Yes, I realize winter isn’t over and this year’s weather has been relatively calm. And I may be tempting fate by writing this… but… the next time the power goes out for days, the Snoqualmie Valley is ready.
Last month the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA / Community Center installed a mammoth generator, allowing the facility to act as an emergency warming shelter for valley residents. The North Bend Senior Center, located at 411 Main Ave S, will follow suit in the coming months.
Today, February 14th, The Rotary Club of Snoqualmie Valley announced that with grant money, a similar generator will soon be installed at the North Bend Senior Center. The center was already designated by King County and the American Red Cross as an emergency shelter, but lacked the backup power equipment to operate in that emergency role. The new generator, transfer switch along with gas water heaters will make the The North Bend Senior Center fully operational in emergency situations.
Snoqualmie’s new generator is pretty impressive according to YMCA Branch Director, Dave Mayer. He said during testing the natural gas-powered generator automatically kicked on within 10 seconds – with barely a blip occurring on operating computer screens.
According to Bob Rowe, City of Snoqualmie Director of Emergency Management, “The generator was purchased with funds the City requested from the Snoqualmie Tribe through their Impact Mitigation Fund (IMF).”
The standby, backup generator was part of the facility’s long-term plan when the Y was built, but grant funds were needed to make it happen. The new generator now allows the Y / Community Center to seemlessly function as an emergency warming shelter. During the 2012 three-day power outage, a portable generator was rented for the facility, but it didn’t have the same capabilities of the new, natural gas generator.
When the Y runs as an emergency shelter all areas of the facility will be powered except the exercise room. During those times the facility would not function as a traditional YMCA and exercise equipment would not be needed. It emergency situations, the facility operates as a warming shelter as noted by the city and Y’s operational agreement.
The North Bend Senior Center’s new generator was made possible by grants from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation, The City of North Bend, Rotary Club of Snoqualmie Valley and Cascade Covenant Church. The PSE Foundation donated $20,000 of the total $35,000 project cost.
When operational, the shelter will run 24 hours a day and offer both Valley residents and Puget Sound Energy repair crews heat, light, bathrooms, coffee, hot and cold foods, drinking water and emergency supplies.
Mother Nature may howl her winds, send snow, ice and floods, but thanks to local grants the Snoqualmie Valley now has two facilities that will automatically fire up the power, keeping residents warm and cities prepared when emergencies happen.