This afternoon, the City of Sonoma (City) acted to prepare for a shutdown of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power to areas of Sonoma County including the City of Sonoma. PG&E has notified the City and Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority that they will activate their Public Safety Power Shut-Off protocols due to extreme weather and will initiate a power shut down in large areas of Sonoma County including the City of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley. The City is ready to respond to the effects of the power outage; however, the decision to turn off the power and the speed at which it is restored is managed solely by PG&E.
The Power Shutoff is anticipated to start late tonight, October 8, 2019, or early tomorrow morning, October 9, 2019. PG&E indicates it may take up to five days to restore power to all customers.
“We are mobilizing our resources due to the potential power loss and increased fire threat,” says Sonoma City Manager Cathy Capriola. “City services will continue during an extended power outage and we are ready to support our community.” The City opened the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 1:30 PM and has issued a proclamation of an existence of a local emergency.
The City of Sonoma Police Department, Fire Station, and Public Works facilities have permanent generator support and are ready to respond. City water service will continue, even without electricity and portable generators have been secured for City Hall and the Carnegie Building to continue key operations. Sonoma City Hall will be open regular hours 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, including the lunch hour. The availability of individual City staff members may be limited as they may be staffing the City’s Emergency Operations Center during the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff.
The City, in collaboration with the County of Sonoma, will open a Charging Center for the community to plug in and recharge devices at the Sonoma Veteran’s Building located at 126 1st St West beginning Wednesday, October 9, 2019, from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
SVFRA Fire Chief, Steve Akre wants the community to “Rest assured that SVFRA is doing everything we can to be prepared and to be able to respond to any emergencies during the upcoming weather event and potential power shutoff. Public Safety agencies in Sonoma City and County have increased staffing resources including adding engines, ambulances, water tenders and command staffing during this heightened threat.”
Maps of the affected area are available at: pge.com/weather. PG&E is monitoring weather patterns and will provide updates to customers and the City and County of Sonoma when information is available.
The power shutoff is in response to a Red Flag Warning that is in effect for North and East Bay Hills from 5:00 AM Wednesday through 5:00 PM Thursday, October 9, 2019. A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions comprised of strong winds and low relative humidity are either occurring now or will shortly. “We want folks to really pay attention and be as prepared as they can,” says Chief Akre. “Extreme caution is urged by all residents during this time because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.”
Emergency Management officials remind residents and visitors that it is important to have a plan. Take steps to prepare for a power outage, including:
- Sign up for public safety information on Nixle by texting your zip code to 888-777.
- Make sure you can receive updated information from PG&E by updating your contact information at pge.com/mywildfirealerts or call 1-866-743-6589.
- Visit prepareforpowerdown.com to learn more about what California’s largest energy companies are doing to address the threat of wildfire and Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
- Sonoma County Office of Emergency Management will send Alerts to areas if power outages, or evacuations are ordered. Learn more: socoemergency.org
Review your family’s plan for power outages.
- Prepare your emergency kit.
- Make a list of what you’ll want to take with you if you leave your home quickly. Consider the Five P’s of Evacuation: People, Pets, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items.
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
- Reviewing the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
- Using a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
- Identify alternate charging options for keeping mobile phones and other electric equipment charged.
- Know how to manually open electric garage doors and gates.
- Keep vehicle gas tanks full.