BELLEVUE – As many residents can attest, the Dec. 14 windstorm was anything but typical. Hundreds of trees fell, taking power lines down with them, and some 700,000 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power, some for as long as nine days. Were you ready?
Mother Nature is powerful, and hits Washington with earthquakes, windstorms, snowstorms, flooding, wild fire, volcanic eruptions and even tsunamis. Will you be ready the next time?
City departments briefed the Council at a study session Tuesday about the city's response to the windstorm.
We cannot stop disasters, but we can prepare for them. Here are a few tips that will make getting ready for, responding to and recovering from disasters a much smoother process. For more details and useful links, go to the Fire Department Emergency Preparedness Division home page.
The Bellevue Home Repair Program is responding to the storm aftermath to help low- and moderate-income residents who may not be covered by their insurance, by providing them with interest-free loans and grants to repair heating, remove trees and provide other storm-related health and safety repairs. Special information flyers will be mailed to Lake Hills and West Lake Sammamish neighborhoods.
- Create an emergency plan for your family. The plan should be simple and act as a “road map” to guide you through a disaster.
- Build emergency kits for your family to have at home, in the car and at school or work. The kit, to sustain each individual for 72 hours or longer, should include: food, water, a first-aid kit, a small tool kit, seasonal clothing, eye protection, a flashlight with batteries, gloves, sanitary supplies, sleeping bags and extra blankets. Remember to add those special supplies if you have small children and/or you care for someone with special needs. Items for your pets should also be included.
- Have an emergency contact card for an out-of-state friend or relative. Use a pay phone to make the call. Public phones are a part of the emergency services network and are a priority to be restored. Your mobile phone relies on electricity as well as a wireless network that could fail, so is not your best choice.
- Sign up for emergency preparedness training offered by the Bellevue Fire Department's Emergency Preparedness Division. Call (425) 452-7923.
Should a disaster occur:
- Locate your emergency kit and keep it with you, especially if you have to evacuate your home. If your electricity is out for an extended period of time eat the food in the following order: 1) Refrigerated foods; 2) frozen foods; 3) canned foods. Don't risk eating spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out!
- If you use a grill to cook, keep it outside with the backup generator. Grills generate deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- After the disaster, make a list of emergency numbers for assistance with food or housing or other necessities.
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