Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Please prepare to hunker down

We've had intermittent snow since Sunday.  It's Tuesday already, and many of us are stir crazy.  But the worst is yet to come.  We've had lots of advance notification and tips on how to prepare for a storm tomorrow that could land anywhere from five to twelve inches of snow on the region.  It probably won't stick around long, but it has the capacity to do a lot of damage while it's here.

Searle communications center.
As one of the leaders of both a neighborhood preparedness team and co-chair of the state's financial services coalition, I can tap into the latest breaking information on the snowstorm(s) from my own communications center.  I can say unequivocally that the City of Seattle is doing a great job of keeping its citizens informed.

Here's some practical tips for the next couple of days:

1)  Have food on hand that can be eaten without a lot of preparation.  If you've got an emergency supply kit, then check it to see if anything needs to be replaced at this time while you can still get to the store.

2)  Test all your flashlights and leave them in the most highly trafficked areas.

3) Identify the layers of warm clothing and extra blankets, hats, gloves and coats you'll wear around the house and to sleep.

4) Make sure you keep all your electronic devices fully charged.

5) Check on any neighbors who may have special needs during such a time.

6) Be very careful what you use as a source of heat or power during an outage. As we've noted in several recent blogs, unattended candles are dangerous, as are open flames.  And don't bring gas grills or portable stoves inside your home.  The fumes can kill people.

7) Because the heavy snow tomorrow will be followed by warming weather and rain, be sure to keep an eye on your street drains and clear away the leaves so the drain does not clog and cause flooding.

8) Check with your employer to see if you can plan now to work from home tomorrow.  If you do plan to go to work in the snow, then be sure that your car is equipped with an emergency supply kit and that you are carrying extra clothing and supplies for work in case you have to spend the night in your office.

Finally, don't take unnecessary risks...and don't wait until the last minute to complete this checklist!

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