Seattle City (spot)Light: Jerry Koenig

For Jerry Koenig, it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when” an emergency will strike. As City Light’s Emergency Management Strategic Advisor, Jerry oversees the utility’s emergency management program.

Jerry grew up in Eugene, Oregon. He served 20 years in the United States Air Force under the fire department before being trained for emergency management. He received a degree in Fire Service Administration from Western Oregon University and lives in Mill Creek with his wife of 31 years.

Emergency Management Strategic Advisor Jerry Koenig

“Of all the places I’ve lived, I would say that Alaska has been my favorite. It’s awesome and has so much going on—even in the winter. There’s the Iditarod, the Fur Rondy. When we lived there, we spent a lot of time getting out in the woods…hiking…camping…my son and I even did a 20-mile hike together. It’s just an incredible place.”

“I’m really into history and genealogy. I’ve been researching my family since I was my teenager. I talk a lot with second and third cousins all over the country. I also spend a lot of time at the Central Library which has an excellent genealogy library. If I have some time on my lunch, I’ll disappear and head there. I read and do a lot of research in my downtime.”

“In terms of preparedness, the responsibility for taking care of yourself and your family is on each of us individually. One thing I used to teach the Boy Scouts was that if you’re comfortable, you’re doing it right. If you’re warm, dry, fed and unhurt, you’re doing everything right. It’s the same thing in a disaster. If you’re comfortable, you’re doing it right. If you’ve got a problem because you don’t have power or food, well, that’s something that you need to think through ahead of time. Have an earthquake kit, have plenty of food…plan for water and bathroom facilities which are always going to be a big problem. Are you prepared to live on your own without leaving your house for three days? Seven days?” (FYI: seattle.gov/emergency and ready.gov are excellent resources for emergency preparedness).

“One of my favorite initiatives that I help implement is the utility’s training program for emergency responders. It’s to the point now that, when we have an activation, I don’t tell anyone what to do. Our team goes right into motion, and it’s fantastic to watch. I’m proud of the experience and strength of our team.”

“City Light has amazing people with amazing stories and amazing capabilities. I’ve told people for years—I even told my son this when he graduated from college—it’s not about what you do. It’s about who you’re working with, and if you enjoy the people you’re working with, it doesn’t matter what you do. “

Thank you, Jerry, for your service to our country and for being a part of City Light the past eight years.

 

South Seattle Home Fair

You’re invited to a South Seattle Home Fair on February 11, 2017, hosted by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. This event is your chance to ask questions about your planned remodel and our permitting process, code requirements, and rental housing and tenant assistance program. City staff will also be available to discuss housing, emergency preparedness, energy rebates, landslide awareness, and rain garden information.

Who:
Whether you’re a homeowner, landlord, renter, or potential homeowner, this event has something for you.

When:
Saturday, February 11, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where:
Filipino Community Center
Ballroom & Conference Room #201
5740 ML King Jr Way S
(The Filipino Community Center is ADA accessible.)

Cost:
Free

We will have several staffed information tables in the Ballroom. We will also have three presentations in a conference room on the second floor*:

  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Earthquake Retrofit (protect your home in case of an earthquake)
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. – Landslide Awareness (learn how to prevent landslides on your property)
  • 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. – Rental Housing (learn about new rental housing rules)

 

Information tables will include the following topics:

  • Building Code
  • Building Inspections
  • Building Permits
  • Earthquake Retrofits
  • Electrical Inspections
  • Emergency Communication Hubs
  • Emergency Management
  • Energy Rebates
  • Energy-Saving Tips
  • Housing Information
  • Land Use Rules
  • Landslide Awareness
  • Landlord / Tenant Information
  • Raingardens and Cisterns
  • Rental Housing Rules

 

Other City departments will also be available to answer questions.

  • Office of Emergency Management will provide information on how to prepare your home and family for disasters. This will include information on area hazards, basic preparedness guidance, information on unreinforced masonry buildings, and the City’s alert and notification system, Alert Seattle.
  • The Seattle Hubs table will be staffed by Rainer Beach Ready volunteers who will describe how the Emergency Communications Hubs function, where the Rainier Beach Hub is located and have quick tips and multi-language brochures on how to be prepared and communicate during an emergency, as well as information on establishing new hubs in other South Seattle neighborhoods.
  • Office of Housing, a City department focused on affordable housing programs and policies, will have information about free energy efficiency improvements for your home, home repair loans, help in purchasing your first home, or assistance in finding affordable housing.
  • Seattle Public Utilities will discuss their RainWise program. RainWise provides rebates to cover most or all the cost of installing cisterns and rain gardens. To receive a rebate, you must live in an eligible combined sewer overflow basin. Seattle Public Utilities will help you determine if your property qualifies.
  • Seattle City Light will have information about energy-saving tips, available rebates for your home, and how to buy the right LED bulb and take advantage of in-store instant discounts on LEDs.

For more information about the South Seattle Home Fair, contact:

Moon Callison
(206) 615-1486
moon.callison@seattle.gov

 

*There is a lift to help those who need assistance accessing the second floor.

Seattle City Light Crews Prepare to Take Winter By Storm

Seattle City Light crews demonstrated their preparations for winter storms Monday, while calling on residents to their part by assembling emergency preparedness kits and developing plans for how they will respond when storms arrive.

City Light operators, and crews from line service, vegetation management, overhead service and pole setting participated in a demonstration of the work they do to repair typical storm damage. The event was part of the regional Take Winter By Storm campaign, which is designed to raise awareness of winter storms and better prepare residents to get through them safely.

“Winter storms are part of living in the Pacific Northwest and they often bring power outages from falling branches and trees,” Field Operations Manager Richard Moralez said. “Our crews will work diligently to restore service, but it could be hours or days before everyone has power after a big storm. That’s why it’s so important for people to be prepared to take care of themselves during an outage.”

During large outage events, City Light prioritizes its repair work. The first priority is life safety, such as incidents where electrified wires have fallen on a car. Next are emergency services, such as hospitals. Then, crews will work on the repairs that will bring the most customers back into service and continue working down the list until everyone is back in power.

You can see the outages a typical winter storm can cause and the restoration efforts of City Light crews as they would appear on the utility’s outage map in the video below.

To prepare yourself and your family to get through a power outage safely, build an emergency preparedness kit, have a plan for what you will do and practice that plan. Remember to check your kit’s supplies to make sure they are fresh. When you’re ready, check on family, friends and neighbors to help them get ready too. You can get tips and checklist at www.takewinterbystorm.org.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Are YOU Prepared for Landslides?

-City to host Twitter Q&A about landslide preparedness

Did you know that most landslides occur between the months of October and April? And that 86 percent of landslides are caused to some extent by human activity? Landslide season is upon us and the City of Seattle is urging residents to take preventive measures to protect themselves and their property from possible landslides.

Heavy rains are likely this year for the Pacific Northwest. As the rainfall continues to increase throughout the fall, the threat of landslides will continue to rise in the winter. Experts agree there is no one single factor that contributes to landslides in the area. However, in most cases there are steps that property owners can take to reduce that risk.

With 20,000 Seattle properties, most of which are residential, in landslide-prone areas, DPD encourages property owners to protect themselves from landslides. Learn how by participating in our Twitter Landslide Q&A event.

When:
November 18
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Where:
@SeattleDPD on Twitter
#seattlelandslides

Follow @SeattleDPD for more details in the next couple of weeks.

Our Q&A event will let you talk directly to our landslide expert, and learn simple preventive measures to help you protect yourself from future landslides. Preventive measures include:

  • Checking downspouts; making sure they are functioning and routed to a safe location
  • Inspecting sloped areas for indications of soil movement and erosion
  • Keeping fill and yard waste off slopes
  • Shutting off your sprinkler system and inspecting it seasonally
  • Leaving tree stumps in the ground on slopes
  • Knowing when to seek professional help for hillside projects

Can’t participate in the event? Don’t worry; you can find several helpful resources on our Emergency Management page to help you find out if you’re at risk and how to be prepared.

If a landslide damages your property and you have an immediate concern for your safety, leave the premises and call 9-1-1. If you have a structure that may be affected by or endangered by a landslide, you should contact a geotechnical professional for evaluation.

Crews restore power to most windstorm outage customers

Crews working through Saturday night and Sunday have restored power to all but 803 customers who lost power during the Oct. 25-26 windstorm.

The customers who remain without power are likely connected to smaller side lines. These lines involve fewer buildings and are often the hardest to repair. We estimate that crews will restore these connections late tonight or early into Monday morning.  If your home is not connected, please call 206-684-3000 so that we can restore power.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Cold weather is especially hard on infants, children and the elderly. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, covering the head, feet and hands.
  • Close doors, windows and curtains to keep the heat in. Use your fireplace safely.
  • Use hot water sparingly. Most water heaters are insulated and will keep water hot for up to three days, depending on how much you use.
  • In most cases, food should be safe if refrigerators and freezers remain closed while the power is out. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Stock up on canned and dried foods for a quick and easy meal.
  • Know how to use the manual override of your electric garage door.
  • Know which exit door to use in a secured building.
  • Sometimes alarm systems are triggered when the power goes out. You may wish to make appropriate arrangements with your carrier.
  • Turn off your desk computer.
  • If you see downed lines near you, please do not approach. Stay at least 30 feet away and call 911.

For outage details, please check our outage map at seattle.gov/light/sysstat/