June 2023 Light Reading

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Wildfire season and fire safety mode

As the hot summer months arrive, so does the ongoing threat of wildfires. In recent years, the western United States has experienced more intense and widespread wildfires. According to the Washington Forest Protection Association, nearly 175,000 acres burned in Washington state in 2022. Factors that can contribute to an increase in wildfire risk include vegetation overgrowth and pest infestation. Both can turn a healthy forest into fuel during wildfire season.

Across our region, utilities continue to take preventable measures to combat threats through wildfire mitigation plans. These plans include vegetation management and strategic tree trimming and pruning to keep lines clear to improve public safety and the security of the grid. Inland Power closely monitors our service territory in moderate to high-risk wildfire areas. We will place these areas on non-reclose or “fire safety mode” in our system when necessary.

What is fire safety mode?

Fire safety mode is an alternative way of operating our electrical distribution system where we prioritize system security and public safety higher over normal operations resulting in a higher incidence of service disruptions.



Energy saving projects for the weekend warrior


Safety tips to prevent wildfires


Inland Power’s Poletop Rescue Competition

Normally, when a foreign object such as a tree limb makes contact with our power lines, we have devices which detect a short circuit condition, interrupt power momentarily and then attempt to automatically restore power. If the foreign object has cleared out of the way, power remains online with only a brief service disruption. When operating in fire safety mode, this automatic restoral of power functionality is disabled (non-reclosal) in areas with elevated wildfire risk. This means that any service disruptions that would have normally been momentary are instead sustained and require manual inspection and restoral. Fire safety mode is presently planned to be activated on June 1, 2023, but may be adjusted based on weather conditions. Once activated, fire safety mode will remain in effect throughout the summer dry season and will be deactivated as burn bans are lifted and cool weather returns.

How can I know if I live in an area of Elevated Wildfire Risk?

Areas with forested lands and moderate to high amounts of human activity are generally associated with elevated wildfire risk. These are predominantly focused in the central and

northern portions of our service territory and areas that are near the Little Spokane River natural area outside of city limits.

What can I do to prepare?

If you have a tree on your property that is dead, dying or uprooting that you believe is at risk of falling into overhead power lines, please contact our office to arrange a visit with one of our vegetation management specialists who will evaluate the tree and schedule it for removal if it meets the criteria. Keep vegetation on your property trimmed up and away from underbrush. Remove excess fuel sources near buildings such as brush piles and debris and establish a defensible space boundary around your home to mitigate combustion and assist firefighters with defending your home in the event of wildfire.

Consult with local land management authorities for guidance on wildfire risk mitigation. For example, residents of Spokane County are eligible to get a free Firewise Risk Assessment through the Spokane Conservation District or the National Fire Protection Association at nfpa.org.

June 2023
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Energy saving projects for the weekend warrior

Are you a weekend warrior? If you’re considering home improvement upgrades that save energy and money, we’ve got a few project ideas for you––all of which can be completed in a day or less!

Get smart about home cooling and heating.

Cooling and heating your home typically accounts for a large portion of energy bills. Smart thermostats can help keep your cooling and heating costs in check, with ENERGY STAR®-certified models saving about 8 percent on annual energy costs.

Now that smart thermostats are more affordable, this upgrade makes for a simple weekend project. Smart thermostats offer a variety of features, but the average model will allow you to set custom temperature schedules, adjust the settings from anywhere (from your mobile device), and the ability to learn your cooling and heating preferences.

Your new smart thermostat will come

with step-by-step instructions, but this project typically involves shutting off your HVAC at the breaker panel, disconnecting/ removing the old thermostat, installing the new smart thermostat and connecting it to your home Wi-Fi. Remember to carefully read the installation instructions before you get started, and visit inlandpower.com/ advanced-smart-thermo for details on our free thermostat program.

Go green and boost your greenery with a rain barrel.

If you’ve got a green thumb, you already know that rainwater is the best water for your outdoor plants. Rainwater is free of minerals, salts and treatment chemicals found in tap water or groundwater. It also contains helpful macronutrients to foster healthy plant growth.

Installing a rain barrel is an easy way to harvest large amounts of rainwater and reduce home water use––it’s a win-win.

According to the Environmental Protection

Agency, one rain barrel can save a homeowner 1,300 gallons of water annually. Most residential rain barrels range in size from 50 to 90 gallons, so the size you purchase will depend on your watering needs.

The simplest way to install a rain barrel is positioning a plastic or wooden barrel directly under your gutter downspout. Basic piping may be required, but this is an easy way to harvest rainwater, and the barrel won’t take up much space. Consider a cover for the top of your rain barrel to keep insects and small debris out of your harvested water. Create fresh savings with a DIY clothesline.

If you have enough outdoor space available, installing a clothesline is a great way to save energy. Not only will you save on dryer costs, you can also save on cooling costs since unwanted heat from the clothes dryer won’t be added to your home (which makes your air conditioner work harder). Additionally, air drying is much gentler on fabrics and will keep your clothes and linens looking fresh longer. You can create your own clothesline with two T-posts, wire and hook-and-eye turnbuckles. Depending on your soil, you may need a small amount of Quikrete to set the posts. Another option is installing the line between two trees. A typical load of laundry requires about 35 feet of line, so keep this in mind as you’re determining the best location.

If an outdoor clothesline isn’t an option, you can easily create an indoor drying rack that folds to save space. Home improvement websites like thespruce.com and hgtv.com offer step-by-step tutorials for a variety of indoor clothes racks.

These are just a few simple ideas to help you save energy and money. So, get out there, roll up those sleeves and tackle a few projects.

Check our website at inlandpower.com for additional energy-saving ideas and tips.

“ OUR mission IS OUR members.” –MISSION STATEMENT

The restoration process and how it works

Wedo our best to avoid them, but sometimes there is no way around it: power outages occasionally happen. For most Inland Power members, outages are rare and only last a few hours. But when major storms hit our area, extended outages can be unavoidable.

So when the power goes out, how do Inland Power crews know where to start working? How do you know if your outage has been reported? We’ve got answers to these questions and more, and it all starts with a safe, efficient plan for power restoration. When the lights go out and it’s safe for our crews to begin the restoration process, they start by repairing power lines and equipment that will restore power to the greatest number of people in the shortest time possible.

This process typically begins with repairs to the larger main distribution lines that service a great number of homes and businesses. After those repairs are made, crews work on tap lines, which deliver power to transformers, either mounted on utility poles (for above-ground service) or placed on pads (for underground service). Finally, individual service lines that run between the transformer and the home are repaired.

We can’t control the weather, but we can prepare for it. Inland Power keeps a supply of extra utility poles, transformers and other equipment on hand so we can quickly get to work in the event of an outage. When widespread outages occur, multiple crews will be out in the field simultaneously working to repair damage at various locations. We also coordinate with nearby co-ops to bring in additional crews when necessary.

A proactive approach to maintenance helps minimize the chance of prolonged outages; this is why you see Inland Power crews periodically trimming trees and clearing vegetation near rights-of-way. We love trees too, but it only takes one overgrown limb to knock out power for an entire neighborhood. Trimming improves power reliability for our entire community. In addition to managing vegetation, we regularly inspect utility poles, power lines and other critical equipment to maintain a more reliable system.

If you experience a power outage, don’t assume a neighbor reported it. It’s best to report the outage yourself. To report an outage call 877-668-8243 or report through our SmartHub app. To learn more and to sign up for SmartHub, visit our website at inlandpower.com/smarthub.

If you have a medical condition that requires electrical equipment, please let us know, and always have a backup plan in place. This plan could include a portable generator, extra medical supplies or moving to an alternate location until power is restored. If you plan to use a generator for backup power, read all safety information and instructions before use.

Mother Nature can be unpredictable, but as a member of Inland Power, you can feel confident knowing we are standing by, ready to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Power is my cooperative!

Safety tips to prevent wildfires

A wildfire can rapidly grow out of control when the three following conditions are present: oxygen, fuel and a heat source. The fuel can be any material that is flammable near the wildfire, and the heat source can be a variety of things, like campfires, cigarettes or even warm winds. When these three conditions are met, a violent wildfire can ensue.

By taking a few extra precautions, campers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the sights of nature without causing a wildfire. Here are a few tips from National Geographic to help prevent wildfires:

Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure you completely extinguish the fire when you are done. Drench the fire with water and stir the ashes until cold.

Play it safe when using fueled lanterns, heaters and stoves. Lighting and heating devices should cool before refueling. Keep flammable liquids and fuel away from appliances.

Never discard cigarettes, matches and smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.

When burning yard waste, follow local ordinances. Avoid burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check.

If conditions are right and you find yourself in the path of a wildfire, evacuate immediately. Listen to local emergency notifications for up-to-date information. Better yet, make a wildfire plan for you and your family before a fire occurs.


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2023 Poletop Rescue Competition


Power recently conducted its inaugural Poletop Rescue Competition on May 10, 2023. The competition is essential training to ensure our crews are prepared and ready in case of an emergency situation and a rescue is required.

Multiple teams competed to earn a spot at the upcoming Washington State Poletop Rescue Competition, which is part of the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference that will be held in Spokane, Wash., in September 2023.

We thank all our competitors and congratulate

the two-person team of Frank Beatty, General Foreman and Robert Swiger, Area Service Representative (ASR) who took first place and will represent Inland Power at the state competition.

Job well done!

10110 W Hallett Rd. Spokane, WA 99224