It never hurts to be prepared especially if you reside in California where summer blackouts are the norm. As California utilities plan intentional blackouts to minimize the chance of wildfires, it’s more important than ever for residents to prepare themselves to go without electrical power, according to the Western Propane Gas Association.

An estimated one in four Californians – 11 million people – currently live in “high risk” wildfire areas, including suburban Southern California and the Bay Area, say officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Officials warn this could be another bad fire season because of excess vegetation that will provide fuel when it dries out this summer, according to a WPGA press release.

Before panicking keep reading to learn how you can prepare in case of a blackouts and fires.

“It is critical for these Californians to review how best to prepare for possible blackouts and fires that could last for weeks,” said Joy Alafia, president of WPGA in the news release. “We would like to remind everyone to follow five key guidelines suggested by the American Red Cross and also consider the need for backup power.”

She said that propane generators offer a safe and environmentally friendly option for homeowners and businesses.

“While backup power may be viewed as a nice convenience, it can be a matter of life and death for countless Californians reliant on such life-support equipment as oxygen ventilators, dialysis machines and heart pumps,” said Alafia in the release.

Propane Generators Have Advantages

Propane generators offer a number of advantages, she said, because propane will not go stale; it also is quieter and is 90 percent cleaner than traditional fuel generators.

Within seconds of an outage, propane generators automatically supply power directly to residential electrical circuit breaker boxes. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage.

Propane generators are also easy to use, and sit outside similar to a central air conditioning unit, WGPA reports.

“Propane fuel continues to play a significant role in helping California meet its low-carbon goals while serving millions of customers with a critical source of clean energy,” Alafia said.

Tips to Keep the Family Safe

The American Red Cross offers these important tips to keep family members safe in case of a summer blackout.

  • To keep your food from spoiling during a power outage, keep on hand:
    • One or more coolers — inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work well.
    • Ice. Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time during a prolonged blackout.
    • A digital quick-response thermometer. With these thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures of food to ensure they are cold enough to use safely.
  • Make sure you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts:
  • Have at least a half tank of gas in your car.
  • Get extra containers and fill them with gas. If power is out for an extended time, gas supply may be limited and lines at service stations long.

California residents might want to review the Red Cross’ generator safety and other tips for blackout preparedness.

Source: Western Propane Gas Association and American Red Cross