December 2015  

Ride the Ducks Accident and Investigation 
On Sept. 24, a Seattle tour-bus company, Ride the Ducks, was involved in a fatal collision on the Aurora Bridge. The incident, which took the lives of five international students and injured dozens of others, sparked a commission investigation into the company's vehicles, drivers, and operations.

After the incident, the commission suspended the company's operations pending the results of the investigation.

Commission transportation safety staff will release their investigation on Dec. 15. Following the release of the investigation, the commission will hold a hearing Dec. 21 to determine the operational status of the company, and its ability to provide safe and reliable service to the public.

To read more about this incident, click here.        
Be Prepared for Winter Storms 
The recent wind storms across Washington are a good reminder that the winter storm season is upon us. Whether it's wind, ice, or snow, be prepared for the next big storm by following these safety tips.  

Before the storm: 
  • Have an emergency kit, and keep it handy;
  • Learn what to do if there is a power outage;
  • Unplug sensitive electronic equipment such as computers; and
  • Know what natural gas appliances will continue to operate if there is an outage - natural gas water heaters, gas log fireplaces, and gas ovens and ranges are a few. Be sure to keep matches handy if your appliance normally has an electric starter.

During the storm:

  • Keep track of the storm as it develops.
  • If you lose power:
    • Know how to contact your electric company for updates on your outage status.
    • Turn off lights and appliances.
    • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed - only open when necessary.
    • Never use a gas range, indoor cooker, charcoal or gas barbecue for heating.
    • Close curtains and drapes to keep the heat in.
    • Wear warm clothes in layers.
    • If the indoor temp drops below 56 degrees, open your faucets only enough so there is a constant drip to prevent pipes from freezing.

After the storm:

  • Be aware of potential hazards such as downed power lines, broken glass, or hanging limbs.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave the house immediately. Notify your gas company once safely out of the house.

For more information about what you can do to be prepared for any emergency, click here.  

Perform a Home Energy Audit     
A home energy assessment, or energy audit, will show you what parts of your house use the most energy and suggest the best way to cut energy costs. You can conduct your own energy assessment, or for a more detailed assessment, contact your local utility or an energy auditor.

During a professional energy audit, an auditor analyzes your energy bills, completes visual and safety inspections, and may use special equipment - such as a blower door and an infrared camera - to detect sources of energy loss. Based on the data collected, an energy audit will provide you with a comprehensive home energy report that shows which energy efficiency upgrades are best for your home and your potential energy savings. For a list of energy audit professionals near you, click here.

If you are interested in performing your own DIY energy audit, click here to learn how.
UTC Movers Court Update
The commission took action against four illegal residential moving companies in October.

Stanwood-based Alice the Mover was assessed a $5,000 penalty. The company failed to meet conditions set by staff to apply for a permit with the commission by Oct. 23 or stop operating as a residential household good mover.

Puyallup-based Safe to Go Movers and Parkland based Martin Movers, received $5,000 penalties with $4,500 of each suspended for two years on the condition the companies owners obtain a permit before conducting residential moves.

Finally, Lacey-based Affordable Haulers & Movers received a $5,000 penalty of which $4,000 was suspended for two years on the condition the company owner obtains a permit before conducting any residential moves.

For information about movers court, and each company, click here.

If you are planing to hire a moving company for your next move, check with the state before it's too late! Call the Consumer Help Line at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) to check the permit status of any potential household goods movers. UTC Consumer Protection team members can also provide you with information about consumer complaint history.  
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