PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – For people who rely on their power to keep life-saving equipment in their home running, Public Safety Power Shutoffs can be especially stressful. For some, there are now lifelines available for people to count on during extreme fire conditions.
Deborah Kurtti is her sister Valerie's caretaker. Valerie uses a dialysis machine, a CPAP, and an oxygen machine every day. When a Pacific Gas and Electric's power safety shutdowns go into effect, power becomes a big problem in their home.
"We have used a generator in the past, and we're lucky if we get four hours power using propane," Kurtti said.
After scrambling during last year's first preventative power shutdowns, Kurtti found a group called the California Foundation For Independent Living Centers, which was able to lend two massive batteries to her, for as long as she'd like.
The 60 pound, $3,000 batteries make for dependable, and effortless backups.
"It takes less stress off of me, off of her, just to be able to know that she can still breathe at night, she can still get her oxygen at night, she can do her dialysis at night," Kurtti said.
Besides high-end batteries, the Independent Living Centers also help PG&E medical baseline customers with hotel and gas vouchers they can use during power shutoffs. For this family, it's had a powerful impact.
"In the end, her safety and being able to use her medical equipment is the most important to me," Kurtti said.
Deborah and her sister live in Placerville. They have been told they will be allowed to take those batteries with them if they ever needed to move.
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