Are you ready for whatever stormy conditions Mother Nature may bring to the Pacific Northwest in the coming months? That was the challenge recently posed to Andrew Brown and his family by Seattle City Light, Snohomish PUD and the other partners in the annual Take Winter By Storm campaign. The Brown family was given one week to pull together all of the essential items needed to weather an extended power outage.
“We tried to make it a fun activity so our kids could get involved and learn a bit about being prepared for fierce winter weather,” Brown said. “It was timely since some of the items we had on hand, including a burst water jug, needed to be replaced.”
Emergency responders and utility officials reviewed the Brown family’s preparations, including what they did well and how they could improve. The team was led by JoAnn Jordan, public education coordinator for the City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management.
“They did an exceptional job assembling the types of things we all need during long winter storms – flashlights, batteries, blankets, food and water,” Jordan said. “Too many of us wait until the last minute and get caught in the rush to stock up when supplies may be limited. And there are simple things that are easy to miss, like having some extra cash in small bills available, making sure cell phones are fully charged and that having easy-to-prepare meals available when the power is out.”
During the check of the Brown home on a hillside above the Snohomish Valley, crews from Seattle City Light and Snohomish County PUD also called out ways they’re prepared to get out quickly and restore power during storms. Trucks are fully stocked with necessary tools and equipment, line crews have extra warm clothing, glove warmers and safety markers for work zones. Utilities also monitor multiple weather services as storms develop and set up contract crews and mutual aid agreements with other utilities to assist with major storms.
The message that the utilities have repeatedly reinforced is that they’re doing everything they can to be prepared to restore power quickly, and they want your family to be prepared too so you’re safe and comfortable this winter season.
The Take Winter By Storm campaign is a collaborative, public-private effort spanning Western Washington that includes Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities, Snohomish County Public Utility District, the cities of Bellevue and Seattle, State Farm, National Weather Service/NOAA, and other local retailers – which represent Washington state’s largest counties and city emergency management offices and utilities, the leading insurer of homes and automobiles, weather forecasters, first responders during disaster occurrences and local businesses. These organizations have joined forces in the major multi-media public awareness campaign to raise community awareness of hazardous weather and help protect lives and property.