Storm Safety for Your Own Utilities
Hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th. On any given day we can experience violent thunderstorms, along with tornadoes and flooding that sometimes is a result of the hourly torrential rainfall.
Even though severe weather cannot be prevented, awareness and knowledge of the hazards posed by these natural threats can motivate us to take the steps necessary to keep our family and property safe.
For power outages, downed electrical lines, trees or limbs on power lines, suspected gas leaks or other emergencies, call Your Own Utilities at 891.4YOU (4968). Be aware that during major storms where sustained winds reach 50 mph and above, for their safety, our crews are not deployed. Be assured that we will work to restore power as soon as possible.
Utility Storm Tips
- Following a power outage, unplug all of your large appliances and electronics to prevent power surges when electricity is restored, which can often damage equipment and create fire hazards.
- Remember the "three don'ts" when using generators:
- don't run a generator inside the house; don't run a generator inside the garage; and, don't plug the generator directly into your home's main electrical system. The first two can lead to asphyxiation and the third can send an electrical charge back into the power grid, posing an electrocution hazard to utility workers.
- If your home is flooded, turn off your electrical power until a professional inspects it thoroughly.
- If you smell gas, evacuate immediately and contact us at 891.4YOU (4968).
- Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home or neighborhood.
- After the storm, check to see if your home's weatherhead is damaged - it is located above the electric meter. Utility workers cannot reconnect service if this piece of equipment - which is the homeowner's responsibility - is damaged. If your weatherhead needs repair, please contact a licensed electrician.
- Utilities often cannot respond to customers with special needs during or immediately after a storm. When warned of an incoming storm, make an early decision to evacuate people with special needs. Know the location of special needs shelters in case you are unable to evacuate. If you or someone in your family has special electrical medical equipment needs, notify your electric utility prior to a storm's arrival.
- Visit FloridaDisaster.org to determine your hurricane evacuation route.
- Capture water in your water heater by turning off power to the unit and closing the water valves. If you lose water pressure, you will have about 40 gallons of fresh water stored in the tank. Store additional water in your bathtub and fill the washing machine with water. This water supply can be used for cleaning or to operate your toilet.
- Clear your patio and yard of lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, and other debris that could blow around in high winds and cause damage or injury.
- Prior to the storm, identify the places around your home where to shut off your water and electricity. In an emergency, you will want to be able to turn them off quickly.
However, we do not recommend that you turn off your gas service at the meter for safety reasons.
- Create a hurricane survival kit that includes: first aid supplies; water; batteries; flashlights; battery powered radio; manual can opener; prescriptions; baby food and diapers; pet food; canned foods; cash; tarps; rope; bleach; trash bags; charcoal or gas grill with plenty of fuel; wooden kitchen matches; and, a portable cooler. Don't forget a hardwire phone. Cordless phones will not work during a power outage.