Lodi hos­pi­tal can han­dle power ou­tages.

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Cathie An­der­son News-sen­tinel re­porters Oula Miq­bel and Wes Bow­ers con­trib­uted to this re­port.

SACRAMENTO — Health care providers and of­fi­cials around North­ern Cal­i­for­nia said that PG&E’s elec­tri­cal grid shut­down, ex­pected to trig­ger black­outs in 34 of 58 coun­ties on Wed­nes­day, will test on a grand scale whether res­i­dents and med­i­cal care fa­cil­i­ties have done enough to plan­ning for med­i­cal emer­gen­cies.

“We would just go to our back-up gen­er­a­tors. We have four back-up gen­er­a­tors that reach our crit­i­cal sites, which in­cludes the in­ten­sive care unit, oper­at­ing rooms, and our pre­na­tal ser­vices depart­ment,” Lau­ren Nelson, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Man­ager at Ad­ven­tist Health Lodi Me­mo­rial said.

Shel­lie Lima, di­rec­tor of the San Joaquin County Of­fice of Emer­gency Ser­vices, said hos­pi­tals not only have back-up gen­er­a­tors in place to con­tinue of­fer­ing ser­vices to the pub­lic, but they have also eval­u­ated how much power will be needed in the re­sult of a ma­jor out­age prior to an in­ci­dent.

The OES pro­vides emer­gency sup­port to agen­cies and fa­cil­i­ties such as cities, first re­spon­ders and hos­pi­tals in the event of a dis­as­ter, or even black­outs.

Lima said her agency is also pre­pared if a power out­age reaches their of­fice on East Earhart Av­enue in Stock­ton.

“We have a backup gen­er­a­tor that pro­vides power to the build­ing,” she said. “It au­to­mat­i­cally switches on and is gaso­line pow­ered. So we will be able to con­tinue oper­at­ing and pro­vid­ing sup­port ser­vices to those who need it.”

Those ser­vices in­clude pos­si­bly pro­vid­ing power to in­ter­sec­tions or rail­road cross­ings, pro­vid­ing wa­ter to res­i­dents, agen­cies and first re­spon­ders, or set­ting up ser­vice cen­ters and co­or­di­nat­ing them with cities in the county, she said.

“Placer County is ex­pected to be im­pacted by the pub­lic safety power shut­off event,” said Michael Romero, a pro­gram man­ager with that county’s Health & Hu­man Ser­vices Depart­ment. “More than 50,000 me­ters, which could be up to 150,000 res­i­dents, could be im­pacted. Ob­vi­ously, we’re very con­cerned with the im­pact.”

Romero urged res­i­dents to for­mu­late a plan for to en­sure their health needs would be met. That ranges from keep­ing food and wa­ter on hand to en­sur­ing en­sur­ing you know how to man­u­ally open your garage to or­der­ing an ad­di­tional oxy­gen tank for a loved one who’s de­pen­dent on the equip­ment, he said.

“Of­ten, the plan is friends and fam­ily who aren’t in the im­pacted area,” Romero said. “Your best sup­port sys­tem is the sup­port sys­tem you have on a reg­u­lar ba­sis — friends and fam­ily. We en­cour­age peo­ple to have that plan — that friend or fam­ily mem­ber — out­side the im­pacted area that you might have to stay with a few days.”

Health care providers all around the state have been pre­par­ing for the worstcase warn­ings, that they and lo­cal res­i­dents may have to go with­out power for a week.

Early Tues­day morn­ing in Lake County, Ruth Lincoln said that she was feel­ing as though her staff and clients at Hospice Ser­vices of Lake County had got­ten some pretty good news. That’s when she got her first look at a map show­ing lo­cal ad­dresses that fell within the black­out zone. While a num­ber of clients would be af­fected, Lincoln said, the hospice’s cen­tral hub wasn’t and would still be able to serve as a back­stop.

Then came the af­ter­noon up­date, she said, and it was a game changer. The hospice’s hub now was in the black­out area, Lincoln said, and she had to sched­ule a call to re­group with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s health care part­ners.

For­tu­nately, she said, the hospice staff had done work over the last few months to help clients and their fam­i­lies up­date or de­velop emer­gency plans for their house­holds. They spent Tues­day en­sur­ing that clients knew whether their homes were within the an­tic­i­pated black­out zone, triple-check­ing that they had the med­i­ca­tion, equip­ment and al­ter­nate power sources they needed.

“It’s go­ing to be a real test of our emer­gency op­er­a­tions plan be­cause we are spread through the county, pro­vid­ing ser­vices from east to west and north to south all around the perime­ter of Clear Lake,” Lincoln said.

Rene Ham­lin, the devel­op­ment di­rec­tor at El Do­rado County’s Snow­line Hospice, said that be­sides de­vel­op­ing emer­gency plans for clients, hos­pices also must en­sure they know which staff and vol­un­teers will be avail­able to con­tinue of­fer­ing ser­vices be­cause their homes are usu­ally within the same af­fected area as their clients.

They en­sure ar­range­ments are in place for trans­port, and they just might have to try and get ser­vices to new clients de­spite an emer­gency. Three new pa­tients con­tacted Hospice Ser­vices of Lake County to start ser­vice this week, Lincoln said, and her staff is work­ing to en­sure they have what they need amid a black­out that will af­fect doc­tor’s of­fices, phar­ma­cists, med­i­cal equip­ment sup­pli­ers and hos­pi­tals.

MAR­CUS YAM/LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES FILE PHO­TO­GRAPH

Lilli Heart es­caped the Camp fire with her cats, Keeper and Kinde, as she seeks refuge at her friend’s home in Cot­ton­wood on Novem­ber 19, 2018.

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