THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Tropical storm level winds have not only intensified the Easy Fire in Simi Valley, it also led to power outages that threatened the safety of nearby communities, particularly those who are in need of power for electronic medical devices.
Jan uses her electronic nebulizer several times a day. It allows her to breathe properly, due to her COPD lung condition. The power outages in Thousand Oaks have frightened Julie, Jan’s caretaker, and daughter.
“Mom started to do her nebulizer treatment for her COPD and they shut off our electricity, right about 2 thirds of the way through her first treatment,” Julie said.
A lack of power hasn’t stopped Julie’s husband from looking out for his family. Jeff is bringing in an extension cord that he plans on using for Jan’s nebulizer. He is connecting it to a generator through his RV.
“She’s the type of person that these outages definitely affect,” Julie said.
Luckily Jan still has an old battery-powered radio. It has been helping the family keep up to date on the power outages and wildfires.
Jeff also went out to purchase batteries for lanterns. If the power doesn’t return, they will need the light to ensure they are providing Jan with the medical care that she needs.
“Well it is a whole different scenario because we have my mom with us now so there’s a lot more to take. You know we didn’t have medications to take before. So it’s really important that we have everything that she needs,” Julie said.
While keeping the door open for the cord to reach the RV generator is not ideal due to the possibility of smoke reaching Jan’s lungs, it is currently the only way they can ensure survival.
“These wind events used to be a nuisance and that was it. And now they signify time to get ready, time to be prepared,” Julie said.
Julie says the emergency phone alert is appreciated, but not sufficient.
For those facing power outages, especially those who require medical attention, fuel, batteries and generators are the real life lines.