How to Stay Safe and Warm During a Winter Power Outage

In case you haven’t heard, the National Weather Service predicts that the Puget Sound is in for a heavy dose of winter weather this weekend. With a chance of our region experiencing frozen fractals all around, now is the time to prepare in case your neighborhood experiences a power outage.

When outages occur, City Light’s response prioritizes life safety first, followed by emergency services and then by repairs which will bring the largest number of customers back into service.

In the event of widespread outages, repairs can take hours, and significant events can take even days. Here are some tips to help you be prepared and stay safe during a winter outage:

 

  • Report the Outage – If you experience an outage, please report it by calling City Light’s Power Outage Hotline at (206) 684-3000. Remember to give us your name, address, phone number and describe any unusual circumstances that could help us identify the problem. You can also visit the Seattle City Light Outage Map to get updates on restoration work, as well as following City Light’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

 

  • Have Your Phone Ready – Cordless phones will not work without electricity. Have a corded or cell phone available. If your cell phone is your primary phone, make sure it is charged, and you have a phone charger ready. It’s a good idea to keep external batteries charged too.

 

  • Stay Away from Downed Power Lines – Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. If you come across any downed lines, do not approach or touch anything in contact with the wire as it could be energized and live. If you see a downed power line, call 911 or (206) 684-3000. You can also report downed power lines by sharing it through City Light’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

 

  • Keep Warm and Bundle Up – Try to retain as much heat as possible. Close windows, curtains, unused fireplace dampers, and have blankets ready to conserve body heat. Cold weather is especially hard on infants, children and the elderly. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, covering the head, feet and hands.

 

  • Have Your Emergency Kit/Plan Ready – Prepare an emergency kit if you haven’t already. Some ideas to include are a working flashlight, glow-in-the-dark stick lights, wind-up clock, portable radio, manual can opener and mylar blanket. During a major storm, have a plan for locating family members if you are not with them. For more information about emergency kits and plans, please visit: www.takewinterbystorm.org.

 

  • Use Hot Water Sparingly – Most hot water tanks will retain heat for up to 24 to 72 hours.

 

  • Close Your Refrigerator/Freezer – Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to six to 10 hours; a full freezer is safe for up to 2 days. In most cases, food should be safe if refrigerators and freezers remain closed while the power is out. When in doubt, throw it out.

 

  • Unplug Electrical Appliances – If you experience a prolonged outage, be sure to turn off electrical appliances to prevent fires and equipment damage. Some electrical appliances to consider unplugging before a storm hits include computers and televisions.

 

  • Be Cautious with Generators and Grills – Use generators with care during a power outage and always use portable generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never plug a generator into your home circuitry. Instead, plug in appliances directly into the outlets on the generator. When it comes to the grill, do not use barbeques indoors.

 

  • Be Fire Safe – Do not use candles as a light source nor any open flame as a heat source.

 

  • Electric Garage Owners – Know how to use the manual override of your electric garage door if your power goes out.

 

  • Remember Your Pets – Household pets such as cats, dogs, fish and birds may require special care. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

 

  • Life-Support Customers – If you rely on electric life-support machines, make sure you have emergency power and know how to operate it. Make sure your system has an alarm to alert you if the power goes out.

 

If you experience an outage, please report it by calling (206) 684-3000.

Don’t forget to visit the Seattle City Light Outage Map to get updates on restoration work, as well as following us on  Twitter and Facebook.

For more information on how to prepare for this winter’s weather, visit takewinterbystorm.org/.

10 Ways to Prepare for This Week’s Stormy Conditions

In case you’ve missed it, the National Weather Service predicts stormy weather this week in the Puget Sound area. These stormy conditions are expected to begin Tuesday, Oct. 17, and have the potential to last until late in the evening of Thursday, Oct. 19. If your power goes out, please check City Light’s outage map to get regular updates on the outage status.

Image via National Weather Service

Now is the time to take action by creating a plan for you, your family and your property. Here is a short list of tips to be safe and prepared for this week’s storm:

1) Clear out your drains and gutters 

Leaves are still on trees at this point in the fall season. Rain and high winds may cause trees to lose their leaves, and the additional drag created by leaves makes broken branches far more likely.  if you can, prune the trees on your property; less broken branches lead to less outages.

2) Unplug electrical appliances

Be sure to turn off electrical appliances to prevent fires and equipment damage. Some electrical appliances to consider unplugging before a storm hits are computers and televisions; you don’t want to lose files or expensive equipment.

3) Stay away from downed power lines

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. If you come across any downed lines, do not approach or touch anything in contact with the wire, as it could be energized. If you see a downed power line, call 911 or (206) 684-7400. You can also report downed power lines to City Light’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

4) Be cautious with generators and grills

Use generators with care during a power outage and always use portable generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never plug a generator into your home circuitry. Instead, plug in appliances directly into the outlets on the generator. Do not use your charcoal or propane grills indoors.

5) Have your emergency kit and a plan ready

Prepare an emergency kit if you haven’t already. Some ideas to include are a working flashlight, glow-in-the-dark stick lights, wind-up clock, portable radio, manual can opener and mylar blanket. During a major storm, have a plan for locating family members in case you are not with them.
(For more information about emergency kits and plans, please visit: www.takewinterbystorm.org.)

6) Keep your phone ready

Cordless phones will not work without electricity. Have a corded or cell phone available. If your cell phone is your primary phone, make sure it is charged and you have a phone charger ready. Now is a good time to charge up your external batteries, too.

7) Prepare your life-support systems

If you rely on electric life-support machines, make sure you have emergency power and know how to operate it. Make sure your system has an alarm to alert you if the power goes out.

8) Remember the rules of the road

In the event you encounter an intersection with a dark or flashing signal, treat the intersection as an all-way stop.

9) Close your refrigerator/freezer

Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to six to 10 hours; a full freezer up to two days. In most cases, food should be safe if refrigerators and freezers remain closed while the power is out. When in doubt, throw it out.

10) Remember Your Pets!

Household pets such as cats, dogs, fish and birds may require special care. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

 


 

If you experience an outage, please report it by calling (206) 684-3000.

Don’t forget to visit the Seattle City Light Outage Map to get updates on restoration work, as well as following us on  Twitter and Facebook.

For more information on how to prepare for this winter’s weather, visit takewinterbystorm.org/.