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Independent Living Center provides batteries for medically vulnerable during power shutdowns

Posted at 4:34 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 10:03:05-04

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Kern County’s Independent Living Center has made an agreement with Aging and Adult Services. The center’s long term services and support manager Jan Lemucchi said they were given fifteen batteries through a grant from PG&E.

"[We] outsource it to the individual in need who happens to need some type of medical or life saving device, such as oxygen, a CPAP machine," said Lemucchi.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved an agreement between the center and Aging and Adult Services. The center will distribute the batteries to senior centers across the county. This way, in the event of a shutdown, those in need can access them even if they’re far away from the center located in Bakersfield.

“It’s very important and needed throughout our Kern county because as large as we are, the battery’s not going to do any good here in Bakersfield if they need it in Kern River Valley," said Lemucchi.

Lemucchi said the batteries are available on a first come, first serve basis, although those on medical baseline with their utility company will have priority. She told 23ABC it’s crucial for the medically vulnerable to plan ahead of time and to let the center know they’ll need a battery if a shutdown happens.

“Maybe they personally know they can’t be off at any time without any electricity so I need to make plans and that way, this way we’re working together. They can get some resources from us," said Lemucchi.

Lemucchi said the center has requested more batteries, and when all batteries have been distributed, the center will place those in need of electricity in housing, like a hotel, free of charge, so they can still access power.

If you’d like to learn more about accessing these batteries, click here.