can find tips on everything from staying informed about wildfire and wildfire-related outages to making a plan for evacuations to establishing defensible spaces that help slow the spread of wildfire.
Here are a few steps the utilities recommend customers do to make sure they receive up-to-date wildfire information:
Contact electric provider or log in to account and make sure all contact information is current so they can receive alerts and messages.
If they rely on electricity to store medication or operate medical equipment, enroll in their electric provider’s Medical Certificate Program, if available, to receive proactive communications about outages. Make a backup plan with doctor and other medical providers.
Make an outage kit
Prepare a home outage kit to use in case wildfire leads to a power outage. Be sure to include shelf-stable food, water for people, pets and livestock, medications, flashlights, batteries and solar or car chargers for electric devices. Keep ice packs or frozen water in the freezer to help keep food cold until ice is available.
Businesses should prepare to minimize disruption, keep employees safe and protect equipment. Outage kits should include flashlights or camp lights for all areas, including restrooms, battery-powered or hand-crank radios for information, battery-powered fans, extra batteries, car chargers for cell phones and electric devices, bottled water and emergency phone numbers.
Have a plan
Consider options to relocate with a friend, family member or shelter, especially if medication or treatment of a medical condition requires electricity.
Businesses should communicate their outage-response plans to key employees, plan for workarounds to computers and cash registers and make a plan to bypass electronic door locks.
Residents and businesses should consider buying backup generators. Information on how to operate them safely is available from each of the electric providers in the information and resources below.
Make a plan for watering livestock if well pumps are without power.
Know how to open and close electric garage doors and security gates.
Learn how to protect home and business electronics and appliances against data loss and surge damage when power is restored.