Staying Safe in Severe Weather

Staying Safe in Severe Weather

Aug 04, 2014

SRHD Reminds Residents to Stay Safe During Severe Weather and Power Outages

For more information, contact Kim Papich (509) 324-1539 or 

SPOKANE, Wash. – Aug. 2, 2014 – In the aftermath of July's severe weather and fire outbreaks, Spokane Regional Health District is again asking residents to take the time now to ensure they are prepared for potential severe weather and wildfires in August.

For residents who may lose electrical power, here are several tips:

When the lights go out

  • Call your utility. Don't expect that others in your neighborhood have already called. Due to the severity of some of the damage, some areas may be without power for several days. Your utility can provide you with the most up-to-date information on when to expect power to be restored.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.
  • Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. A cellular phone or corded phone on a landline will work. Remember a cordless phone won’t work without electricity.
  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment. After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
  • Only use a flashlight or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.  Food can stay cold for a couple of hours if the doors remain closed. For longer outages, plan to place refrigerator and freezer items in coolers with ice. If in doubt, throw it out. The state Department of Health has more information on food safety.
  • If you are going to use a generator, do not run it 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 a home's electrical system. Generators also should not be run near any open windows or other areas where carbon monoxide may travel into the home such as air vents.   

Driving during a power outage

  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If traffic lights are out, treat all intersections as four-way stops. It’s required by law for safety.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.

Downed power lines

  • Don’t touch or get near any fallen lines.
  • Stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.
  • Notify the utility company.
  • Never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.

More emergency preparedness information can be found on the health district’s site at The site also offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.