OLYMPIA – With the onset of the region’s fall and winter storm season, Gov. Chris Gregoire reminded Washington residents to check their readiness for potential storm problems.
 
“I urge everyone to take a moment, before any fall or winter storms, to check their emergency supplies of food, water and batteries,” said Gov. Gregoire. “We learned from last year’s storm season that these storms can produce road closures, power outages, downed trees and flooding. We all should take steps to be prepared for these situations and lessen their impact on our families.”
 
Chris Tapfer, the university emergency management coordinator at WSU, said Gov. Gregoire released the warning because people provided enough warmth for themselves, but used appliances not fit for indoor use.
 
“And, please, remember the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grills and generators,” Gregoire said. “These devices must remain outside of homes or deadly carbon monoxide can build up and kill building occupants.”
 
Tapfer said these dangerous events can be avoided with planning, preparation and knowledge. He said winter storm preparation should begin early in October.
 
In the Palouse, it’s important to keep a road kit. A lot of people in Pullman do a lot of traveling, especially back and forth through the nasty Cascade passes, he said.
 
Residents should also be concerned with power failure.
One should prepare for 72 hours of emergency relief with enough food, water, heat and light. He recommended storing one gallon of water, per person, per day.
 
“It may sound like daunting preparation, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money,” he said. “Everything you need can be found at a local grocery store. We just want to show people where to get good information about storm preparation.”
 
Preparedness material is on the state Department of Health website at http://www.doh.wa.gov/phepr/handbook.htm
 
Emergency information is available on the Washington Red Cross web site at http://www.redcrosswashington.org/ and the Washington Emergency Management Division website at http://www.emd.wa.gov/.