Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Significant wind storm forecast, prepare now

The National Weather Service has issued a "Special Weather Statement" for potential gale force winds in Western Washington during the day on Friday.

What does that mean for us? Potential power outages, downed trees, dangerous power lines on roads, potential for flooding.

Here are two important things to remember:
  • Stay away from downed power lines —call 911 to report downed lines

  • Only use a generator outdoors —this includes not using in a garage or carport

Just like clockwork, every year when we have a significant windstorm someone in Seattle finds themselves and their family being treated by medics for carbon monoxide poisoning. Don't let that be you or your neighbor.

Here is a useful map that shows where power outages are located in Seattle. (But if you don't have power you likely will not be viewing the website.)

Following the jump are some tips from Seattle City Light and an instructional video on preparing for weather events:

To Prepare

  • Have an emergency kit on hand that includes a flashlight with batteries, glow-in-the-dark stick lights, wind-up clock, portable radio, manual can opener and mylar blanket.
  • Also stock drinking water (one gallon per person per day), dry and canned food, first aid materials, prescribed medications and additional blankets.
  • Know how to manually override your electric garage door.
  • If you live in a secured building, know which exit door to use during an outage.

  • Keep trees around wires trimmed. Wind, snow and ice can depress branches and endanger power lines. During storms, expect "bumps" (momentary outages caused by branches brushing against power lines) and outages. For more information, call 206.386.1902 or visit City Light's Vegetation Management Web page.
  • Unplug sensitive electronic equipment because power surges or outages may be a danger during storms.
  • Customers on life-sustaining equipment should have emergency power backup, know how to operate it and test it regularly. To certify with City Light, call 206.684.3020.
During a Power Outage

  • Dress in layers to conserve body heat.
  • Do not use candles as a light source nor any open flame as a heat source.
  • Do not use charcoal briquettes indoors.
  • Close doors, windows, curtains and unused fireplace dampers to keep heat from escaping.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to keep food fresh. A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to six hours; a full freezer for up to two days. Discard at-risk refrigerated foods that are warmer than 45 degrees F. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Check your home alarm system. Some home alarm systems are triggered by power outages.
  • If used incorrectly, generators pose a significant hazard to both the user and crews attempting to restore power. Never plug them in to feed power to your home circuitry. Instead, plug appliances and fixtures directly into the outlets of the generator. Be sure to use generators in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use hot water sparingly. Most hot water tanks will retain heat for up to 24 hours.
  • Switch electrical appliances off when the power goes out to prevent fires and equipment damage during prolonged outages. Leave one or two lights on to let you know when service is restored.
  • When power is restored, turn on electrical appliances gradually. Sudden heavy consumption can damage the electrical system and extend the outage

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