Lisa Jameson, 847-8099, LJameson@spokanecounty.org
Friday, November 20, 2015 at 4:48 p.m.
SPOKANE, Wash. – Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management (DEM), in partnership with numerous agencies, held another press conference today to update the community on the recovery status after Tuesday’s unprecedented windstorm. As the weekend approaches, for many individuals, it might be the first time they are able to assess and address damage. This again presents opportunities for neighbors to help neighbors as community resilience grows and #InlandStrong grows deeper roots.
With freezing low temperatures set to remain for several days, as well as the possibility for outages to last through the weekend for some, officials still urge individuals to shelter where there is electricity and heat.
If friends and family are not an option, the list of community shelter and warming centers continues to grow. To view the updated list, see attached list or click here. 2-1-1 also remains a tremendous resource for the community for locating post-windstorm services, as well as a Google Crisis map showing shelter, grocery and library locations.
For individuals who continue to shelter in their homes, a volunteer door-to-door campaign is underway in the city of Spokane to check on those individuals and ensure they have access to resources and are doing everything they can to remain safe and warm. Community volunteers are working in teams in northwest and northeast Spokane. Those efforts will expand this canvassing effort to include the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley over the weekend. For individuals who would like to volunteer, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday or Sunday, please visit volunteerspokane.org or call 2-1-1. If an individual would like to simply show up, on Nov. 20, they should arrive at 9 a.m. at one of these locations for training:
Part of what volunteers will be doing is performing wellness checks as staying inside a home without electricity in these temperatures leaves individuals at risk for hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include:
To prevent hypothermia, dress for the cold, wearing several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, scarves and other clothing to keep the entire body warm. Carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires also remain risks and residents are again encouraged to use approved heating equipment, keep generators outside and use flashlights instead of candles.
Aside from personal safety, property safety was also emphasized today.
Said Police Chief Rick Dobrow, “Personal safety reminders specific to safe use of generators and heat sources are still relevant, but is also important for people to use typical diligence with protecting personal property.”
Unfortunately, the county is beginning to experience some thefts, including two city-owned generators overnight. It is a good reminder for individuals to secure their personal belongings in locked homes, garages and outbuildings. Aside from making sure to secure your own property, neighbors can help each other by reporting suspicious activity. For crimes in progress, please call 911 and if you have been the victim of a crime call Crime Check at 509.456.2233. Officials also remind residents to please continue to be patient and careful when encountering traffic signals that are out.
In preparation for the lights coming back on, individuals can also protect their homes by turning off breakers or removing fuses, with the exception of leaving one lighting circuit on to know when electricity comes back on.
In addition to freezing temperatures, rising wood smoke levels led to unhealthy air pollution levels and subsequently all outdoor burning in Spokane County is temporarily restricted. But indoor wood heating is not restricted under a State of Emergency exemption allowing indoor wood burning throughout Spokane County during this widespread power outage.
DEM continues to coordinate resources throughout Spokane County including first responders, health organizations, social service agencies and other resource providers and power companies – public safety remains a priority.
Please follow #InlandStrong on social media channels. For more information visit Greater Spokane Emergency Management or call 509.847.8099