With reports of up to 7 inches of snow in the Seattle area over the next two days, here are some tips from the Seattle Times to keep you and your loved ones safe:
If You Have to Drive
• Before leaving home, check traffic and weather reports on TV, radio or websites. Statewide travel alerts and road conditions: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/
• Clear snow and ice from car surfaces before driving. Snow on the hood can blow toward the windshield and block your view.
• Keep safety equipment, spare parts and food and water in the car. Keep your cellphone fully charged.
• Keep your fuel tank at least half full. Make sure your wiper-fluid reservoir isn’t running low.
If the Power Goes Out:
• Have a power-outage kit that includes flashlights and batteries, glow-in-the-dark sticks, a lantern, matches, a windup clock, a portable radio, a Mylar blanket and a can opener.
• Never burn charcoal indoors. Charcoal produces toxic fumes that can kill quickly. Use this multi-language page to help warn your neighbors: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2008/12/24/2008557767.pdf
• Close your curtains and blinds to keep the heat in and prevent drafts.
• Use hot water sparingly.
• Turn off most electrical devices, and unplug sensitive electrical equipment. Leave a light switched on, however, so you’ll know when the power returns.
• Never handle or approach a downed power line.
If Your Pipes Freeze:
• Call a licensed plumber if your pipes freeze. If you locate the frozen section of pipe and try to thaw it yourself, take the following precautions to protect yourself and your property:
• Do not use an open flame. You risk setting your property on fire, and overheating one area can cause the pipe to burst.
• Place a warm towel or rag around the pipe.
• Make sure you know the location of your master shut-off valve. The frozen pipe already may be broken and, when the water is thawed, it will leak. In this case you will need to shut off the water in your home or business until the leaky pipe is fixed.