PG&E Supports National Preparedness Month with Important Safety Reminders


Online Poll Finds 20 Percent of Customers Don’t Know How to Manually Open Their Electric Garage Doors

Knowing How to Open Electric Garage Doors During an Emergency Can Save Time and Lives

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- September is National Preparedness Month and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is reminding customers of the importance of garage door safety by practicing for an emergency event or an unexpected outage.

A recent online poll of PG&E customers found that while many customers have mastered opening their garage door during a power outage, 20 percent of respondents admitted that they are unfamiliar with this safety procedure.

“With wildfire season in full swing, it’s important for customers to know how to manually open their electric garage doors. Taking a few minutes now to learn and practice these and other easy safety steps can help you and your family stay safe during an emergency or Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event,” said Aaron Johnson, Vice President in Electric Operations, PG&E.

PG&E recently launched its online Safety Action Center, a one-stop source to ensure that customers are prepared before a wildfire or another emergency. The Safety Action Center includes a helpful video demonstration of how to manually open an electric garage door.

Here are the steps to manually open most garage doors:

  • Place a ladder or chair under the chain that operates the garage door. Look for a cord hanging from a bracket on the chain, usually with a red plastic knob at the bottom. Many times, the cord is located close to the door.
  • Grasp the knob and tug on the cord, which is hooked to a small lever. The lever may be tilted at a 15-degree angle or pointing straight down. The lever is spring-loaded, so pull the cord until the lever locks in the down position. Once it locks down, step off the ladder or chair.
  • Grab the door with both hands and lift it. If the door will not move, pull the cord harder until it locks open. If the door is too heavy for you to lift, ask for assistance.
  • Do not let go of the door once it's off the ground. It is free on the track and it will fall if you let go. Prop the door open using a ladder or have someone hold the door open for you while you drive your car in or out. When you're finished with the door, ease it down by hand.
  • Pull down on the cord hard to lock it in place again after the power comes back on or you find your remote. Pull on the cord and watch as the bracket slips back into the chain bracket, locking the door into the powered carriage. Try the remote. If the door won't open, but the chain is moving, pull on the chain again until the bracket locks. Test and pull the cord again if necessary to lock it.

Here are other garage door safety tips:

  • If you found that the door was too heavy to lift on your own, think through a backup plan in case of an emergency.
    • Keep your car parked outside your garage if there’s a possibility of losing power, such as during a PSPS event.
  • Keep the rollers and chain lubricated on your garage door. It makes the door easier and safer to manually operate.
  • Never pull the bypass cord if the door is stuck in the open position; this will cause the door to fall down with extreme force. Check the springs each month to gauge ease of opening.
  • And then practice, practice, practice.

Johnson added, “At PG&E, we have an emergency plan and we practice our plan, so we urge our customers to do the same, and then practice their plans to be prepared.”

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and


Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company


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