East County News Service
Nov. 25, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Stock up on coolers to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers chilled. Due to a Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified approximately 2,700 customers in the communities of Alpine, Campo Reservation, Crestwood, Descanso, Julian, La Posta Reservation, Manzanita Reservation, Pala, Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel Reservation, Valley Center and Viejas Reservation, that it may have to turn off power to reduce wildfire risk beginning early Friday morning.
“The last thing we want to be telling any of our customers right now is that we may have to shut off power given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the ongoing COVID pandemic,” said SDG&E’s Chief Customer Officer Scott Crider. “Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a last resort to prevent wildfires, and our employees are dedicated to doing everything we can to minimize impacts should it come to that. We’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates, but in an abundance of caution we have reached out to our customers so they can be prepared.”
Several hundred SDG&E linemen, troubleshooters and support personnel will be working on Thanksgiving Day and through the holiday weekend to ensure that power can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible, should safety power shutoffs occur.
The Red Flag Warning will be in effect 9 p.m. Thursday through 9 a.m. Saturday for San Diego County inland valleys and mountains. Moderate strength Santa Ana winds are expected in typically wind prone, isolated pockets of the backcountry. The strongest winds are forecasted to arrive on Friday, and the weather would likely remain breezy through Saturday. In preparation, SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center to monitor conditions 24/7 and has organized personnel and pre-staged materials and equipment for response.
A list of areas at risk of PSPS, along with information on Community Resource Centers that may be available in affected areas, can be found at sdge.com/ready. SDG&E will continue to provide customers with updates via phone, text messages, email, social media, sdge.com, and the Alerts by SDG&E mobile app. Customers who are notified should be prepared to make alternative arrangements for holiday celebrations and have emergency resources at hand to keep their family, pets and livestock safe.
Food Safety Tips (adapted from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration):
- Ahead of time, purchase or make ice cubes, and freeze gel packs. Check out local sources for dry ice and block ice, in case it should be needed.
- Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately. This helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
- Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.
- If at any point, food was above 40º F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 º F) — discard it.
- Once power is restored, check the appliance thermometer. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
- When the power comes back on, check the temperature in the refrigerator or of the food. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, eggs, or leftovers) that has been at refrigerator temperatures above 40°F for 4 hours or more. Perishable foods with temperatures that are 45°F or below (measured with a food thermometer) should be safe but should be cooked and consumed as soon as possible.
For information about SDG&E’s wildfire safety program and its ongoing efforts to leverage the latest technologies to minimize risk and reduce customer impact, visit sdge.com/wildfiresafety.
If outages occur, you can check the outage map at SDGE.com for estimated power restoration times.