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January 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM

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UPDATE: Nearly 250,000 customers without power; PSE advice: email or Facebook us


• Have a power-outage kit that includes flashlights and batteries, glow-in-the-dark sticks, a lantern, matches, a wind-up clock, a portable radio, a Mylar blanket and a can opener.

• To avoid deadly carbon-monoxide poisoning, keep generators outdoors when they're running. Make sure the exhaust is not near a window or other opening to the home. Keep the exhaust and muffler away from combustible material.

• Never burn charcoal indoors. Charcoal produces toxic fumes that can kill quickly.

• Use hot water sparingly.

• Turn off most electrical devices, and unplug sensitive electrical equipment. Leave a light switched on, however, so you'll know when the power returns.

• Never handle or approach a downed power line.

• Dress in layers and cover your head. Close off unused rooms. Close drapes to prevent drafts.

• Use only space heaters designed for the indoors. Even those need to be adequately vented to avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning. Keep space heaters away from curtains and clothing. Always turn off the heaters before going to bed or leaving home.

• Get fresh air and get help right away if you feel sick or dizzy while using a generator or space heater. Fatigue, nausea or sleepiness are signs of carbon-monoxide poisoning.

UPDATE: | A growing number of customers in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are without power today as freezing rain and snow toppled trees and branches around the area, hitting or severing power lines.

More than 230,000 customers of Puget Sound Energy alone were without electrical service as of 4 p.m., according to a PSE Twitter feed. Crews are responding to outages in 560 locations.

PSE also acknowledged, via Twitter, that customers are having trouble getting through to customer service via phone or web. Instead, they advise customers to email them at or by posting to their Facebook page.

Puget Sound Energy officials say they have sought the help of more than 140 power crews from other parts of the country to help restore power to the area. Repairs might not be completed until some point this weekend.

Nearly 7,000 Seattle City Light customers are or were without power, the bulk being in unincorporated King County near Bryn-Mawr, Skyway and Renton. Crews expect to have power back up by 2 p.m., said Scott Thomsen, spokesman for Seattle City Light.

In Snohomish County, more than 5,100 residents were without power at noon, said Mike Thorne, spokesman for Snohomish County PUD. An updated figure is expected at 1 p.m.

The numbers don't include the Tacoma area, where an estimated 5,200 customers were without power just before noon, according to Tacoma Power spokeswoman Chris Gleason. She expects the figure to increase, however, because of ice build up on the power lines.

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