Elderly and Disabled Most at Risk When Power Cutoffs Occur

Power outages are a problem for everyone. Even the most able-bodied are negatively affected when they lose power for a few hours. Let alone days.

But when power goes out for the elderly and disabled, it’s much more challenging. And it gets even worse when outages occur repeatedly.

And that’s exactly what’s been happening in California. Planned power outages by Pacific Gas & Electric have put millions in the dark.

High winds have led the utility to cut power in attempts to avoid fires. But those fires have started and roared out of control regardless.

Nearly 1 Million Evacuated

Last week fire evacuations were given to close to 1 million people.

The able-bodied with family and friends outside the area are able to leave their homes. Although they don’t know if those homes will still be standing when they return.

The poor and those with physical disabilities have a much more difficult time finding a place to stay.

And some who have not been told to evacuate must do so anyway. Because the machines that help them breathe don’t function when power is out.

Counting on Power for Health

Many among those living in Lake County in Northern California are struggling just to cope without power.

One resident needs a CPAP machine to continue breathing while she sleeps. Another was unable to refill her son’s medication.

A number of people in nursing homes tried to bundle up the best they could as temperatures dropped to 45 degrees. One woman had to choose between charging her electric wheelchair and her heart monitor.

Governor Gavin Newsome has been critical of the PG&E power cuts: “What has occurred in the last 48 hours is unacceptable. You’ve got people that can’t even access water or medical supplies.”

Shutdowns ‘Can Be Life and Death’

Senator Mike McGuire agrees. “We need to rethink everything about this shutdown. And how to take care of the most vulnerable in our communities. These shutdowns can be life and death.”

He believes the utility should be required to open its own office of emergency services.

And should create a reliable list of vulnerable California citizens who may need aid in a blackout.

PG&E has a care database. But McGuire said it is “wildly inaccurate and doesn’t do the job to keep the most vulnerable in their service territory safe.”

A Rock and a Hard Place

PG&E intentionally cut power in certain areas in hopes of avoiding wildfires.

Their power lines have been felled by high winds and those lines start fires when they reach the brush below.

The utility finds itself between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t cut power, they run the risk of creating deadly and destructive fires resulting in huge lawsuits.

If they do cut power, they infuriate customers who want and need electricity. Including those dependent upon it for their lives.

Outages More Than Just ‘No Power’

Among the many problems of planned outages are respirators and other medical devices failing to operate.

Food poisonings can occur as well when people eat items from refrigerators no longer cooling.

Those out and about are affected too. When traffic signals don’t operate, automobile accidents increase.

It’s happened elsewhere in the past. During a two-day power outage in New York City in 2003, the mortality rate increased by 28 percent.

No End in Sight

Unlike most cases of extreme weather in which the event comes and goes, California’s problem is not going away. In fact, last week PG&E announced that it would turn off power for the third time this year.

The shutoffs would affect some 1.5 million people in 29 Northern California counties. Some of those people just had their power restored after losing it for several days.

The cuts were in response to the Kincade Fire. It had destroyed 57 homes and damaged another 12. More than 150,000 people were under mandatory evacuations.

One local resident said, this “can’t be the new normal.” But PG&E officials have said that’s exactly what it is.

Are You Ready to Lose Power?

Public Safety Power Shutoffs aren’t going away. As transmission lines age and electricity loads increase, the risk grows that new wildfires will break out.

And while Californians especially need to be prepared for these planned blackouts, it’s also important for those living in areas less affected.

You see, this past year alone, it was reported that 36.7 million Americans had some sort of power outage. Whether it be from natural disasters like wildfires or hurricanes, or even exhaustion on our electrical grid from ACs… the list goes on.

That’s why it’s never been more important to own a generator for when your power goes out.

Our top recommendation is the Patriot Power Generator.

This advanced solar generator can be used to run kitchen appliances. Power your personal or medical devices. Or light up a room with an LED light string… for weeks at a time.

Just see how its helped AJ from California: “I recently got one because of the blackouts in California as the last time our power shut off, I was unable to sleep because I had no way to power my BiPAP machine. For the past two nights I’ve slept like a baby using the 4Patriot Generator. I didn’t even use 1/2 the battery! Well worth it!”

Better yet, this nifty device recharges using only the power of the sun, so you don’t have to worry about gas shortages.

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See this personal solar power system in action

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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