SAN FRANCISCO -- With another round of PG&E power outages looming, residents in affected areas have the advantage of knowing it's coming. With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to prepare for the blackout right now. Seriously - once you're done reading this article, go do these things. You'll be glad you did.
RELATED: List of counties, cities affected by Bay Area, California PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff
Get cash and gasoline: With the power out, stores may not be able to make credit or debit card transactions. Gasoline pumps also require electricity to work - so if the lights are out and you're on "E", you're out of luck.
Put together a "go bag" that includes important documents: While you should already have this in case of an earthquake, the impending power outages (and fires) are another nudge to get your documents together. Consider anything that you'll need to prove your identity or grant access to accounts and services, such as birth certificates or financial documents. And don't forget your medicine - you should have a supply of your essential meds for at least seven days, according to Consumer Reports.
Put one or two bags of water in the freezer: This tip pulls double-duty. By filling several gallon bags of water and sticking them in the freezer, you actually make your freezer more efficient. The added ice will keep the freezer cold for longer - a fully stocked freezer can keep food cold for 48 hours if you don't open the door; a half-stocked freezer will last 24 hours. If the power goes out, you can always transfer the frozen water bags to the fridge to keep that colder longer. And once the water's melted, you have a small store of emergency water.
Learn to open the garage door with no electricity: Don't get trapped if you need to make a getaway. Most garage doors can be opened without electricity by pulling on the red handle that's on the garage door unit. This will disconnect the door from the rail so that you can manually open the door. Some doors also have a key so they can be opened from the outside during a blackout. If you're unsure you can open your garage door, you can always park outside just in case.
For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
What to do right now to prep for a planned power outage
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