A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

  • Wednesday, September 27, 2023 1:30am
  • Life

By Snohomish County PUD

The sunsets are getting earlier and the temperatures are getting (ever so slightly) cooler, which can only mean one thing: Fall is almost here!

As the leaves change colors, fall also ushers in the unofficial start of what is often the busiest time of the year for us here at the PUD: storm season.

The PUD works all year to prepare for storm season. We monitor National Weather Service briefings, attend (and provide) trainings, stock our warehouses, and trim up to 750 line-miles of vegetation annually to minimize the falling of trees and branches.

We also review and finalize our mutual aid agreements. The PUD has mutual aid agreements with public power utilities across the Pacific Northwest. These agreements allow us to access assistance from other utilities when we’re impacted by major winter storms, allowing us to get power back more quickly for customers. The PUD received assistance from utilities across Oregon and Washington during the major windstorm we experienced last November.

As part of these agreements, we also send help to other utilities when assistance is requested. Hours that are worked are paid for by the utility receiving the assistance. Recent examples of the PUD providing mutual aid include assisting Guam in their recovery after Typhoon Mawar and assisting Willamette Valley utilities restore power after wildfires.

We consider getting ready for storm season a year-round job, but there are ways you and your family can prepare for the upcoming storm season, too. The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit. Items in your kit should be sufficient to get you through a three-to-five day outage, including such items as:

• Non-perishable food

• Blankets and pillows

• Flashlights

• Extra batteries

• First-aid kit

• Bottled water

• Personal hygiene supplies

• Prescription medications

• Games and books for entertainment

• And enough supplies for your pets for three to five days, as well

Once a storm hits, it’s time to jump into action. First off, stay informed: Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, and check local media for updates.

It’s also important to have a backup plan. Designate an out-of-area contact to help with communicating and have an alternate meeting place for your family. If you have special medical needs, consider a backup generator or have another place to stay in case of an extended outage.

While the outage is still going, protect food by keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Never use a gas stove or charcoal grill indoors because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Stay safe: It is never safe to approach a power line that is on the ground. You don’t even have to touch a fallen line to be electrocuted, which can be fatal. Always stay at least 30 feet from the power line and call the PUD immediately, any time of day, at 425-783-1001. If the fallen line is life-threatening – for example, causing a fire, sparking or touching an occupied car – also call 911.

Register for Power Talks

The PUD will host a free Power Talks presentation from noon to 1 p.m. on Nov. 2 to discuss how best to prepare for power outages this storm season. To register, visit snopud.com/powertalks.

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