City of Seattle, WA

01/13/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2021 12:24

What to do when the power goes out.

In the Pacific Northwest, winter storms are unpredictable and can lead to power outages. Staying warm and cooking food during a power outage shouldn't put you at risk. Burning gas, wood or charcoal inside your home will increase your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is an invisible, odorless gas that can cause severe illness or death. Here are a few safety tips to help prepare for when the power goes out:

Prepare

  • Make sure carbon monoxide alarms are installed on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area. Test your CO alarms along with your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Keep an emergency kit ready that includes:
    • flashlight with extra batteries
    • glow-in-the-dark stick lights
    • portable charger for your phone
  • Stock up on:
    • drinking water (one gallon per person per day)
    • warm clothing and blankets
  • Know how to manually override your electric garage door or gateway.
  • If you live in a secured building, know which exit doors to use during an outage.

During the power outage

  • Never touch or approach a downed wire or anything in direct contact with it.
  • Immediately report the outage to your electricity provider (Seattle City Light's phone number for reporting is (206) 684-3000).
  • Do not burn charcoal or use gasoline generators indoors, including the garage.
  • Never use gas ovens to heat your home, even for a short time.
  • Do not use candles as a light source nor any open flame as a heat source.
  • Before using a fireplace or wood stove, make sure that chimneys and flues are in good condition and are not blocked.
  • Move flammable materials at least three feet away from a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Switch electrical appliances off after the power goes out to prevent fires and equipment damage.

If the CO alarm sounds, turn off any heating appliance and open windows to get fresh air. Call 911 if you experience CO poisoning symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, or headaches and move to fresh air immediately. If you suspect an appliance is the source, call a qualified technician to fix the problem before restarting the appliance.