Environmental Disasters

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

Prepare now for future PSPS events, especially if you have medical needs.

The County of Santa Clara Office of Emergency Management is providing updates about PSPS affecting Santa Clara County, including the location and hours of operation for City and Customer Resource Centers.

PG&E is providing updates and the ability to look up your specific address to see if it will be impacted:

In the event PG&E's site experiences technical difficulties, you may also use the following communication resources:

  • Call the PG&E customer line at 1-800-743-5000.
  • PG&E on T​witter.
  • PG&E on Facebook.
  • PG&E on .

What is a Public Safety Power Shutoff event?

In the event of gusty winds and dry conditions, PG&E may deem it necessary to turn off electricity, to decrease fire risk. PG&E calls this event a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

Prepare for Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

Extreme weather conditions can last several hours or days, which may require power shutoffs of 48 hours or longer. Prepare for a power outage in the following ways:

  • Prepare an emergency supply kit. Download a printable version (pdf).
  • Create a safety plan for all members of your family, including pets.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers handy and consider staying with a friend or relative during an outage.
  • Medications that need to stay cool can be in a closed refrigerator for up to 2-3 hours.
  • Keep hydrated. If you are unable to manage without power, seek shelter at a Customer/City Resource Center

Hotline for Medically Vulnerable Californians

A nonemergency hotline has been established by California Health and Human Services (CHHS) to help medically vulnerable Californians find resources in their communities during power shutoffs (PSPS).

  • Hotline: (833) 284-3473
  • Open from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. during power shutoffs or potential power shutoffs.
  • Assistance is available in many languages. 
  • ​711 Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) are available for individuals with hearing or speech related disabilities.​

How to Store Refrigerated Medications

Many Santa Clara County residents take medication that needs refrigeration. Some drugs require refrigeration to keep their strength, including many liquid drugs. Along with emergency supplies, such as water and dried or nonperishable food, we encourage you to pre-plan on how to meet your medical needs during a power outage. 

Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication and insulin. Medications that require refrigeration should be kept cold during a power outage. In the event of a power outage:​

  • A closed refrigerator will maintain a cool temperature for 2-3 hours.
  • To prepare for longer periods without power, remove the refrigerated medications from the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Place medications into an ice chest or small cooler packed with ice, cooling bricks or cold packs.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor medication temperatures to ensure they’re safe to use.
  • Avoid freezing the medication by making sure it does not directly touch the ice.
  • When the power is out for a day or more, throw away any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise.
  • If a life depends on the refrigerated drug, but the medications have been at room temperature, use them only until a new supply is available.
  • Replace all refrigerated drugs as soon as possible.

Resources for people with chronic disease or disability.​

What to do if you rely on electric or battery dependent medical devices?

If you rely on electric or battery dependent medical devices such as such as assistive technology, breathing machines, a power wheelchair or scooter, or home oxygen or dialysis, it is critical that you have a plan in place for an extended power outage.

Shelter in Place or Evacuate

In addition to bioterrorism and disease outbreaks, certain natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, and floods can cause other public health emergencies such as disruptions in power, water, and other essential services; poor air quality; or contaminated water or food supplies that could possibly affect the health of residents. Other emergencies could include severe winter or summer weather.  

There may also be emergencies when the possibility of survival depends on staying where you are. This process is called “shelter in place.” Generally, this happens with storms and natural disasters, or it might also happen in the event of a terrorist attack of the biological, chemical or radiation type.

In other situations, officials will tell you to move to another place or to evacuate your community.

Depending on the situation, Public Health officials will work closely with other local emergency officials and inform the public of any potential health risks that might result from a natural or environmental disaster.

Associated Resources

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