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PG&E Offers Tips for a Safe Summer and Independence Day Celebration

Release Date: July 01, 2016
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — As the summer heat intensifies and Independence Day approaches, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) encourages customers to consider the surrounding environment while celebrating safely and responsibly.

For campers swimming in the river or boating on the lake during the day and enjoying s'mores around the campfire in the evening, it is even more important to be aware of the increased water and fire hazards this summer.

With more snow melt this year than in recent years thanks to the El Nino winter storms, water enthusiasts need to be aware of colder and higher river and stream flows and take precautions when in or near water.

While the rains were plenty during the winter, they weren't enough to lift California out of its historic drought. According to the United States Drought Monitor (Feb. 2016), more than half of California remains in extreme or exceptional drought conditions. The ongoing drought coupled with bark beetle infestation, has created the state's worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history, fueling an increased wildfire risk.

In an effort to ensure customers stay safe during Independence Day and throughout the summer, PG&E has created a downloadable and mobile-friendly Summer Safety Guide with tips and recommendations for safely navigating the fun recreational activities throughout Northern and Central California, along with other resources for staying safe and cool as temperatures climb.

From the Pit River country in the Cascade Range to the King's River region in the southern Sierra Nevada, PG&E owns more than 160 recreational facilities including 61 campgrounds, day use areas, hiking trails, and fishing and boating accesses.

Found within the guide are the following tips, to help customers be aware of summertime hazards that come with hot, dry weather and certain outdoor activities.

  • Prevent wildfires by following these tips when celebrating with fireworks:
    • Enjoy fireworks away from overhead power lines. Accidental damage to electric lines can cause power outages, fires and serious injuries
    • Never use fireworks near dry grass or flammable materials
    • Keep a bucket of water or a water hose nearby
    • Observe local laws. Contact your local police or fire department to make sure fireworks are allowed in your area
    • An adult should always be present when fireworks are in use
    • Visit Wildfire Safety for a complete list of guidelines
  • Take appropriate safety precautions when recreating in and near water:
    • Every child under 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a moving vessel that is 26 feet or less in length
    • Don't dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause serious injury
    • Don't swim or play near a dam or powerhouse; these areas can have strong underwater currents, sudden water discharges, slippery surfaces and submerged hazards
    • Visit Water Safety Tips for a complete list of guidelines
  • "Look Up and Live!" with these tips for overhead power lines:
    • When making preparations for an Independence Day party at the house, look up before lifting ladders and other long-handled tools, like long aluminum poles used for cleaning a pool, to avoid accidental contact with electric lines
    • Celebrate with helium-filled metallic balloons by making sure they are tied to a weight heavy enough to prevent them from floating into power lines. Do not bundle metallic balloons together. In the first five months of 2016, metallic balloons striking electric lines have caused nearly 180 power outages in PG&E's service area alone, a 14 percent increase over the same period for the previous year
    • If a balloon is caught in a power line, contact PG&E immediately at 800-743-5000 to report the problem. Never attempt to retrieve anything that is on or near a power line
    • Never climb trees growing near or touching overhead power lines
    • Never go near a damaged power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assumed downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Stay away, keep others away and immediately call 911 and PG&E

  • For more information on ways to have fun and stay safe this summer, visit

    About PG&E

    Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and


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