SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Serving an area that is prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters, emergency preparedness for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and its customers is critically important. PG&E's Emergency Preparedness and Response organization is continuously focused on strengthening the utility's coordination between first responders and the communities we serve when natural disasters strike.
"We know it's just a matter of time before the next big earthquake impacts our region," said Barry Anderson, vice president of emergency preparedness and response for PG&E. "Every day our employees work, train and prepare to face emergencies when they arise, and we encourage our customers to do the same."
As this week marks the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, PG&E reminds customers that first responders may not be able to respond quickly to everyone who needs help during times of crisis. That's why personal preparedness is so important. A wealth of safety and readiness information is available through PG&E's website, at www.pge.com/safetycentral and through the Federal Emergency Management Agency at http://www.ready.gov. PG&E offers the following information to help customers develop a preparedness plan to protect themselves and their families before, during and after an earthquake strikes:
- Have an emergency plan and conduct drills with your family and childcare providers.
- Know how and when to turn off electricity, water and gas at the main switch or valve.
- Have emergency supplies on hand such as a portable radio and flashlights with fresh batteries, bottled water, a first aid kit, blankets, food, alternative cooking fuel, a minimum two week supply of needed medications, and crescent or pipe-type wrenches for turning off gas and water mains if necessary.
- Securely anchor water heaters, heavy appliances and heavy furniture that could topple.
- Keep flammable liquids away from water heaters, furnaces, stoves and other potential ignition sources.
- Know the safe spots in each room, like under a sturdy desk or table. Remember to stay away from windows, mirrors, hanging objects and fireplaces.
- Plan evacuation routes from places where tsunamis present a risk to you and your family (home, school, and workplace). If possible, pick areas 100 feet above sea level or two miles inland. You should be able to reach your safe location on foot within 15 minutes.
- If you are indoors, stay inside. Get under a sturdy desk or table.
- If you are outdoors, get into the open, away from buildings, trees, walls and power lines. Be alert for falling debris.
- If you are driving, pull to the side of the road and stop. Do not park under overpasses, power lines, light posts, trees or signs. Stay in your car until the earthquake is over.
- Check for injuries and ensure that everyone is safe.
- Check for damage. If you smell or hear escaping gas, get everyone outside. Use a phone away from the building to call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 immediately.
- If you smell or hear gas escaping, and are able to do so safely, shut off the gas at the main gas service shutoff valve using a suitable tool like a 12 to 15 inch adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench. The valve is normally located near your gas meter. Do not shut off the valve unless you smell or hear gas escaping.
- Once you shut-off the gas, DO NOT turn it back on. If the gas service shutoff valve is closed, contact PG&E or another qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before the gas service is restored and the appliance pilots are lit.
- If you suspect a gas leak, do not use electrical switches, appliances or telephones, because sparks can ignite gas from broken lines. Do not check for a gas leak with a match or an open flame.
- If the power goes out, unplug major appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on. Keep a light on to let you know when power is restored.
- During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights instead of candles due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lamp shades and small children and never leave them unattended.
- Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep yourself and others away from them. Call 911, and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
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