Planned Power Shutoffs Will Strategically Reduce Danger of Wildfire

This message shared on behalf of the Cow Creek Emergency Preparedness Department.

Our local power providers have plans (Public Safety Power Shutoffs) to strategically de-energize powerlines and power grid systems in order to prevent accidental fires if electrical lines are threatened during extreme heat events and red flag warning periods. In the event of such a planned shutoff, both Douglas Electric and Pacific Power will attempt to notify customers and stakeholders of the scheduled downtime, allowing folks to prepare for the outage.

In addition to planned shutoffs, we may also experience more frequent power failures due to increased sensitivity settings on power lines, which cause the lines to automatically de-energize if a short-circuit is detected. These short-circuits could be due to a downed powerline, a tree limb across the lines, or an animal on a powerline. Once the lines are de-energized, crews have to investigate the suspected failure site and confirm it is safe to re-energize the system. Once confirmed, they can turn the power back on.

Both Douglas Electric and Pacific Power have comprehensive websites regarding their emergency plans, services, and situational awareness. More importantly, the sites have a portal to allow those in their service area to sign up for emergency alerts and updates. Please take a moment to access your provider’s site – Douglas Electric ( – Pacific Power ( – and ensure that your contact information is current so you can receive this important information.

Finally, here are some guidelines to help you cope with power outages:

  • Make sure you have alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as portable chargers or power banks. Have flashlights for every household member. Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last. If you have a backup generator, make sure it is ready to operate safely, and never use it indoors. For more information on generator safety, see these guidelines from FEMA:
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges. Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. If you are in doubt, monitor temperatures with a thermometer and throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher. Maintain a few days’ supply of nonperishable food and water.
  • If you rely on electricity for any medical needs, make a power outage plan for medical devices or refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has great information on medical device safety during a natural disaster here:…/fda-offers-tips-about-medical…
  • Have a family emergency plan ( in place and identify the unique needs of your family and loved ones in the area of the emergency. Be sure to include the elderly and young or those who are risk for overheating. Designate an emergency meeting location.

Please remember to stay cool and hydrate during these extreme heat events.