When the Power Goes Out
What can we do in an outage when someone depends on electricity for their health?
(That essential; device could be a specialized piece of medical equipment - or it could be heat for the house, or a water pump for running water, or refrigerators and stoves for food.)
If power will be out for awhile, it is wise to:
What About Electrical Medical Devices?
Emergency planning for those who need electrical power to run their medical devices can be complicated! There are a lot of questions to ask in advance of an emergency,
Most important: are there alternate models of that equipment available?
Best Practices for Powered Medical Devices
Replacing Medical Devices in an Emergency
If a medical device or durable medical equipment is damaged or lost in a declared emergency, check with the health insurance company to see whether they can expedite a replacement. (People on Medicare, start here to see whether your device is covered)
PG&E's Medical Baseline program offers more advance notice about upcoming power shutoffs, brown-outs, black-outs, and known power outages to people who need electrical medical devices, for those who have sign up in advance. PG&E states that those on the Medical Baseline registry will "receive extra notifications as part of this outreach, which may include additional phone calls or a door-bell ring to ensure they're aware and can prepare to stay safe. It is important that Medical Baseline customers acknowledge receipt of a notification by answering the phone and speaking or replying to the text message."
Plan Ahead to Get Assistance
CA Health & Human Services Agency has a hotline to help medical device users find the resources they need during power outages or rolling blackouts. This is not an emergency hotline. Instead use this phone service to plan ahead when an emergency warning has been announced for your area (whether it's a fire alert, severe weather warning, flood warning, etc.) Chances are when disaster happens, electrical power will go out. The hotline number is (833) 284-3473 . During power shutoffs or potential power shutoffs, hotline assistance will be available 9:00am-9:00pm. Assistance is available in many languages. 711 Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) are available for individuals with hearing or speech related disabilities.
Individuals who have a problem getting the services or assistance that they need from their healthcare system can contact the Department of Managed Health Care’s Help Center at (888) 466-2219 or www.HealthHelp.ca.gov.
During emergency events, California's network of Independent Living Centers (ILCs) "can coordinate emergency preparedness, emergency assistive technology, and transition from temporary shelter" for people with disabilities who have already registered with them. The ILC for Santa Clara County is the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in downtown San José, with a satellite office in Gilroy; for information on how to register, see their website:
The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators or copyright holders.