SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Southern California Edison is closely monitoring the Whittier Fire for any sharp changes that could result in disruption to customers should the fire impact SCE facilities in the region.
SCE is warning customers that transmission lines and power systems will face additional strain due to expected high winds Saturday evening, and customers in the Santa Barbara area could lose power.
The company has added additional staffing and resources to be ready to address any fire-related outages.
SCE is urging Santa Barbara area customers to conserve energy beginning at 4 p.m. through Sunday to relieve some of the additional strain on the SCE system.
If the fire does impact transmission lines, SCE crews will assess the damage and begin repairs as soon as it is safe to do so. The company is already reaching out to critical care customers about potential outages that could impact them.
"If you rely on electrical operated medical equipment in your home, we want you to be prepared to implement your emergency back-up plan if power outages occur," said Southern California Edison in a statement.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind should you experience an outage:
- If you come across any downed wires, stay away and call 911.
- Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights. Check the batteries to make sure they’re fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage. Do not use candles because they pose a significant fire hazard.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using heavy-duty extension cords. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.
- When power is out, traffic signals may be out, so approach those intersections as four-way stops.
Six ways to conserve energy:
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and to 85 degrees or “off” when you are away.
- Give your air conditioner a rest when possible and cool your home with open windows and fans.
- Close your blinds to keep out the afternoon heat.
- Plug home electronics into power strips and turn off power strips when equipment is not in use.
- Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren’t being used.
- Give your appliances a break.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is asking all healthcare providers and individuals who use electrically powered medical equipment to prepare for any potential power outages. Officials recommend making sure back-up batteries are fully charged and back-up oxygen tanks are filled and available.
For healthcare providers with vaccines, a plan should be in place to transfer vaccines to a refrigerator in an area that has power.