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New laws aim to help first responders and healthcare facilities in case of a power shutoff

Gov. Newsom also recently signed 20 other bills related to wildfire prevention
New laws aim to help first responders and healthcare facilities in case of power shutoff
Posted at 5:52 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 21:49:58-04

Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills this week which will help first responders and health facilities prepare for power shutoffs.

Senate Bill 187 will require utility companies to outline protocols in their annual wildfire mitigation plans to decrease the effects of power shutoffs on people with sensitive medical needs.

Senate Bill 560 requires that first responders, health care facilities, and telecommunication providers among others receive notifications prior to a shutoff.

Jessica Bailey, the general manager for Rose Care Group Inc., believes a notice prior to shutoffs is vital to facilities like VistaRosa that don't have a generator on board.

"If the electricity shuts down, our gate automatically opens. We are licensed for 23 residents. We're a dementia compliant facility. We do have people that wander, so with gates open, you can imagine we could have people that wander off into the streets downtown. It's a very dangerous situation," Bailey said.

First responders will receive a 48-hour notice from PG&E and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services prior to a shutoff. Then, an update will go out 24 hours before the outage and then 2-4 hours before the actual shutoff.

The San Luis Obispo Fire Department is just one of the emergency teams that has access to PG&E's weather portal which allows teams to view information on proposed shutoffs.

PG&E says their Public Safety Power Shutoff is designed to keep customers, their families, and communities safe during periods of extreme weather and heightened fire risk.

The bills are among 22 new bills signed by Gov. Newsom this week.

For more information on wildfire prevention click here.