As bushfire season approaches, emergency preparedness becomes even more important. Good preparation means practicing contingency plans, having bags ready, keeping extra batteries for flashlights and radios on hand and more.
For customers with accessibility and functional needs, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) offers discounts on generators and batteries; sponsors the Access to Disability Resources and Resources Program; And partners with 211, a free call for help with local resources and 24/7 support.
“Before wildfire season, it is important that customers who require additional assistance because they rely on the strength for health and safety know that there is support available,” said Marilyn Santos, PG&E Executive Vice President and Chief Customer. “Our partnerships with CBOs mean we can ensure that the right resources are better able to reach the clients who need them most.”
Here’s how to get started:
Disaster and Resource Access Program
- Awareness and preparedness for emergencies
- Promote our medical baseline program
- Accessible transportation resources
- Hotel accommodation and food stipend
- Portable spare batteries
Alternators and batteries
In 2021, we have delivered nearly 6,500 batteries to customers. Combined with the approximately 6,500 batteries we delivered in 2020, more than 13,000 batteries were distributed through the Portable Battery Program and the Disaster and Resource Access Program. The batteries were made available to the elderly and disabled who rely on energy for medical needs and eligible income Medical Baseline customers in fire-risk areas.
For 2022, we have removed the portable battery program’s low income requirements and offered them to Medical Baseline customers who live in high risk fire areas (HFTDs) or have been affected by two or more recent PSPS outages. In addition to portable batteries, insulin cooler bags, mini fridges, and extension cords are provided to eligible customers with medications requiring cold storage.
Call 211 for 24/7 resources
To support energy-reliant customers for health and safety, PG&E partners with California’s 211-second network to provide assistance at the times it needs it most. 211 is a free and confidential calling and texting service that provides 24/7 communication to local resources and assists in emergency preparedness planning to reduce difficulties that may be caused by safety interruptions in a wildfire, such as a public safety shutdown.
This partnership also provides proactive communication to help prepare those who rely on electricity for medical needs, individuals who may be disabled, or seniors or clients with other medical needs. Coordination of resources may include creating a contingency plan; transportation and hotel accommodation; portable backup power; food resources; and other services.
The 211 Network utilizes PG&E’s existing resources, as well as 211’s resource partnerships. 211 provides proactive outreach to all clients and serves as the first point of contact for our AFN community before, during and after PSPS.