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Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)

During high fire danger conditions, PG&E may pre-emptively turn off power to threatened areas. These actions are called Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

Public safety power shutoffs create a double threat - a potentially multi-day power outage combined with high fire risk. If you live in a fire-prone area such as the Berkeley hills, it is critical to prepare for these events.

Shutoffs may last as long as six days. Once the fire danger has passed, PG&E must inspect all power lines and electrical infrastructure before restoring power. If your power goes out during a PSPS event, be prepared for an extended outage.

Download a copy of our printable safety tips flyer to refer to when the power is off.

Stay informed during a power shutoff

Information about power shutoffs and fire conditions can change quickly. Know how to get information in multiple ways.

Get emergency notifications

Sign up at acalert.org to receive emergency notifications from Berkeley and Alameda County by email, phone, text, and TTY/TDD.

City of Berkeley News

During a shutoff event, we post news at cityofberkeley.info/psps-updates.

1610AM Radio

During a shutoff, we broadcast emergency information and instructions on 1610AM radio.

PG&E updates

PG&E decides when and where to start and end a power shutoff. When a PSPS event is announced or implemented, they will have the most up-to-date information.

Get alerts directly from PG&E:

  • Visit pge.com/psps for the latest updates on shutoff events
  • Update your contact information with PG&E at pge.com/mywildfirealerts
  • Text "ENROLL" to 97633 to get text alerts by zip code
  • Call 877-9000-PGE

Check whether shutoffs will affect you:

Be ready for shutoffs

During a PSPS event, your power could be out for as long as six days. Preparedness is critical.

Have an emergency kit

If affected by a power shutoff, you could be without electricty for as long as six days. Make sure your emergency kit includes:

  • Flashlights: use flashlights, not candles for light during a power outage. Candles create fire risk.
  • Water: you need 1 gallon per person per day
  • Food: include non-perishable items that can be prepared without power
  • Battery operated radio: tune it to 1610AM for Berkeley emergency instructions
  • Batteries: have at least two spare sets in each size you use
  • Pet needs: if you have pets, remember they will need food during the outage too!
  • Backup chargers: for mobile devices
  • Important phone numbers: make sure to print a list in advance
  • Important documents: include copies of ID's, medical records, and pet vaccinations
  • Cash: if possible, put aside $100 cash for an emergency. In a disaster, you may not be able to access an ATM
  • Wildfire evacuation information: have printed copies of our emergency evacuation routes map and wildfire evacuation checklist

Find more information on how to build an emergency kit and download a printable checklist at ready.gov.

Make an evacuation plan

You may need to evacuate during a shutoff. Have a go-bag and know evacuation routes.

See wildfire evacuation for details on how to prepare and print out our wildfire evacuation checklist.

Prepare your home

Know how to manually operate your garage door. When the power is out, your door opener will not work.

Once a shutoff has been announced

  • Check on your neighbors - make sure they know a shutoff is coming and ask if they have a plan. Exchange contact information so you can check on each other once the shutoff starts.
  • Fully charge all electronic devices and backup chargers
  • Fill up your gas tank - most gas pumps will not work in an outage
  • Get cash - ATMs will not work when the power is off
  • Double check your emergency kit. Make sure you have enough food and water. Shutoffs can last up to 6 days

Stay safe during a shutoff

When the power is out, check on your neighbors to make sure they're okay.

Turn off all lights and unplug appliances so they are not damaged when the power returns.

Fire safety

PSPS shutoffs happen during extreme fire conditions. When the power is out, practice these critical fire safety measures:

  • Don't burn anything, including candles
  • Don't idle your car in the hills
  • Don't use any heat producing tools or machines such as lawn mowers
  • If you have a generator, know how to use it safely. See guidelines for safe generator use from the energy.gov.

Evacuate if you feel threatened

If you feel threatened, leave immediately. Do not wait for an evacuation order.

If you see or experience any of the following, consider evacuating on your own:

  • Visible fire in an adjacent home
  • Visible fire in a home close by with strong winds
  • Strong winds carrying smoke or embers through your neighborhood

Report dangerous conditions

Call our 311 Customer Service line at (510) 981-2489 to report any dangerous conditions.

Keep roads and sidewalks clear

Keep roads and sidewalks in the hills clear during a shutoff so that police officers and firefighters can get through.

Don't double park, and don't park:

  • at red curbs
  • in posted tow-away zones
  • in posted no parking areas
  • within 15' of fire hydrants
  • within 15' of fire station driveways

If traffic signals are out, treat intersections as a four-way stop.

Food safety

Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain the cold temperature. If left unopened:

  • A refrigerator keeps food cold for 4 hours
  • A full freezer will keep temperature for about 48 hours
  • A half-full freezer will keep temperature for about 24 hours

Charging and wifi during shutoffs

During a power shutoff, you can get information and charge your devices at Berkeley Public Library locations during regular hours.

Library hours of operation are:

Day Central Library Branch Libraries
Monday 12pm-8pm 10am-6pm
Tuesday 10am-8pm 10am-8pm
Wednesday 10am-6pm 10am-8pm
Thursday 10am-6pm 12pm-8pm
Friday 10am-6pm 10am-6pm
Saturday 10am-6pm 10am-6pm
Sunday 1pm-5pm closed

The Library will also provide 24-hour wifi access outside of buildings during outages.

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Fire Department, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: fire@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-3473
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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