America celebrates its birthday on Saturday, July 4 th. This Independence Day will be unlike any in the previous 244 years with the COVID-19 pandemic changing how we live, what we do, where we go and how we celebrate in the United States.
But if you're a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customer, what hasn't changed is the need to pay special attention to safety over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer.
That's especially true this year, when the hot temperatures and dry weather combine with the cancellation of public fireworks shows and parades due to COVID-19. The result, according to law enforcement agencies and fire departments throughout Northern and Central California, is many more people are considering doing their own fireworks shows, even in cities where it is illegal to do so.
PG&E values the health and safety of our customers and the communities that we serve. These tips will help you and your family and friends stay safe on July 4 th and throughout the summer:
- Public fireworks shows have been cancelled nearly everywhere, which is prompting people to consider their own fireworks displays. First and foremost, know what the local regulations allow. If fireworks are illegal, don't use them.
- If you live in a place that does allow fireworks, make yourself aware of your surroundings — stay clear of power lines, structures, dry grass or flammable materials when shooting your own legally purchased fireworks in areas approved by local regulations.
- If a firework strikes electric equipment or causes a power line to come down, stay away, keep others away and immediately call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Never attempt to retrieve anything that is tangled in or near a power line.
- Wear a face covering when you are outside. It's now a mandate here in California.
- Maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from those who are not within household.
- Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't readily available.
- Many beaches and parks will be closed due to COVID-19, which means those that remain open could be crowded.
- Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted at beaches or parks you're visiting.
- Make sure everyone has proper skills to swim. Keep an eye on young children and check flotation devices for leaks.
- Every child under 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a moving vessel that is 26 feet or less in length.
- Don't dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause serious injury.
- Don't swim or play near a dam or powerhouse; these areas can have strong underwater currents, sudden water discharges, slippery surfaces and submerged hazards.
- Never use generators, propane heaters, barbeques or charcoal indoors due to carbon monoxide risks.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol or caffeine when temperatures are high.
- During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; or rapid, shallow breathing. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place. Use cold towels to help lower their body temperature until help arrives.
- If your power goes out, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire.
- Customers with generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area.
- Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling.
- Customers can get updates on outages in their neighborhood through a variety of channels:
PG&E reminds customers to update their contact information at www.pge.com/mywildfirealerts.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (PCG) - Get Report, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.
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