Be prepared for the next big storm and power outages
April 30, 2009 · Updated 4:14 PM
The Plateau is known for its gusty wind storms. Last week's storm probably won't be the last. The Washington State Emergency Management Division offers these tips for residents when major wind or ice storms cause power interruptions.
for power outages
Register life-sustaining electrical equipment with your utility.
Consider purchasing a small generator or know where to rent one if you use life-sustaining equipment that requires electrical power.
Post the telephone number of the New Construction, Repairs and Power Outage listing of your local utility.
If you own an electric garage door opener, learn how to open it without power.
Prepare a power outage kit. For short outages, consider having glow light sticks, flashlights, battery-powered radio, extra batteries and a wind-up clock on hand.
Make sure you have an alternate heat source and a supply of fuel.
Have a corded or battery-powered phone available (cordless phones do not work without power).
When installing generators, follow the manufacturer's instructions and have it inspected by the utility company and the state electrical inspector.
When the lights go out
Report power outages to your utility company.
Once you report your outage, do not use your telephone or cell phone. Phone lines are needed for emergency use. Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency and need a response from police, fire or emergency medical personnel.
If your house is 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 initial demand and protect the motors from possible low voltage damage.
If you leave home, turn off or unplug heat-producing appliances.
Stay away from downed transmission lines and report them to your utility company.
Unplug computers and other voltage sensitive equipment to protect them against possible surges (even if you have surge protectors) when power is restored.
Conserve water, especially if you are on a well.
Keep doors, windows and draperies closed to retain heat in your home.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If the door remains closed, a fully loaded freezer can keep foods frozen for two days.
Be extremely careful of fire hazards from candles or other flammable light sources.
When using kerosene heaters, gas lanterns or stoves inside the house, maintain ventilation to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes.
Connect lights and appliances directly to a generator, not an existing electrical system.
Leave one light switch in the on position to alert you when service is restored.