Red Cross urges preparedness after windstorm, earthquake

November 16, 2010

By Staff

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NEW — 12:20 p.m. Nov. 16, 2010

After a windstorm Monday night and a magnitude 4.2 earthquake Tuesday morning, the local Red Cross chapter reminds residents to take steps to prepare for severe weather and other emergencies.

“The windstorm and earthquake are good reminders that some basic preparation and common-sense safety tips will help ensure safety during disasters like these,” Susan Pelaez, director of preparedness and community engagement for the local Red Cross chapter, said in a statement. “We know that there is more rain forecasted for Wednesday so it is important to prepare now. This is also a good time to make sure that you have your disaster kit in place.”

The windstorm caused power outages throughout the Puget Sound region. The earthquake rattled Lewis County just before 8 a.m.

Red Cross emergency planners offer tips for preparing for high winds and possible power outages.

To prepare for high winds:

  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trashcans, hanging plants and anything else that could be picked up by wind and become a projectile.
  • During the storm, draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by wind, the shades should prevent glass from shattering into your home.

To stay safe during a power outage:

  • Assemble essential supplies, including: flashlight, batteries, portable radio, at least one gallon of water, and a small supply of food. Learn more about making or purchasing a disaster kit here.
  • Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 911 for information — only call to report a life-threatening emergency.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to the home electrical system.
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out. Leave one light on so you know when the power comes back on.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First, use perishable food from the refrigerator. A closed refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours.
  • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept inside a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If you are unsure about your medication, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Stay focused on the risks of smoke and carbon monoxide. Buy a carbon monoxide detector. They are available at most hardware stores. If you have one, check the battery to make sure it is working. If the alarm sounds, head outside to fresh air. Contact the fire department before you go back inside your home.
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