City activates Emergency Operations Center, Eastside Fire & Rescue opens shelters

January 19, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 5:10 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

City officials opened the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday afternoon to coordinate the response to a major snowstorm and ice storm, and subsequent power outages across Issaquah and the region.

The decision came as more than 18,000 customers in Issaquah faced nightfall without power and temperatures in the low 30s. Puget Sound Energy is in the midst of a colossal effort to restore power to about 200,000 customers in Western Washington. In a tweet posted at 4:59 p.m., PSE said people without power should not expect to have power restored Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Eastside Fire & Rescue opened Fire Station 82, 1851 228th Ave. N.E., and Fire Station 83, 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., as warming shelters.

The city Emergency Operations Center is designed as a centralized location for officials to direct emergency operations and, if necessary, coordinate alongside county, state and federal agencies. Staffers report to the facility — at the Public Works Operations building along First Avenue Northeast — to coordinate response efforts and support field operations.

The center — outfitted in radio communication systems and a backup power supply — is designed operate around the clock throughout a disaster.

The rare ice storm also prompted the local American Red Cross chapter to advise residents to stay safe during a power outage:

  • Assemble emergency supplies, including a flashlight, batteries, portable radio, at least 1 gallon of water per person and a small supply of food.
  • Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Due to the strong risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage. Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 911 for information — only call to report a life-threatening emergency.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Do not use gas appliances such as ranges or ovens to heat homes.
  • Turn off electrical equipment, but leave a single light to know when power is restored. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
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