Monday, November 16, 2009

Don’t be Blown Away by Windstorms

Windstorm season is officially here, and already Seattle has seen its share of power outages, rain and high speed winds. Meteorologists are predicting the first major storm of the year to hit Monday morning. Below are six tips for staying safe during a storm, curtsey of King County Fire District #2 in Burien.

  • Stay inside and away from windows.
  • Listen to your local news for emergency advice.
  • If your heating system stops working, use a safe alternative (do NOT use a gas oven, gas range, barbecue, hibachi, or propane heater for indoor heating).
  • If traffic lights are out, treat the intersection as a 4-way stop.
  • Minimize driving to conserve fuel. Gas station pumps do not work during power outages. It is best to keep a full tank of gas in your car when you know a storm is coming.
  • Do not attempt to move downed power lines.

Before a storm hits, take the time to cut diseased and damaged branches from trees around your house. If trees or other vegetation are overgrowing utility lines, do NOT attempt to clear them from around the lines yourself. Call your local utility company. Be sure to secure objects on your property that could be blown away, including your garbage and recycle containers, which might fall over and spread debris.

It is never a bad idea to put together a basic emergency kit as well. Make sure to include:

  • Flashlights, extra batteries and matches.
  • Battery-powered radio and wind-up clock.
  • Canned or dried non-perishable foods and a manual can opener.
  • A safe alternate source of heat plus extra fuel (wood, kerosene).
  • Extra blankets and warm clothes.
  • Bottled drinking water.

Finally, always keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy. Establish an out of area contact that all family members can reach in an emergency, should you get separated. If you lose power or see a utility pole or power line that has fallen or been damaged, call the numbers listed below.

Seattle City Light: 206-684-3000 (7:30 am – 6 pm) or 206-706-0051 (after hours)
Puget Sound Energy: 1-888-225-5773 (24 hours)

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