“It is important for people to be ready and for neighbors to help each other.”
—Sonoma City Manager Cathy Capriola
Just as we begin thinking about the fires of two years ago, a red flag warning – and impending power shutoff – snaps us back to the present.
The strong winds beginning tonight, and subsequent public safety power shutoff, could result in an outage lasting into the weekend, as PG&E must check all its lines for breaks before turning power back on. That means schools and businesses are likely to remain closed for several days as of midnight tonight.
It’s an annoyance, to be sure, but everyone agrees it’s better than the alternative. No one wants to relive the events of two years ago.
“I never saw our Sonoma Valley community so connected as it was after the fires.”
—SEC Executive Director Richard Dale
Yet there’s one aspect of two years ago we do want to relive: the way our community came together in adversity, forging new bonds and new friendships. We saw neighbors who rarely spoke before getting to know each other, sharing food and supplies and stories and helping out in myriad ways. Even within families, connections were made or remade as people of all ages set aside their busy lives (and their devices) to spend more time – out of necessity – together.
That’s our wish for the people of Sonoma Valley in the coming days: May we all come together, as a community, and strengthen the bonds between us, as we did two years ago. Have an evening block party, perhaps, or enjoy a family board game by candlelight. There may be no better way to acknowledge the fires of October 2017.
The first order of business in the coming days is to stay safe! This should be easy to do with proper preparation. The County of Sonoma has a useful emergency page at socoemergency.org, and a map of outages is available here. The City of Sonoma also offers preparation information at sonomacity.org/extended-power-outages, and PG&E has online information at pgepsps.com.
In addition, below are a few tips from us. We wish everyone a safe and stress-free week ahead!
- Set aside important supplies: water, food, fuel, lamps or flashlights with extra batteries, a phone charger for your car, a first aid kit, pet food and pet carriers, some extra cash
- If you live in a rural area, have at least two escape routes planned, and make sure everyone knows them
- Be certain friends and loved ones know where you are, and that children, the elderly and pets are accounted for
- Consider in advance any medical or other needs that require electricity
- If you have a portable generator, learn proper procedure before using it (never run a generator inside a house or garage)