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Eastside Fire and Rescue: Get your home, car ready for bad winter weather

Each year, firefighters with Eastside Fire & Rescue get ready for the adverse weather conditions we always experience in the Pacific Northwest.

Crews inspect fire stations inside and out protecting against frozen pipes, inventory supplies used for sidewalks and driveways during periods of snow and ice, and inspect apparatus tire chains in preparation for possible snowstorms.

Like emergency service personnel, the public needs to also prepare their homes and families in advance of any winter storm by following a few tips:

Be prepared

Before cold weather hits, make sure you have a way to heat your home safely during a power outage. Keep a multi-purpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby when using alternative heating sources.

Keep extra blankets on hand with extra batteries, matches, a first aid kit, manual can opener and special needs items (e.g., diapers).

Stock a few days’ supply of water, required medications, and food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked.

Dress in several layers to maintain body heat. If possible, stay indoors. Winter storms can bring down power lines and trees, as we experienced last winter season in our area.

Remember, exposure to cold can cause injury or serious illness such as frostbite or hypothermia. Seniors, children or adults with medical issues can be more vulnerable to these conditions.

Be sure to prepare your car for winter. Cold weather can be tough on batteries.

Make sure your car is equipped with tires that are able to handle tough winter weather.

For most motorists, all-season tires are adequate.

When driving

Make sure windshield wipers and defrosters are in good working order and that washer reservoirs are filled with no freeze windshield washer fluid.

In temperatures at or just above 32 degrees, a thin layer of water can cover the ice, causing extremely slippery conditions. Beware of “black ice”–ice that remains on the roadway that is not in direct sunlight. Use extra caution when driving on bridges; they freeze first because they are surrounded by cold air.

Don’t let frigid temperature tempt you into starting your car in a closed garage. Carbon monoxide from exhaust fumes is almost impossible to detect and can be fatal when breathed in a confined area.

Pay attention. Don’t try to out-drive the conditions. Leave plenty of room for stopping.

Know the current road conditions in your area.

Keep emergency gear in your car for everyday trips: cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, ice scraper, blankets and warning devices (e.g., flares, reflectors).

 

Additional Information Resources

Take Winter By Storm, helping you prepare: http://takewinterbystorm.org

Road Alerts: http://gismpas.kingcounty.gov/roadalert/

Flood Alerts: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/flooding.aspx

Emergency updates are posted on the Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) website at www.rpin.org

National Weather Service - Seattle: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/

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