Taking Action to Keep Communities Safe During Extreme High Wind Event
With our region facing dangerous wildfire risk due to extreme Santa Ana winds, we are concentrating our efforts on preparing for an emergency and protecting public safety. Earlier today, at a media availability held in our Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Senior Vice President of Electric Operations, Dave Geier, announced the extensive emergency preparedness efforts we are undertaking to protect public safety, including:
- 24/7 monitoring—Beginning Monday, we began staffing our EOC round-the-clock to monitor weather conditions and will continue to do so as wind speeds pick up tonight and into Thursday and Friday.
- On standby—We also began staging SDG&E crews in the areas where the winds are forecast to be the strongest. This proactive staging gives us real-time information and will shorten response time if there is an outage.
- Contracting firefighters—Twelve contract wildland fire-suppression trucks with trained firefighting crews are standing by in Alpine, Valley Center, Mt. Empire, Julian and Ramona—where winds are expected to get as high as 80 miles per hour.
- Aircrane returns—Additionally, we brought back the Erikson Aircrane from Nevada for two weeks to help us with aerial support if we need to fight fires. We proactively secured this critical asset to return to our region as it has proven to be successful in the past.
- Generator in Julian—A large generator has also been set up in Julian in the event of a prolonged power outage.
- Collaboration—We continue to work closely with fire agencies and our key safety partners to ensure these safety measures will remain in place throughout the entire Santa Ana Wind event.
Prepare for an Outage
Our focus remains on our highest priority, which is the safety of the public and our employees. With this in mind, we are proactively calling customers who live in areas that are forecast to have the most extreme conditions to alert them of the possibility of power outages related to high winds and reminding them to be prepared to activate their personal emergency plan. So far, we have communicated with 170,000 customers.
We take our responsibility to safely operate the system very seriously. If conditions threaten the integrity of our system, creating an emergency, we will need to turn off the power to protect public safety. Because of the conditions we are experiencing, it is a real possibility that we will have to turn off power for safety for many customers over the next several days.
- Be prepared. Because power outages are more likely during windy conditions, we are encouraging customers to be prepared with flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, and a phone that does not require electricity.
- We are also reminding customers to always be aware of the potential for downed power lines due to the winds. Never touch a downed power line and assume that all electrical lines are energized all the time. Call 9-1-1 or SDG&E to report a downed power line.
- We encourage customers who live in the areas where the high winds are forecast to be strongest to monitor SDG&E’s weather page for real-time updates on conditions at www.sdgeweather.com.