Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster?
Prepare Now-Save Later
June 01, 2014
Florida, known as the Sunshine State, is famous for its blue skies and sunshine, but with hurricane season upon us, residents may be faced with summer storms.
Torrential rains, heavy winds and fallen trees from summer storms can cause major property damage, flooding and power outages. While these forces of nature can’t be prevented, there are steps we can all take to keep our family and property safe.
As we enter another hurricane season, here are a few e+ tips from Your Own Utilities to consider before, during and after a storm.
Before the Storm:
- Before the storm, identify the places around your home where you can shut off your water and electricity. In an emergency, you will want to be able to turn them off quickly. DO NOT turn off your gas service at the meter for safety reasons.
- Clear your patio and yard of lawn furniture, garbage containers, toys, potted plants, and other items that could blow around in high winds and cause damage or injury.
- Keep flashlights and batteries where they can be found easily.
- 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. Visit FloridaDisaster.org to determine your hurricane evacuation route.
- Should you decide to evacuate, DO NOT turn off the valve on the gas meter that supplies natural gas to your home or business yourself. If the valve on the gas meter needs to be turned on or off, Your Own Utilities or emergency staff will be responsible for handling this important step.
Consider creating a hurricane survival kit. Here are a few suggested items:
- First aid supplies
- Water (at least one gallon per person, per day)
- Battery powered or crank radio
- Manual can opener
- Baby food and diapers
- Pet food
- Canned foods
- Trash bags
- Charcoal or gas grill with plenty of fuel
- Wooden kitchen matches,
- Portable cooler
- Hardwire phone (Cordless phones will not work during a power outage)
- Portable Power Charger (High capacity rechargeable power bank for smartphones, tablets and other devices)
- Fuel for vehicle
During the Storm:
- If there is 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.
- Use a generator properly. 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/carbon monoxide poisoning and the third can send an electrical charge back into the power grid, posing an electrocution hazard to utility workers.
- If you encounter or see a downed power line, stay at least 10 feet away from it to avoid electric shock or electrocution. Assume the downed line is energized and never touch or try to move a downed line. If anyone comes in contact with a downed line, don't attempt a rescue because the electricity can pass through the person contacting the downed line and affect you both. Call emergency personnel immediately. To report downed electrical lines, trees or limbs on power lines, suspected gas leaks or other emergencies, call Your Own Utilities at 891.4YOU (4968).
- If your equipment or vehicle comes in contact with a power line, don't panic. Assume the line is energized and stay in your vehicle unless you are in immediate danger from fire or a moving power line.
- If you are forced to leave your vehicle, jump as far away from the vehicle as you can, landing with both feet together. Be sure that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time. Call 911 as soon as possible and don't return to the vehicle until emergency personnel say it's safe.
- Natural gas appliances and heating equipment must have a shut-off valve at the unit or in the case of fire logs, six feet from the appliance. You CAN turn off the natural gas supply to each appliance or heating unit in your home or business.
After the Storm:
- If your home is flooded, turn off your electrical power until a professional inspects it thoroughly.
- If you smell gas, evacuate immediately and contact call Your Own Utilities at 891.4YOU (4968).
- Make sure you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home or neighborhood.
- After the severe weather has passed, customers who shut off the natural gas supply to their appliances or heating equipment can contact Your Own Utilities when they need to turn the pilot lights back on.
Before, during and after severe weather events, Your Own Utilities crews are ready to respond to all utility related outages. Be assured the City of Tallahassee, along with its community partners, will continue to provide a dedicated rapid response in all critical times of need and other invaluable services, such as comprehensive training, advanced communication and integrated coordination among federal, state and local entities.