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Helping Customers Prepare: We Gave a Real Family 10 Minutes to Pack and Evacuate Ahead of a Simulated Emergency. Here’s What They Learned.

PG&E Teams Up with Placer Hills Fire Department for Simulation Drill—Part of National Preparedness Month Public Education Efforts

Are you ready for the next emergency?

As part of its public education efforts during National Preparedness Month in September, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) teamed up with the Placer Hills Fire Department to put one local family to the test.

In a video released today on PG&E’s Safety Action Center website, the Sierra foothills family is put through a simulated wildfire evacuation to demonstrate how being prepared can help bring calm to the chaos.

“You think you’re ready, but are you? It’s scary,” said Michelle Childers of Foresthill, who participated in the disaster readiness drill with her husband Justin and their two children.

PG&E is urging all of the customers and communities it serves to assess how prepared your family, home and community are for a natural disaster or other emergency, and to take action to be ready.

In addition to the new video, PG&E’s Safety Action Center puts valuable resources at your fingertips. You can:

‘This Was Eye-Opening’

For the Childers family, firefighters gave them just 10 minutes to get what they would need, as is often the case in a real evacuation, and leave their home.

“My first instinct was birth certificates, passports, IDs, keys, wallets, because those are the things we’re going to need immediately (if evacuated) to get a hotel, to rebuild. My second initial response was mementos, pictures,” said Justin.

“I’ve never experienced this, I know what I was thinking, but I paused,” said an emotional Michelle, describing the first seconds after the knock at the door. “I got a couple of changes of clothes for each of us, got some snacks that I know the kids would eat, and some mementos.”

While the family did not have go-bags ready during the drill, they grabbed essentials: important documents, changes of clothes and some food.

“I thought they did a really good job,” said Battalion Chief Matt Slusher with the Placer Hills Fire Department. “They worked well together. But what if one of you was not home at the time of an evacuation. What would you prioritize? For example the kids, if you had to be away for 72 hours, their homework, the things that are important to them because their lives are going to be turned upside down, how do you maintain a level of normalcy.”

“I was motionless,” said Michelle, who is an elementary school teacher. “You need to have a go-bag, container with food and water for 72 hours. This was eye-opening.”

“We really appreciate the Childers family and the Placer Hills Fire Department participating in this life-like emergency drill. It’s a great reminder for all of us to plan what we would do in any kind of natural disaster or other emergency, and also to practice how we would respond. It’s muscle memory. You have to practice it to perfect it,” said Joe Wilson, PG&E’s Vice President, North Valley & Sierra Region.

How Customers Can Prepare

Here are some simple guidelines to prepare for an emergency.

  • Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, first-aid supplies and cash. Keep face masks and hand sanitizer in your emergency kit.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep printed copies of emergency numbers.
  • Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
  • Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets.
  • Update your contact information online or by calling PG&E at 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours so you can receive Public Safety Power Shutoff alerts.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and




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