Skilled nursing providers in Northern California have “stepped up” amid a planned power outage that has affected nearly 60 SNFs.
The Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut down power Wednesday to reduce the risk of wildfires while the area is experiencing high winds. Millions of Northern Californian residents have been affected by the move. Some businesses face total losses of goods and services.
The power outage affected 57 SNFs and 54 intermediate care facilities in Northern California as of Thursday afternoon, according to PG&E.
“They have really stepped up. They got a lot of advance notice and they trained (for this),” Deborah Pacyna, director of public affairs for the California Association of Health Facilities, told McKnight’s.
“We’ve had a number of trainings over the last year and a half, not only preparing our providers, but preparing the counties they are in on best practices for dealing with prolonged power outages,” she added.
Pacyna noted that California nursing facilities are required to have backup generators and a plan for sheltering in place for up to 96 hours. Providers are also required to have plans for vendors, or another party, to restock fuel.
“Every facility has a generator and that generator is used to power emergency lighting, emergency plugs and all of the fire protection devices,” she said.
The organization hasn’t received any reports of nursing facilities struggling to handle the power outage. Pacyna said if providers do find themselves in trouble, however, they should reach out to local authorities, local California Department of Public Safety offices and even their peers.
“It’s always difficult when you have an unusual occurrence and you’re taking care of frail, elderly people, but so far our members have stepped up,” Pacyna said.
LeadingAge California COO Eric Dowdy also said providers should stay “tightly connected” with the Office of Emergency Services and monitor PG&E communications to receive up-to-date information on the outage.
“It’s obviously been impacting several providers, but they’ve been prepared for it,” Dowdy told McKnight’s.
“We’re hoping that it’s not going to be a long-term event. I think we’re going to be in good shape coming into the weekend,” he added.
Power had been restored for some customers as of Thursday. PG&E officials said they hope to fully restore power once the National Weather Service lifts its high-wind red flag warning, the Sacramento Bee reported. Inspections and repairs to fully restore power could take up to five days once that happens.