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STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE EFFORT READIES FOR POSSIBLE FLOODING, WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SAYS

 OLYMPIA, Wash., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Just when most of the power was coming back on in Western Washington following last week's windstorm, the threat of flooding has prompted state government into a new state of readiness, the Washington State Department of Community Development (DCD) said today.
 State emergency management officials shifted gears Sunday evening and early Monday morning in response to rising river levels in Western Washington. Already in operation since last Wednesday's storm to monitor recovery and damage assessment activities, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Department of Community Development's Emergency Management Division will continue to operate on a 24-hour basis until further notice.
 Flood warnings are in effect for the Nooksack, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish and Satsop rivers. A flood warning for the Skykomish River has been cancelled; and flood watches have been cancelled for the Skagit and Elwha rivers. Snohomish, King and Clallam counties have activated their emergency operations centers to monitor the flooding situation.
 Local and state officials are also monitoring closely rising levels on the Dungeness, Cedar, White and Nisqually rivers. And, with the unusually high snow fall in recent weeks, especially east of the Cascades, the State EOC is coordinating with local communities in Eastern Washington about potential flood conditions.
 Working through DCD's Emergency Management Division, the Washington National Guard is prepositioning more than 120,000 sandbags throughout the state today. DCD's Emergency Management Division had arranged the massive distribution effort based on lessons learned from previous floods, when the state had to ship sandbags from out of state. Based on the current flooding and flood potential, the State EOC ordered another 10,000 sandbags to be delivered to King County.
 The American Red Cross and other relief organizations, which had begun to close down their sheltering effort for windstorm victims by Sunday, have now just begun to shelter people due to flooding -- 10 families evacuated by localized flooding near Duvall in King County.
 The Washington State Patrol and Department of Transportation are cleaning up after Sunday night avalanches on Snoqualmie and Stevens passes, and coordinating traffic closures and slow-downs due to avalanches and flooding.
 WINDSTORM ACTIVITIES:
 The Washington Department of General Administration and the Washington National Guard combined to provide hot meals for American Red Cross mobile feeding stations in King and Pierce counties through lunch Saturday night and Sunday.
 The State Energy Office reports recovery efforts by public utility companies are going well, with the number of outages down to an estimated 3,650 customers in Western Washington.
 The American Red Cross is surveying damaged areas to help determine the extent of unmet needs by windstorm victims. The Red Cross is available to assist people who need assistance with shelter, food, clothing or other needs. People who need immediate help should contact their local Red Cross chapter. Government relief is not available at this time for uninsured losses.
 Gov. Mike Lowry's proclamation of emergency for the Jan. 20 windstorm remains in effect. Ten jurisdictions declared states of emergency -- Wahkiakum, Snohomish, Lewis, Thurston and King; and the cities of Bellevue, Seattle, Auburn, Renton and Normandy Park.
 FLOOD PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION
 Renters, homeowners and businesses can take numerous steps to reduce property damage and injuries in the event of a flood. Here are some tips that can help persons who are flooded out to prevent themselves from becoming wiped out.
 Steps to take today
 -- If you have to leave your home, take a list of personal property, including furnishings, clothing and valuables. Photographs of your home -- inside and out -- are helpful. These will help the adjuster in settling claims and help prove uninsured losses, which are tax deductible.
 -- Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to high, safe ground if you should have to evacuate in a hurry.
 -- Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment and flashlight in working order.
 -- Persons who live in frequently flooded areas should keep on hand materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber which can be used to protect property. (Sandbags should not be stacked directly against outer walls of a building since, when wet, the bags may create added pressure on the foundation.)
 -- Buy flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent or broker about eligibility for flood insurance. Generally, there is a five- day waiting period for this policy to become effective, so don't wait until the last minute to apply. (Remember, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood loss.)
 -- Keep your insurance policies and a list of personal property in a safe place, such as a safety-deposit box. Know the name and location of the agent(s) who issues your policies.
 When the flood comes
 -- The safety of your family is the most important consideration. Since flood waters can rise very rapidly, you should be prepared to evacuate before the water level reaches your property.
 -- Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local station and follow all emergency instructions.
 -- If you are caught in your house by suddenly rising waters, move to the second floor or, if necessary, the roof. Take warm clothing, a flash-light and portable radio. Wait for help. Do not try to swim for safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you at your home.
 -- When outside the house, remember that floods are deceptive. Try to avoid flooded areas. Do not attempt to walk through waters that are more than knee deep.
 -- If time permits, and only if time permits, there are several precautionary steps that can be taken:
 1) Turn off utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on dry wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber-soled boots or shoes.
 2) Move valuables such as papers, furs, jewelry, clothing and other items to upper floors or higher elevations.
 3) Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are contaminated. You can sanitize these items by first rinsing them with bleach.
 4) Board up windows with storm shutters to protect them, or tape to prevent flying glass.
 5) Place outdoor possessions inside the house or tie them down securely. This includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, tools, signs, and other objects which might be swept away or hurled about.
 -- If it is safe to evacuate by car, consider the following:
 1) Stock the car with nonperishable food, plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlight, dry clothing and special medication needed by your family.
 2) Keep the gas tank half-full since gasoline pumps will not be working if electricity is cut off.
 3) Do not drive where water is over roads. Parts of the road may be washed out.
 4) If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away.
 -- If you need emergency assistance, dial 911 or call your local police or fire department.
 After the flood
 If your apartment, home or business has suffered flood damage, immediately contact the agent or broker who handles your flood insurance. You can expedite processing of a claim by saving as many of the damaged articles as possible or taking pictures to document losses.
 -- Before entering a flooded building, check for evidence of structural damage or other hazards. Turn off the electricity, preferably at the meter, and turn off gas or fuel service valves. Open as many doors as possible to remove moisture, odors, and flammable or toxic gases.
 -- Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
 -- Proceed with immediate clean up measures to prevent health hazards. Discard perishable items including fresh food and previously opened medicines which have come into contact with floodwaters.
 -- Water for drinking and food preparation should be boiled vigorously for 10 minutes (until the public water system or your well has been declared safe). Another method of disinfecting is to mix 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry bleach with 2-1/2 gallons of water, and let stand for five minutes before using. In an emergency, water can be obtained by draining a hot water tank or melting ice cubes.
 -- Hose off hard goods such as refrigerators and sofas, and keep them for the insurance adjuster's inspection. Partially damaged items should be dried and aired; the adjuster will recommend their repair or disposal.
 -- Take wood furniture outdoors, but keep out of direct sunlight to prevent warping. Remove drawers and other moving parts as soon as possible, but do not pry open swollen drawers from the front; instead, remove the backing and push the drawers out.
 -- Continue with additional clean up measures:
 1) Shovel out mud and silt before it dries. Drain water in walls by removing baseboard and drilling holes between studs a few inches above the floor. Scrub floors, woodwork and walls, using plenty of water, a detergent, and a disinfectant. Work from the floor to the ceiling, rinsing with clear water.
 2) To get rid of the stench that often accompanies flooding, rinse with a


solution of two tablespoons household laundry bleach to a gallon of water. Repeat the scrubbing and rinsing several times if necessary. If mildew appears on walls, scrub with a solution of 1/2 cup bleach and 1/2 cup mild detergent in a gallon of warm water.
 3) Remove as much water from carpets and rugs as possible with an wet pick-up vacuum. Fans can be used to help the drying process. Once dry, vacuum clean and shampoo. Use of a disinfectant is recommended.
 4) Give wood floors a final thorough washing with a non-sudsing cleaning product. Don't build fires to speed up drying of wood floors, as this could cause cracking or splitting from uneven drying. Keep the temperature at 60-70 degrees.
 5) Allow walls to dry thoroughly before repainting, repairing plaster, papering, or applying any wall covering.
 -- Before lighting burners on an oil or gas heater, or firing a coal furnace:
 1) Examine the inside of the heater. Wash sediment from flues or the heat exchanger with a hose or a swab on a long stick. If the heater is jacketed, clean out mud between the fire box and outside casing. The casing may have to be removed.
 2) Take the smoke pipe out of the chimney and reach through the thimble to remove mud from the lower part of the chimney flue. This will assure a draft, and will prevent dangerous carbon monoxide gas or smoke from leaking out.
 -- Quickly separate all laundry items to avoid running colors. If you cannot get to a professional cleaner, rinse items in lukewarm water to remove lodged soil, then wash with a mild detergent and dry in sunlight.
 -- Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible, however, structural damage can occur by pumping out water too quickly. After the floodwaters around your property have subsided, begin draining the basement in stages, about one-third of the water volume each day.
 For more information about preparing for floods or other emergencies, contact your local emergency management agency, or the State Department of Community Development's Emergency Management Division at 800-562-6108. People who have immediate needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, should contact their local chapter of the American Red Cross.
 -0- 1/25/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Don't miss the special information about "Flood Preparedness" at the end of this release./
 /CONTACT: Mark Clemens of the Washington State Department of Community Development, 206-438-7737/


CO: Washington State Department of Community Development ST: Washington IN: SU:

LM -- SE008 -- 8686 01/25/93 16:08 EST
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