Winter – Cold Weather and Power Outage Safety

Winter brings cold temperatures, snow, freezing rain, and high winds. When rain freezes, ice weighs down trees and power lines, this can lead to power outages (see below for multi-language fact sheets).

Photo by Brett Sayles (cc license)

During a winter storm

Washington Department of Health tips:

  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear mittens rather than gloves. Wear a warm, woolen cap.
  • Do not drive unnecessarily.
  • Reduce the temperature in your home to conserve fuel.
  • Heat only the areas of your home you are using. Close doors and curtains or cover windows and doors with blankets.
  • Use alternative heat methods safely. Never use a gas or charcoal grill, hibachi or portable propane heater to cook indoors or heat your home.
  • Never use a generator indoors or in a garage or carport.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Do not overexert yourself.
  • Be sure to eat regularly. Food provides calories that maintain body heat.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia — slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrollable shivering, stumbling, drowsiness and body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
  • If you become trapped outside, get out of the wind and stay dry. Build a lean-to or snow cave if nothing else is available. Do not eat snow; it will make you too cold.

If in your vehicle

  • Make sure someone knows where you are going. Stay on the main roads.
  • If you must stop, remain inside the vehicle. Use a bright distress flag or your hazard lights to draw attention to your vehicle.
  • If trapped in a blizzard, clear your tail pipe and run your engine and heater for 10 minutes every hour. Open your window slightly.
  • During night hours, keep the dome light on in the car so rescue crews can see your vehicle.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food that can be eaten without being cooked. Include a blanket or sleeping bag for each passenger, a flashlight, cell phone, shovel, sack of sand or kitty litter, booster cables, flare, coffee can with lid, and toilet paper.

PDF tip sheets in other languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

What should I do if I see damaged or downed power lines?

Department of Health Seattle & King County:

  • Don’t get near any fallen or sagging power line!
  • Call the utility company about the line
    (Seattle area residents: 206-684-7400, other King County residents: 1-888-225-5773).

If you have a power outage, safe ways to stay warm

  • Find places where you can go to get warm, such as the home of friends and family whose homes have power.
  • Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors.
  • Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.

Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide

  • If you don’t have electricity, only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents.
  • NEVER use a generator indoors, in garages or carports
  • NEVER cook or heat indoors with a charcoal or gas grill 

Help Others

Q&A RSV, flu and COVID in King County: What should I know?

In the Fall and Winter months there is often a rise in respiratory viruses. This Fall (2022) there have been many RSV and flu cases requiring emergency room visits – especially for young children. Health clinics might also see more COVID cases and hospitalizations in the winter as people gather indoors and new COVID variants spread. These diseases can make young children, older adults, and other vulnerable people very sick, and overload hospitals and clinics.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads every winter. Anyone can get RSV, but in 2022 we’re seeing a lot of cases in young children. For healthy adults and older children RSV can feel like a cold, with symptoms like runny nose, less appetite, coughing, and fever. But it can be a very serious illness for babies, older adults, and others.

The Seattle and King County Department of Public Health has put together an informative slide deck in eighteen languages. The deck Includes information about RSV, flu and COVID in King County, what to look for and how to prevent illness.

These slides can be shared in waiting rooms, at community centers, and in other places where people gather. Slides are available in the following languages:
• አማርኛ (Amharic)
• العربية (Arabic)
• 简体字 (Chinese – Simplified)
繁體字 (Chinese – Traditional)
• دری (Dari)
• English
• Français (French)
• 日本語 (Japanese)
• ភាសាខ្មែរ (Khmer)
• 한국어 (Korean)
• KajinM̧ajeļ (Marshallese)
• ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi)
• Русский (Russian)
• Af Soomaali (Somali)
• Español (Spanish)
• Wikang Tagalog/Filipino (Tagalog/Filipino)
• ትግርኛ (Tigrinya)
• Українська (Ukrainian)
• Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

Mental Health Booklets

The Health Council of the Ethiopian Community in Seattle have created booklets discussing Mental Health. They are available in Amharic/English (Ethiopian), Oromo/English, and Tigrinya/English (Eritrean).

See sidebar to download PDF booklets.

Screenshot from Viral Swab Instructional Video

Viral Swab Instructional Videos

These instructional videos were created to help explain the viral swab procedure to patients presenting with coronavirus symptoms at Harborview Medical Center. The videos were created with interpreters and hospital staff who walk the patients through the nose-swab testing, and offer post-visit information. The videos are available in 7 languages: English interpreted into Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Each video has an accompanying easy-to-scan QR code. If the patient wants to review the video once they are back home, they can scan the QR code which will automatically take them to the video on YouTube. QR code pdfs are available for download under each video, and are also found in the sidebar.

Download Amharic QR code PDF
Download Arabic QR code PDF
Download Cantonese QR code PDF
Download Oromo QR code PDF
Download Somali QR code PDF
Download Spanish QR code PDF
Download Vietnamese QR code PDF
Interpreter Bogale receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Interpreter COVID-19 Vaccine PSA Videos

Medical interpreters share their experiences receiving COVID-19 vaccine, acknowledging community concerns and talking about common side effects.

Video scripts in Amharic, Oromo and Vietnamese are available in PDF format in the sidebar.

More information about Covid-19 vaccine at Public Health – Seattle & King County: 
AmharicOromo | Somali | Vietnamese

2024 Diabetes Calendars

These are thirteen and fifteen month calendars with photos and information about healthy eating and diabetes.

They are provided in Amharic (Ethiopian), Arabic, Dari, Khmer (Cambodian), Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Thai, and Vietnamese. All calendars also include English. See sidebar for PDFs for FREE downloadable files.

We encourage you to download and share with your communities!

Print on both sides of paper (flip paper on long edge) and fold to make calendar.

Video promotion for the 2024 Diabetes Calendars
The Brain

Brain Death: What It Means

This handout offers information for families and loved ones of patients. It explains how doctors determine that a person is dead based on their brain function.

Handout PDFs are available at UW Medicine Health Online in English, Arabic, Tigrinya, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Amharic and Spanish languages.

For information for providers, see Determination of Brain Death/Death by Neurologic Criteria – The World Brain Death Project (article accessible with JAMA subscription).

The Brain
Photo by Francisco Bengoa (cc license).
Young woman wearing mask

Sick Days and Diabetes

These materials were developed at Harborview Medical Center (Seattle, WA) for use in a multicultural diabetes class for patients and family members. The materials were translated into a number of languages and each PDF includes both target language and English. Several of the handouts have audio narration (about 3 min).

Audio and PDFs are available in the sidebar.

Updates to materials were funded by .

Young woman wearing mask
Photo by Nikki (cc license).
Photo of feet with happy and sad faces drawn on big toes.

Learning About Diabetes: Tips for Foot Care

These diabetes patient education handouts provide tips for good foot care. They are available in Amharic, English, Khmer (Cambodian), Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese (see resources in sidebar).

The handouts were created by Learning About Diabetes, Inc., a non-profit charity providing easy-to-understand diabetes-care information in a number of languages. They were translated by EthnoMed, and shared with permission.

Visit the Learning About Diabetes website for additional languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Creole, Hindi and Russian).

Photo of feet with happy and sad faces drawn on big toes.
Photo by Vinoth Chandar (cc license).
Vietnamese Seniors exercising

Learning About Diabetes: Let’s Get Moving

These patient education handouts discuss the importance of exercise for people who have diabetes, and how to get started. They are available in Amharic, English, Khmer (Cambodian), Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese (see resources in sidebar).

The handouts were created by Learning About Diabetes, Inc., a non-profit charity providing easy-to-understand diabetes-care information in a number of languages. They were translated by EthnoMed, and shared with permission.

Visit the Learning About Diabetes website for additional languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Creole, Hindi and Russian).

Vietnamese Seniors exercising
Vietnamese seniors exercising.

Tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower

Learning About Diabetes: Plant Foods

These patient education handouts explain how eating a plant-based diet may lower the risk for diabetes, and improve blood sugar control in people who have diabetes. They are available in Amharic, English, Khmer (Cambodian), Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese (see resources in sidebar).

The handouts were created by Learning About Diabetes, Inc., a non-profit charity providing easy-to-understand diabetes-care information in a number of languages. They were translated by EthnoMed, and shared with permission.

Visit the Learning About Diabetes website for additional languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Creole, Hindi and Russian).

Tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower
Photo by Yukiko Matsuoka (cc license).
Avocado

Learning About Diabetes: Good Fats / Bad Fats

These diabetes patient education handouts provide information which foods have good fats and which have bad fats. They are available in Amharic, English, Khmer (Cambodian), Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese (see resources in sidebar).

The handouts were created by Learning About Diabetes, Inc., a non-profit charity providing easy-to-understand diabetes-care information in a number of languages. They were translated by EthnoMed, and shared with permission.

Visit the Learning About Diabetes website for additional languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Creole, Hindi and Russian).

Avocado
Photo by Kjokkenutstyr Net (cc license).