What You Need To Know: Health advisory issued during power outag - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

What You Need To Know: Health advisory issued during power outages and cold weather

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

With temperatures expected to drop below freezing tonight, and with many Spokane County residents without power, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), Greater Spokane Emergency Management (GEG), City of Spokane and Spokane County are issuing this health advisory to encourage the community to take action to protect themselves.

Outages combined with freezing cold temperatures present a dangerous situation that can result in health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those with medical conditions who rely on electricity or other services (home dialysis, oxygen, suction, breathing machines, etc.) for their health, or those without shelter or who live in a home that is poorly insulated. But technically anyone without electricity is considered vulnerable, particularly infants and the elderly.
"When the power is out and the weather is cold, we need our community to be proactive in protecting itself,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “For those individuals who rely on power to care for their health needs and need assistance, several agencies are prepared to help you.”

Medically-trained volunteers are available to perform welfare checks in homes for individuals. To arrange a welfare check on yourself or a neighbor, individuals can call 2-1-1. Otherwise, individuals without electricity, especially those who are vulnerable, are encouraged to seek shelter with family or friends who do have electricity. If that is not an option, several community shelter options are available, with plans underway to open more. Details listed below, or call 2-1-1 for more information.

  • American Red Cross shelter – Girls Scouts facility, 1404 N. Ash St., open 24 hours, will take all ages and pets.
  • Salvation Army warming center – 222 E. Indiana, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m., will take all ages. Entrance on Nora at the back of the gym. Look for Warming Center entrance sign.
    • Although power is currently out, there are blankets and it is still shelter.
    • If individuals would like to volunteer or donate blankets, warm clothing and snacks, please call 329-2721
  • House of Charity single adults only – open at 6:00 p.m., 32 W Pacific

If individuals must stay in their homes without electricity, they are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to stay safe:

  • Use approved emergency heating equipment and have sufficient heating fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace) so you can keep at least one room livable. Be sure the room is well ventilated.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator. Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbonmonoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors.
  •  Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working correctly and have fresh batteries. Check your outside fuel exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed. Never use cooking equipment intended for outside use indoors as a heat source or cooking device.
  • ? 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 your entire body warm.
  • ? Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries as part of an Emergency Kit along with     food, water and other key supplies.
  • ? Seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheet.
  • ? Do not call 9-1-1 to ask for information, use 9-1-1 only for emergencies. Call 2-1-1 or applicable utility company, fire department, public           health or other agencies as needed.

Specific to food safety, if food is unrefrigerated for more than four hours, it needs to be thrown out. During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door. Frozen food can stay cold in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).

For individuals with electricity, please check in on friends, family, and neighbors, particularly those most susceptible to freezing temperatures and power outages such as seniors and those with access and functional needs. Register to receive ALERT Spokane messages at
http://ow.ly/CrZ0n and follow #InlandWind on social media
 

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