Power safety power shut offs
Last updated 9/8/2021 at 4:43pm
Supervisor Jim Desmond
Power safety power shut offs can wreak havoc on the backcountry, especially on evacuation routes. As we head into fire season, many people will have their power shutoff due to high winds and fire danger.
Back in March, Supervisor Joel Anderson and I presented a Board Letter after hearing about problems associated with PSPS events. This item passed with unanimous support and directed the chief administrative officer to identify gaps in Public Safety Power Shutdown mitigation and opportunities to further reduce the impact on the region.
As part of the effort, a survey was taken that revealed that 73% of those surveyed felt they didn’t have sufficient resources to maintain safety for life, property, and the environment during a PSPS event and 72% felt they were not sufficiently notified that the PSPS event ended. These results are startling, and I believe more can be done to coordinate traffic during PSPS events.
While we have received part of the report, last week, I directed our county administration officer to make sure that streetlights along evacuation routes continue to remain on, especially at night. When power outages occur, the battery backup systems operate the traffic signals with full functionality for the first four hours after which they switch to all red operations for an additional four hours after which the signals become dark. This is not good enough!
I will keep you updated on our efforts to keep our back country safe as we head into fire season. While we can’t stop fires, we can do our best to have a plan and keep people safe.