How to prepare for power outages during Seattle storms

There’s a good chance you might lose power around Seattle this weekend so have your plan ready

The forecasts keep shifting but there doesn’t seem to be any denying that Seattle and the whole region is in for a very windy, very wet weekend. As of Thursday, high winds are expected to be between 25 and 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph depending on where you live. Those near the coast and mountains are going to get it much more than those in the city, but the chance for power outages and other issues remains high all over.

As such, it’s always good to start formulating your gameplan before a storm like this hits. Better to be prepared than to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have power for 1-2 days and don’t have the supplies needed to make it work. Check out the checklist below and then consider checking the links at the bottom for more information to make sure you’ve got everything sorted for this big storm.

Before The Storm

  • Get an emergency kit that includes, amongst other things, a flashlight, batteries, glow-in-the-dark sticks, a wind-up clock, and mylar blanket.
  • If you rely on a lot of electrical appliances and modern gadgets, consider how you’ll accomplish tasks without them. You might need a manual can opener, portable stove, and matches.
  • Stock up on drinking water. A good rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day (half for drinking, half for cooking/sanitation)
  • Stock up on dry and canned food. Anything that won’t go bad without refrigeration for an extended period.
  • Make sure you know how to override any electric devices in the house, like your garage door opener.
  • If you live in an apartment building, know where your emergency exits are.
  • Take a look around your houses for tree branches that could fall down and damage your property or a person. Consider trimming them if possible.
  • Know where your circuit breaker or fuse box is located and know how to reset it or change a fuse.

During The Storm

  • Unplug electronic equipment that you don’t need, or use a surge protector. Power surges or outages can cause unexpected problems.
  • If you see downed power lines, stay far away and warn others. Call 911 if you can to alert them.

If There’s An Outage

  • Call Seattle City Light at 206.684.7400 to report the outage.
  • Dress in layers, it’s gonna get chilly. Make sure all doors, windows, curtains, and unused fireplace dampers are closed to keep heat inside.
  • Use candles for light but not as heat sources. It won’t do much for you anyway.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. A fridge will maintain safe food temperatures for up to six hours and a full freezer can maintain for up to two days. If you see or feel food that has warmed above 45 degrees, discard it.
  • If you have a generator, do not use it in the house, garage, or carport. Take it outside. Don’t plug them in to your home circuitry either. Plug appliances and fixtures directly into the outlets of the generator.
  • Don’t waste hot water. Your hot water tank can keep water hot (or at least warm) for up to 24 hours.
  • Turn all electronic appliances and fixtures off even if the power is out. This prevents any fires or damage during outages and restarts. Leave one or two lights on so that you know when power is back on.
  • If you can and it’s safe, check on your neighbors. Especially those who are elderly or may have mobility issues.

After The Outage

  • Turn on your electrical appliances gradually. It’s not good if everyone suddenly just turns on everything at once, which could end up starting the outage all over again.
  • Carefully check the property for downed branches and any other damage. Consider checking on neighbors if you haven’t already.
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