PG&E holds power drill in Fresno County

A power drill was held in Fresno County on Thursday.

PG&E used helicopters in and around the town of Auberry to practice response time in the event of an emergency power shutoff.

Officials with the power company are taking precautionary measures due to the growing threat of wildfires and extreme weather.

Power was not turned off during Thursday's drill - but inspectors spent the day looking at every line from the sky and ground.

Preparing for a natural disaster like a wildfire begins when the elements are perfect.

PG&E calls it a Public Safety Power Shutoff.

Thursday's drill allowed crews to practice their response time during an emergency situation.

"What we're doing today is simulating that the power shutoff happened yesterday, conditions changed overnight and today crews will begin those inspections and we'll do it by helicopter and the ground," said Danny Boyles of PG&E.

In the event of an emergency, helicopters can conduct inspections a little more quickly and get close enough to check the integrity of the power lines, while ground crews are assessing conditions from below.

"They'll have people on the helicopter if they spot a problem that can give the exact coordinates to the ground crews who would go then and do another check and any repairs that are necessary," Boyles said.

PG&E officials spent the day inspecting thousands of poles and a few hundred lines for any breakage and potential threats that could occur during an emergency situation.

"What will happen at the end is everyone will gather and they'll do a report and say these are the inefficiencies I say and these are the good things I saw. One of the keys when you do these kinds of drills is you got to be ready to take that criticism if you haven't done something right and that's why we do it and learn from it."

Thursday's drill was the first of its kind for our area.

PG&E officials would also like to remind customers to update their contact information online in case power needs to be shut off for safety reasons.
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