As we get closer and closer to fall months this year, residents of Snohomish County should keep in mind important safety protocols for the stormy season. Storm preparation is something everyone should practice and be familiar with. The Snohomish County PUD held a storm preparation and electrical safety media day yesterday on August 17th at the PUD’s Arlington Microgrid. There we were taught the best ways to stay safe and what to do for this year’s upcoming storms.

Downed power lines are one of the main problems associated with storms in Snohomish County, which is why it’s the PUD main priority to get them back up and running as soon as possible. Falling tree branches from storms contribute the most to downed power lines, PUD crews trim up to 750-line miles of vegetation annually to minimize falling trees/branches. “We want to prepare and build our servicemen and line crews in advance to storm season. Which means getting the training done for downed lines and the safety and practices for when it inevitably does happen” said Kellie Stickney who is the PR Liaison for Snohomish County PUD.

Unfortunately, power outages will happen this year due to stormy weather, but there are ways residents of Snohomish County can better prepare themselves. PUD recommends that people have three-to-five-day supply of non-perishable food that needs little or no cooking. One gallon of water per person per day is also recommended, as well as an alternative light source like flashlights or battery powered candles. “We also recommend purchasing a backup generator, it is a worthy investment that can help your family in these types of situations,” said Stickney. Assembling as much as you can and putting it in a storage tub that is easily accessed in the event of an emergency is important for preparation.

In the event that there is a downed powerline within your area, PUD stresses that you stay at least 30 feet away from it, and to not go anywhere near the pole or anything touching the line. “Even if a downed line isn’t actively sparking, always assume it is carrying electricity,” said Stickney. The PUD also encourages people not to drive over fallen lines. While it is true to some extent as long as you stay inside the car you won’t be electrocuted, the greater danger is that the fallen line can become entangled in the car’s axel or wheels. This could cause you to pull down the pole or prevent you from being able to drive any further. In the event that a power line falls on your car, stay put and don’t leave your vehicle. You are safe inside the vehicle, as long as you do not step out and touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. If the vehicle is on fire and it is necessary to leave it, keeping both feet together, jump clear of the car, avoiding any lines that might be on the ground.

“While this is a lot of information to keep in mind for the upcoming months, it is good to practice and study these tips to better prepare yourself for when a storm does happen,” said Stickney. For life-threatening situations involving power lines, call 911. To report line down on the ground, call the PUD at 425-783-1001.