Jan. 20, 2012
King County road crews work non-stop to clear historic storm debris
Executive Constantine to visit road crews today at Issaquah field office and with staff at Emergency Coordination Center in Renton
The King County Road Services Division continues round-the-clock response to challenging weather conditions including downed trees blocking County roadways.
King County Executive Dow Constantine will visit with road crews reporting for a 12-hour shift at the Issaquah roads facility, and will then visit with staff working round-the-clock at the King County Emergency Coordination Center in Renton.
The Issaquah road maintenance office is one of 8 maintenance offices located in King County unincorporated areas. Nearly 150 maintenance staff are working out of these offices to carry out field activities. The County has about 50 pieces of snow removal equipment (ranging from snowplows and sanders to anti-icing vehicles) available to maintain 1300 miles of roadway in unincorporated King County when winter storms strike.
King County is putting a priority on removing debris to allow Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to reach downed power lines and help restore electricity to customers without power. The winter storm caused trees and debris to fall onto power lines and roadways, resulting in numerous power outages. When these types of winter storms strike, the county's Roads Division works closely with PSE to coordinate cleanup and power restoration. When lines are down, road and power crews work together as a team to close roads, repair the lines, remove debris and then reopen the road. This coordination ensures that high priority power needs are met. This team approach also makes response safer for both road and power crews.
The County currently has about 150 field workers operating on 12-hour shifts to respond to the storm. The foul weather has resulted in the closure of many roads, and residents are advised to be aware of road conditions and closures before leaving the house by checking the status of county roads at www.kingcounty.gov/mycommute.
A PSE representative is stationed at the King County Emergency Coordination Center in Renton, and directly communicating with King County Roads so that crews can prioritize snow, ice, and fallen tree removal.
The amount of storm-related debris over roadways is the worst seen in unincorporated areas of the county in many years. Motorists should be on the lookout for falling debris and use extreme caution when traveling, especially on roads in heavily wooded areas of the county.
Shelter & warming facilities open throughout King County
A representative from the American Red Cross is also stationed at the Emergency Operations Center in Renton, to assist with sheltering needs for the public.
In response to power outages, more warming centers and shelters for the general public have opened in King County including Red Cross-operated facilities in Federal Way and Issaquah. A complete updated list is at: www.kingcounty.gov/prepare.
Check-in with neighbors
Five days of bad weather has kept many folks, especially seniors and those with limited mobility, home all week. Take a moment today to check-in with those in your neighborhood who might need assistance. If you know someone who has lost electricity, invite them to your home to stay warm.
Keep 9-1-1 clear for emergencies
Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate help from police, fire, or medics. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report power outages or road conditions. Keep the line open for true emergencies.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill. Carbon monoxide gas comes from burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, oil, kerosene, natural gas, coal or wood.
Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide:
- Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents
- Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports
- Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.
If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor's home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to re-enter the home.
For a full list of carbon monoxide prevention tips and other safety and disaster information in English and other languages, visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/disaster.