When the Power is Out Tips
What you need to know and do when the power is out. Prepare by following these actions and tips:
- Safe Driving & Pedestrian Tips »
- Food Safety »
- Medications »
- Generators, Camp Stoves, Grills »
- Home Generator Guidelines »
- Evacuation Orders »
- Electronics & Appliances »
- Water Supply »
- Stay Connected & Informed »
Safe Driving & Pedestrian Tips
- Traffic signals and streetlights may be impacted by the power outage. Follow these safety tips:
- Stay home unless you absolutely need to leave
- Approach dark intersections as a four-way stop
- Use turn signals & enter intersections only when it is safe to do so
- Be aware of officials helping with traffic control
- Drive with extra caution. Never text and drive
- Pull to the right when emergency vehicles (fire, police, ambulance) with sirens and lights are on the road.
- Pedestrians should take extra care when walking near vehicles or crossing a crosswalk, especially after dark.
- Always cross in a crosswalk; be sure to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street.
- Look both ways before crossing a street.
- Be visible; wear light colored clothing. After dark wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.
- Look and listen; put the phone and earbuds away!
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer. Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
- Visit Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency for more information.
- Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
- Some prescription medications require refrigeration, including many liquid drugs.
- When the power is out for a day or more, throw away any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the prescription label says otherwise.
- If your life depends on refrigerated medication, but the medications have been at room temperature, use them only until a new supply is available, then discard and use the new supply.
- Replace all refrigerated drugs as soon as possible.
Generators, Camp Stoves, Grills
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires —generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stove top or oven to heat your home. Go to a community location with power if heat or cold weather temperature conditions are extreme.
Home Generator Guidelines
- Before starting your generator, carefully read and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Before refueling, turn off a gas-powered generator and let it cool. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.
- Avoid electrical hazards. It’s best to plug in appliances directly to the generator.
- During a prolonged power outage, Sonoma County Public Safety officials’ ability to reach you using traditional alert and warning tools may be limited. Public safety vehicles are outfitted with Hi/Lo sirens, which offer a different sound than traditional sirens, and will be used to alert residents to evacuate. This European-style, 2-tone siren will only be used in an emergency to alert residents within specific areas of the need to evacuate. If you hear the Hi/Lo, it’s time to go.
Electronics & Appliances
- Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, and electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.
- Please conserve water during a power outage to help reduce the demand on backup power generators that help move water around for essential needs, such as drinking water and water for firefighting.
- Residents with private wells and sewer pumps will need to provide back-up power to supply their systems during an extended outage. More information is available here: srcity.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=697
Stay Connected & Informed
- PG&E has opened two Community Resource Centers offering restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 people. These centers are open 8am-8pm through the duration of the power outage at the following locations:
- Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa
- Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive (opening Thursday, October 10, 2019)
- Community charging stations where residents may charge electronic devices are available at the following locations and times:
- Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, 126 1st Street West, Sonoma from 8am-6pm
- Burton Recreation Center, 7421 Burton Avenue, Rohnert Park from 8am-6pm
- Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
- Monitor news and weather reports if possible.
- For questions about the power shut off, contact Sonoma County 2-1-1. Do not call 911 unless it’s an emergency. Current information is also available at:
- Make sure PG&E has your current contact information. Update your contact information with PG&E information by phone at 1-866-743-6589 and 1-866-743-6589 for assistance in Spanish.