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Red Cross Urges Preparedness

November 16, 2010

SEATTLE, November 16, 2010 (American Red Cross News Release) ? With last night's wind storm that caused major power outages and the 4.2 earthquake that rattled the south Puget Sound area, the American Red Cross reminds individuals and families to stay safe and be prepared.

"The windstorm and earthquake are good reminders that some basic preparation and common-sense safety tips will help ensure safety during disasters like these," said Susan Pelaez, director of preparedness and community engagement for the Red Cross. "We know that there is more rain forecasted for Wednesday so it is important to prepare now . This is also a good time to make sure that you have your disaster kit in place."

Tips from the Red Cross on preparing for high winds and possible power outages:

Prepare for High Winds

  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs.

  • Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.

  • During the storm, draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

Top Safety Tips for a Power Outage

  • Assemble essential supplies, including: flashlight, batteries, portable radio, at least one gallon of water, and a small supply of food. For more information about building or purchasing a disaster kit go to www.seattleredcross.org.

  • Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage.

  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 9-1-1 for information ? only call to report a life-threatening emergency.

  • Do not run a generator 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.

  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out. Leave one light on so you know when the power comes back on.

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.

  • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.

  • Stay focused on the risks of smoke and carbon monoxide. Buy a carbon monoxide alarm if you do not already have one. They are available at most hardware stores. If you have one, check the battery to make sure it is working. If the alarm sounds: get to fresh air by going outside. Contact the fire department before you go back inside your home.

For more information about disaster education, workplace preparedness and emergency products please contact the Red Cross at www.seattleredcross.org or www.redcrosswashington.org.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information about emergency preparedness or Red Cross Chapters in Washington State, please visit www.redcrosswashington.org.

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