Kirkland Community Encouraged to Be Prepared for Winter Storm Conditions

From the City of Kirkland

The City of Kirkland’s emergency preparedness and response personnel are monitoring the current winter storm conditions.  Kirkland residents and businesses are encouraged to be prepared for the winter weather conditions that are expected this week by staying informed about weather and travel conditions, conducting personal, family and business preparedness activities and winterizing homes to ensure safety during severe cold temperatures.

Weather and Travel Conditions

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning for much of the Puget Sound Region.  The NWS Forecast Office regularly updates weather conditions on its website at www.weather.gov/seattle.

Where there is a significant accumulation of snow on the roadways within the City of Kirkland, the City will initiate its priority snow/ice removal system in which roads leading to public safety buildings and public institutions will be plowed first.  To view the priority route map, go to www.ci.kirkland.wa.us.

If you must travel, you are encouraged to check the road and mountain pass conditions before leaving. The Washington State Department of Transportation posts road conditions and travel alerts on its website at www.wsdot.gov.   Transit commuters are encouraged to check on route information and receive rider alerts by visiting King County Metro Transit at metro.kingcounty.gov and Sound Transit at www.soundtransit.org.

City emergency information will be posted to its website at www.ci.kirkland.wa.us.  To receive email alerts regarding storm related events impacting the City of Kirkland, subscribe to receive “Emergency Alerts” at www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/E-Bulletins and select “Emergency/Disaster Updates.”

Personal Preparedness for Winter Weather Conditions

The American Red Cross reminds citizens that exposure to cold can cause injury or serious illness such as frostbite or hypothermia. The likelihood of injury or illness depends on factors such as physical activity, clothing, wind, humidity, working and living conditions, and a person's age and state of health. The American Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe in the cold weather:

  • Dress appropriately before going outdoors. Dress in layers so you can adjust to changing conditions and wear a hat that covers your ears. Avoid overdressing or overexertion that can lead to illness.
  • If possible, avoid being outside in the coldest part of the day, or for extended periods of time in extreme cold weather.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Keep a winter storm survival kit in your car. This should include blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies.
  • Prepare your vehicle. Winterize your car by taking it to a trusted mechanic, who will check things like the tires for appropriate pressure and tread, the cooling system, the battery, the wiper blades and washer fluid, etc.
  • During the winter months, make sure to keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Keep extra blankets in the trunk in the event that you are stranded and have to wait for help.

For more safety tips or to purchase a disaster kit for your home or vehicle, please visit www.seattleredcross.org or www.redcrosswashington.org.

Home Preparedness for Winter Storm Conditions

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers the following preparedness tips

  • Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
    • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.

A special note about using back-up generators and space heaters:

  • Use alternative heat sources and back-up generators safely and wisely. Follow manufacturers' instructions. Adequately vent fueled space heaters (e.g., kerosene, propane, alcohol) to avoid fatal carbon monoxide gas buildup. If used incorrectly, generators pose a significant hazard to both the user and crews attempting to restore power. Never plug them in to feed power to your home circuitry. Instead, plug appliances and fixtures directly into the outlets of the generator. Be sure to use generators in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you cook with outdoor grills or campstoves, use them outdoors. Using them indoors without proper ventilation may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Natural-gas stoves and ovens will work properly even when the power is out. (Use a match to manually light cooktop burners).

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit www.takewinterbystorm.org.