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How to weather a storm

Local utilities are banding together to get the word out on how you can weather a storm.

  • Assemble an emergency kit with a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, bottled water and three days of non-perishable food and drinking water. Store a kit at home, work and in your car.
  • If you encounter a downed power line, stay well away from the line or anything it may be touching. Immediately report the location of fallen wires to PSE by calling 1-888-225-5773 or Seattle City Light by calling (206) 684-7400, or call 911.
  • Do not use charcoal or a gas grill to cook indoors. Both can cause a buildup of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
  • If using an emergency generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only use the generator outdoors.
  • Turn off lights and unplug all appliances and sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers, to prevent an overload on your circuits when electric service is restored. Leave one light on to let you know when service returns.
  • Make sure the battery in your smoke detector is fresh. Test the smoke detector to make sure it’s working.

Customer energy efficiency tips to prepare for winter:

  • Seal up leaky drafts around doors and windows with weather-stripping, caulking, and door sweeps. Also seal up any leaks or gaps in furnace ducts that extend through unheated basements or crawl spaces.
  • Reduce air leaks by repairing broken windows and using inexpensive weather-stripping around entry doors.
  • Insulate attics, outside walls and floors over crawlspaces.
  • Have the furnace inspected and serviced to make sure it is in proper working order.
  • Clean or replace the furnace air filters at least every two months during the heating season. The furnace will run more efficiently and use less energy.
  • Set the thermostat at the coolest level you can without making your rooms uncomfortable. For most homes, the heating bill drops by about 2 percent for every 1 degree the thermostat is lowered.
  • Lower the thermostat at bedtime or while away during the day. Setting the thermostat to 58 degrees while asleep can cut a natural-gas bill by up to 7 percent.