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Dec-19-2008 12:18printcomments

Pacific Power Prepares Major for Weekend Storm

Pacific Power prepares for likely wind, ice event. Customers also should take precautions as latest storm could cause widespread outages.

Oregon State Trooper last week near Portland where a vehicle had left the roadway due to snow and ice
Oregon State Trooper last week near Portland where a vehicle had left the roadway due to snow and ice. Photo: OSP

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - With weather forecasters predicting a major weekend storm combining snow, wind and freezing rain that could cause weather-related power outages in western Oregon, Pacific Power is pre-positioning extra work crews to help speed up power restoration if it becomes necessary.

"With our ongoing commitment to safety and our crews' hard work, we've been very fortunate so far in dealing with winter storms and making quick repairs whenever necessary," said Pacific Power President Pat Reiten.

"However, with the weekend forecast calling for a heavy mixture of ice and strong winds, in addition to snow, it's only prudent and proper that we marshal these extra resources on behalf of our customers."

The hardest hit of Pacific Power's service areas are expected to be Northeast Portland and the Hood River area. Pacific Power is immediately deploying additional crews to these areas to handle repair work as well as crews that specialize in tree removal.

At the same time, Pacific Power is monitoring weather reports to see if additional strategic crew deployments will be needed in those areas or other communities the company serves.

Crews already based in the Portland area are staying put as the metro area is the easiest location from which to deploy any crews that may be needed elsewhere in the region. Also, because it is a multi-state utility, Pacific Power can quickly bring in additional crews if needed from other parts of its service area.

"Just as our crews are prepared to respond to outages, we ask our customers to be prepared as well and help us keep their safety and well-being the top priority," Reiten said.

Every home should have an emergency kit that includes the following:
Flashlight
Battery-operated radio and clock
Extra batteries
Non-perishable foods
Manual can opener
Bottled water
Blankets

If a power outage occurs, Pacific Power encourages customers to first check fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, the customer should report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-LITES OUT (1-877-548-3768).

To ease the inconvenience of power outages and assist crews in restoring power, Pacific Power suggests the following tips and safety precautions:


• Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.

• Call and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-LITES OUT (1-877-548-3768).

• Candles should never be left unattended or used for extended periods. Use a flashlight or other battery-powered lighting source.

• Use a fireplace or wood stove to keep warm. Pay careful attention to fire hazards.

• Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don't use charcoal in your house or garage.

• Never use a barbecue grill indoors. Cook over sterno cans.

• Don't drive over downed power lines.

• Turn on your porch light switch. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.

• As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers—they will keep food and perishables inside cold for some time if not opened.

• Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat in.

• Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance. Also, check with others who have electricity, to see if you can visit.

• Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won't freeze and crack the pipes.

• Generators should be located outside and far enough away from any occupied space that fumes are not drawn into a dwelling. In positioning a generator, also be mindful of prevailing winds.

• Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don't connect a generator directly to your home's main fuse box or circuit panel. This can create a dangerous backfeed hazard for lines crews. Pacific Power also thanks customers in advance for being patient during an outage and reminds people that the utility makes every attempt to keep outages at a minimum and to restore power safely and quickly.




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.