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Power generator will aid emergency shelter in Federal Way

Dan Goede, an emergency management volunteer with the City of Federal Way, starts up the new power generator Tuesday at St. Vincent de Paul Church. - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Dan Goede, an emergency management volunteer with the City of Federal Way, starts up the new power generator Tuesday at St. Vincent de Paul Church.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

The December 2006 windstorms that knocked out power across the region also led to improved emergency preparedness in Federal Way.

St. Vincent de Paul Church emerged as a primary emergency shelter in the city. On Tuesday, volunteers unveiled a new diesel-fueled generator, which will provide backup power at the church if needed. The generator, purchased with an emergency management preparedness grant of about $20,000, holds 100 gallons of fuel and burns 2.5 gallons of diesel per hour.

The city's public works department will store and maintain the generator, along with another generator purchased for the Federal Way Community Center.

"A lot of effort is coming out of that 2006 windstorm," said Ray Gross, Federal Way's emergency management coordinator. "The city really took a lot of action."

On Dec. 12, volunteers at the church will undergo more emergency training from the Red Cross. During the 2006 windstorms, more than 60 percent of St. Vincent de Paul's congregants were still without power after seven days, said parishioner Greg Vickers. Puget Sound Energy estimated 700,000 of its customers lost power during the storm.

The generator is not expected to power the entire church, but will power areas including the boiler and kitchen, he said. The church's partnership with Sound Alliance served as the catalyst for scoring the grant and purchasing the generator.

"Everyone was so caught off-guard," said Vickers, referring to the 2006 windstorms. "Disaster stirs people up."

To learn more about emergency management in Federal Way, e-mail Ray Gross at ray.gross@cityoffederalway.com or call (253) 835-2712.

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