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Kitsap agencies work to weather storm

Emergency Managment, Public Works among those battling to keep county safe.

The ability of different local agencies to work with each other and the public lessened the impact of this week’s heavy weather conditions.

“Every time we have an emergency, we get better at working together,” said Kitsap Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Director Phyllis Mann. “I wish we could resolve everyone’s problems, but that isn’t always possible. Instead, we have a great partnership that allows us to get things done very quickly and efficiently.”

As an example, DEM made a single call to shut the Bremerton Shipyard down to a skeleton crew after the city reported it would be unable to clear the roads.

Previously, Mann said, it would take several calls to accomplish the same thing.

Additionally, Mann said Puget Sound Energy “has partnered well with us” in order to report and repair power outages, most of them in two to four hours.

“We are so much better prepared than we were for the 2007 floods,” Mann said. “That was the worst case, and showed us what we needed to do in an emergency.”

Mann, who has spent the past 18 years teaching emergency preparedness, said some of this was sinking in.

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners’ meeting scheduled for Monday night was postponed until Tuesday afternoon, but may have been postponed again. For information on the meeting schedule, go to www.kitsapgov.org.

The Port Orchard City Council postponed its planned Tuesday night meeting to Dec. 30.

The Kitsap County road crew spent four days clearing primary roads and was only expected to begin on secondary roads on Monday night, according to Public Works Spokesman Doug Bear.

“We’ve been working 12-hour shifts with our complete crew,” Bear said. “People on residential roads were wondering why we didn’t plow near them but we needed to clear the primary roads first.

“If we don’t,” he said, “people won’t have anywhere to go once they get out of their neighborhoods.”

Bear stressed that people should clear the snow off their cars before driving, since the dislodged snow could cause an accident once they were on the road.

For a map, schedule and an explanation of the ice control policy go to www.kitsapgov.com/pw/snowplow.htm.

While cleaning off cars is an easy task, clearing snow off roofs can be more daunting. A DEM press release noted that heavy snow or wet snow coupled with sleet over a few days can present a threat of roof collapse.

If not cleared off of roofs, snow will absorb additional moisture increasing roof loads and adding stress to building structures.

Relatively flat roofs are particularly vulnerable. To minimize the risk of over-stressing a building roof due to accumulated snow, the DEM advises that homeowners be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up on your roof, and remove excess snow with a rake (taking special care to avoid power lines).

Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. And flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.

Residents and business owners who are not comfortable cleaning their houses/building roof are advised to check the yellow pages to seek professional services for ice/snow removal, according to the DEM.

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