(Eureka)—School sites throughout Humboldt County will no longer be in the dark during local power outage events thanks to a state grant and coordination between the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). Ninety 7,500-watt generators arrived this week and are being supplied to local schools free of charge, paid for through the Public Safety Power Shut-off Grant.
The effort to secure the generators began following PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shut-offs in 2019.. During those power outage events, school districts suffered financial losses associated with spoiled food products and experienced disruptions with school closures.
“The amount of food loss during outages was very expensive in the past,” Stephanie Steffano-Davis, Superintendent of the Southern Humboldt Joint Unified School District in Miranda said. “These generators will allow our district to keep each of our schools’ refrigerators running in the case of power outages. We are grateful for the support and capacity it allows for our community to be more-prepared in case of an emergency.”
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal spearheaded the effort to obtain the generators, recognizing the great impact the power shutoffs had on local schools.
“State funding became available after the Public Safety Power Shutoffs and one of the criteria for the funding was helping schools become resilient during those shutoffs,” Honsal said.
Honsal contacted Dr. Chris Hartley, Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools, who then worked together with Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services Manager Ryan Derby to secure the grant and order the generators.
Dr. Hartley says these generators are especially important for schools in the most rural parts of Humboldt County, which are several miles away from the nearest services and may be impacted by a number of local emergencies requiring backup power. “On behalf of the 31 school districts in the county, I want to express my gratitude for this partnership with Sheriff Honsal and OES. These generators will assist schools sites in our county with the ability to maintain essential functions during PSPS events or any other weather-related power outages,” Dr. Hartley said
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has a long-standing partnership with the Humboldt County Office of Education, the two most recently working together during the COVID-19 Pandemic to facilitate a county-wide emergency response.
“I’m very proud of our partnership with the Office of Education,” Sheriff Honsal said. “This makes the biggest impact; having our schools able to function amid power emergencies.”
Humboldt County schools are scheduled to begin receiving the generators this week.