The state of Washington has experienced many violent windstorms in past years, and there is every likelihood they will come again and again. These storms have been known to kill and injure people, destroy homes and businesses, knock out public utilities and leave thousands of people without power anywhere from a few hours to ten or more days.
The following steps will help you prepare for the next windstorm and the power outages that generally accompany them.
Have a disaster plan ; and assemble a disaster supplies kit (include several flashlights, battery powered radio, extra batteries and a wind-up clock).
Anchor outdoor objects that can blow away.
Fill vehicles with gas in case the gas stations lose power.
Register life-sustaining equipment with your utility.
Consider buying a small generator to power electrically powered life-sustaining equipment.
When installing generators, follow the manufacturer's instructions and have it inspected by the utility company and state electrical inspector.
Have a corded telephone available. Cordless phones do not work when the power is out.
Post the phone number of the New Construction, Repairs and Power Outage listing of your local utility.
Learn how to open your electric garage door using the manual override.
Make sure you have an alternate heat source and fuel supply.
Do not drive or go outside in high winds. Avoid windows.
Stay far away from downed power lines.
Report the outage to your local utility, otherwise, use the phone for emergencies only.
If you are the only one without power, check your fuse box or circuit breaker panel. Turn off large appliances before replacing fuses or resetting circuits.
If power is out in the neighborhood, disconnect all electrical heaters and appliances to reduce the initial demand and protect motors from possible low voltage damage.
Connect lights and appliances directly to a generator, not to an existing electrical system.
If you leave home, turn off or unplug heat producing appliances.
Unplug computers and other voltage sensitive equipment to protect them from power surges.
Conserve water, especially if you are on a well.
Keep doors, windows and draperies closed to retain heat.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If doors remain closed, a fully loaded freezer can
keep foods frozen for two days.
Be extremely careful of fire hazards caused by candles or other flammable sources.
When using kerosene heaters, gas lanterns or stoves indoors, maintain ventilation to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes.
Do not use charcoal indoors.
Leave on light switch on to alert you when the power is restored.
Washington State Emergency Management , A Division of Washington Military Department