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How to Prepare for a Power Outage if You Depend on an Electric Medical Device

As high fire danger brought on by Santa Ana winds raises the possibility Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) in parts of our region, it is important for customers who depend on electric medical devices to have a personal emergency preparedness plan in place.

The safety of vulnerable populations is top of mind for SDG&E, and we make every effort to ensure these customers are prepared and informed ahead of a potential power shutoff.  

If SDG&E turns off power for safety, all customers serviced by an affected power line, including Medical Baseline customers, will have their power shut off. Anyone who has a qualifying medical condition is encouraged to sign up for the Medical Baseline Program so that in addition to getting a discount on their monthly energy bill, they receive extra notifications in advance of power shutoffs.

Medical Baseline and other special energy needs customers who rely on medical technologies such as breathing machines, power wheelchairs and home oxygen or dialysis, should have a plan in place to take care of their needs through an extended power outage.

Five Things You Should Do to Get Ready

Plans will vary based on medical conditions and technologies, but your plan should include the following information and action steps.

  1. A list of emergency phone numbers that is readily available;
  2. A backup location where you can go;
  3. Make sure SDG&E is made aware of the medical devices you use;
  4. Secure a safe backup power source, such as a generator or uninterruptible power supply; and
  5. Establish multiple people you can contact for help who know how to operate your equipment and backup systems.

For additional checklist items specific to different dependent, assistive technologies and medical devices, please check out the Pacific ADA Center’s Emergency Power Planning Checklist.

Extra Outreach to Medical Baseline Customers

SDG&E makes extra efforts to inform Medical Baseline customers who may be affected by safety power shutoffs. We use an automated system to notify customers. If a Medical Baseline customer is not reached via an automated call, a SDG&E representative will make a live call to the customer. If that attempt is unsuccessful, SDG&E will send field personnel to personally knock on doors to ensure the customer receives the message. If no one answers the door, we will leave a door hanger.

SDG&E does not provide transportation and encourages customers to work with any agencies that have been identified in their emergency preparedness plan. We advise all customers to call 911 immediately if they or a family member experience a medical emergency 

Community Resource Centers

If SDG&E anticipates the power to be off for more than 24 hours, Community Resource Centers may be opened in affected areas to provide support to customers. These facilities will be in place for residents to go and get water and snacks, charge their phones, and get up-to-date information on outages. For Community Resource Center location and hours of operation, please visit