PROTECTING AGAINST WILDFIRES

Unfortunately, wildfires have been a regular occurrence in Washington state over the past few seasons.

 

Inland Power is committed to keeping people and property safe and you can help!

 

It is always a good idea to have an emergency preparedness plan in place should a fire ever threaten you and your property.

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WILDFIRE PRECAUTIONS

It is always a good idea to have an emergency preparedness plan in place should a fire ever threaten you and your property.

In an effort to increase safety and decrease fire risk, Inland Power may place its system in fire safety mode. This means that members could experience an increase in the frequency and duration of outages. This status will remain in place throughout the fire season.

 

By putting our system in fire safety mode, we can reduce the frequency of an object coming into contact with an energized line.

 

It is imperative that everyone is prepared and has a plan in place should an outage occur. There are multiple ways that you can be prepared should you find yourself in a power outage.

 

  • If you have a medical device that requires a power connection to operate, be sure you have a backup power source like a battery pack or generator. It can also be beneficial to make arrangements ahead of time to stay somewhere that has power still connected.

 

  • For those who use a well as their water source, be sure you have a backup plan to keep your well connected to power.

 

  • Ensure your First Aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages and other medical essentials and make sure your prescriptions are current.

 

  • Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water and other essentials (i.e., diapers and toiletries).
     

  • Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener and a portable, battery-operated phone charger.

 

  • Organize emergency supplies so they are easily accessible in one location.
     

  • Be sure your car is fueled up in case you need to charge your devices in your vehicle.

 

In the event of a prolonged power outage, turn off major appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so our you will know when power is restored. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you will need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely.

It is also a good idea to leave a frozen cup of water in your freezer. Place a quarter of top of the ice. After power is restored, if the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, it could mean that the freezer thawed enough to spoil the food inside.

Advanced planning can reduce stress and anxiety caused by multiple or prolonged outages. At Inland Power, we recommend that you act today to ensure you are prepared should outages occur.

For those with heavy vegetation on your property, it is very helpful to routinely patrol your property in search of danger trees. These are trees that are dead or dying that are at risk of coming into contact with power lines and/or can potentially add fuel to an existing fire. 

YOUR PART IN PREVENTING WILDFIRES

DEFENSIBLE SPACE

Defensible Space is often defined as an area around a home or outbuilding where the flammable vegetation is modified and maintained to slow the rate and intensity of an advancing wildfire. This is usually an area with  a minimum of 30 to 100 feet around a structure that is cleared of flammable brush or vegetation. This area would also provide room for firefighters to work to protect a structure from advancing wildfire as well as protect the forest from a structure fire. 

Inland Power encourages its members to take proactive measures to safeguard their homes and structures from wildfire danger and to prepare for emergency events.

PREVENTING WILDFIRE TIPS

Make your property and neighborhood safer with a few simple changes to your home and landscape.

  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs where they may eventually come in contact with power lines and other electric equipment. Learn how to plant the right tree in the right place.

    • Zone 1: Avoid planting flammable vegetation in Zone 1, which closest to any structure.
       

    • Zone 2: It is recommended to plant shrubs and small trees in this zone, which is a minimum of 30 feet from a structure.
       

    • Zone 3: This zone is a minimum of 100 feet from any structure. This zone typically is where larger trees are planted. ​
       

  • Prune shrubs and tree branches that are closer than five feet from your house and outbuildings. If your tree is near our primary power lines, contact Inland Power for options.
     

  • Cut tree limbs so that the lowest branches are at least six feet above the ground. 
     

  • When planting, be sure to plant trees a minimum of 10 feet from each other. 
     

  • Remove pine needles, dry leaves and other flammable yard waste from your property, especially within five feet of your house. Clear roofs and gutters, too.
     

  • Avoid burning in windy conditions and when fie restrictions are in place. Keep a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby.
     

  • Rake tree bark and other landscaping mulch at least five feet away from all structures.
     

  • Keep your lawn watered. Brown lawns should be cut short to reduce fire intensity.
     

  • Keep woodpiles, lumber, vehicles, boats and other large fuel sources at least 30 feet away from your house.
     

  • Cover vents and other openings with 1/8-inch wire mesh to help prevent wind-borne embers from getting into a structure.
     

  • Screen below porches and low decks to keep dry leaves and other debris from accumulating underneath.
     

  • Replace missing roof tiles and shingles. Use clay bird stops or cement on the ends of roof tile to help prevent embers from getting underneath during a fire.
     

  • Put together a family emergency plan and a kit of emergency supplies for potential power outages, fire evacuation and other unforeseen events.
     

IF YOU ARE FORCED TO LEAVE
Should you be required to evacuate, it is imperative that you follow all evacuation instructions. In the event you are not required to leave immediately, Firewise suggests it could be beneficial to follow the steps below before leaving. 

  • Shut off natural gas, propane and fuel oil supplies.
     

  • Remove combustibles from your yard like barbecue-grill tanks and fuel cans.
     

  • Store items that could ignite such as furniture cushions, mats, potted plants and decoration from decks, porches and patio.
     

  • Close all windows, vents and doors (including pet doors) to prevent drafts and keep embers from getting inside.
     

  • Fill pools, hot tubs and other vessels with water to help prevent or slow a fire.
     

  • Visit www.firewise.org for more information.