Utility company awards American Red Cross funds for educational programs

Grant helps people prepare for emergencies

BAKERSFIELD - PG&E is helping the American Red Cross continue educating people around Kern County. This weekend, the utility company awarded the organization thousands of dollars to fund disaster preparedness programs.

This is the third year PG&E is partnering with the American Red Cross to give people lifesaving tools to help keep them alive.

American Red Cross workers are on a mission to help keep families safe from fire and other disasters.

"We're actually able to go into our at-risk and low income communities and serve them by providing smoke detectors in the home, canvassing homes to ensure they have proper safety information and equipment; and educate people on the tips and easy fixes they can do to prepare for disaster," said Alex Villa, regional preparedness manager for American Red Cross.

PG&E is awarding the group a $175,000 grant, which helps kick off the Prepare Central Valley Campaign, a project aimed at educating people around the community.

"Identify escape routes in case of a home fire, where they would meet if they are not home and are unable to return home so, that way families are aware of the resources and the opportunities should it be a home fire or a large scale disaster in Kern County," he said.

The campaign funds a number preparedness programs and even helps volunteers train inside school classrooms.

"At PG&E safety is our number one priority not only for our customers, but the communities that we serve and like the Red Cross we want to ensure people are educated and have the information they need in case of a disaster," said Kristen Doud of PG&E.

The key to surviving any emergency they say is having a plan that includes evacuation procedures, an emergency kit and regular drills.

"Make sure your plugs are not spliced or you're not using the extension cords for a certain amount of time.  We want to make sure again smoke detectors are into play.  Kitchen wise make sure all gas valves and electricity is all in proper maintenance," said Anthony Romero with the Kern County Fire Department.

The American Red Cross recently launched an app that allows people to sign up for disaster volunteer opportunities in whatever part of the country you live in.

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Click here for more info on the Red Cross App

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