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Jun-05-2009 15:24printcomments

A Few Thoughts on Power Outages and Disaster Preparedness

Thunderstorms and lightning cut power in across Pacific NW: FEMA offers preparedness tips for when the lights go out.

Lightning at night

(SEATTLE, Wash.) - Last night, a massive line of thunderstorms struck across the Pacific Northwest, knocking out power in over 100 communities across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. But all power outages can cause a number of safety concerns as residents seek to light, heat, cool or power their homes from alternative sources, and emergency management officials urge residents to exercise caution. “Our region is prone to natural disasters ranging from windstorms and lightning strikes, to seasonal flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and even volcanic activity,” said FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger. “Power grids, generating plants, transformer stations, power poles and even buried cables are vulnerable. As we all review our family disaster plans and disaster kits, emergency power needs can rank right up with food, water, first aid kits and shelter, but we need to be careful!” When the power fails, resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information—that’s what your battery-powered radio is for. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage. Turn off electric appliances to protect against power surges when power is restored. Turn off all lights but one (to alert you when power resumes). Plan on cell phones or corded phones for emergency calls—cordless phones require electricity. Keep your car fuel tank at least half-full (gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps). Candles can be dangerous fire hazards. Flashlights and electric lanterns are safer by far. Battery operated radios and clocks are other essentials, along with a supply of fresh batteries. If electric wheel chairs or electric life support devices are part of the equation, consider extra battery packs or a prearranged agreement from local police or fire stations for priority support. Never use a portable generator in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately. Install home Carbon Monoxide alarms that have battery back-up. Store fuel safely. When the power comes back on, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate problems that could occur if there’s a sharp increase in demand. If you think that electric power has been restored to your area but your home is still without power, call your local power company. Source: Federal Emergency Management System

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Anonymous June 7, 2009 8:40 am (Pacific time)

A.B.: It is Congress who must act, NOT President O. alone. He can shape, guide and support essential action, but representative government, at least in theory, demands their action, hearing YOUR voice. SO let that voice be heard, per your link et al, but do not expect Presiden O. on his own to overcome 100-deep lush dollar-dealing lobbyists for private interests deep into profit uber alles... FCC grants licenses to all radio stations on public service basis, requiring proof of that outcome for extension, via reports from the stations and others. Few radio stations possess and use standby power, thus vulnerable to attack on power grid or other similar, and to wild/weather vulnerabilities. Economy now forcing staff cuts on all, so some rip-read all weather from wire, do NOT carry out full obligation to check with authorities, do NOT bring on-air in person or via phone those who can best tell all what's coming. Pressure on performers now on air surely also part of the needed picture here. Check for yourselves re FCC actions on your bes-used air outlet for your own protection and continued safety. "Voices"there may have more real impact than at any other level, esp. if tie to ad-$$$ happens to be implied...

antone braga June 6, 2009 2:14 am (Pacific time)

Held to account? I don't have all the answers, but I do have this one on disaster preparedness/recovery: A letter pertaining to disaster (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, fire, etc.) has been sent to President Obama on behalf of all insurance policyholders. As a matter of transparency on the record of insurance consumer protection, any response by President Obama will be posted on the following Website for review: Qui potest et debet vetare, jubet: (Law Maxim) HE WHO CAN AND OUGHT TO FORBID A THING [IF HE DO NOT FORBID IT] DIRECTS IT

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