Ocala Electric Utility is reminding customers to be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.
The 2020 season runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Ocala residents are encouraged to be prepared and have a plan. To download a free storm preparation guide, view/report a power outage or receive power outage notifications, visit severeweather.ocalafl.org.
If a storm does affect the Ocala area, residents are warned to stay away from downed power lines. Electric crews will work diligently to restore power as quickly as possible.
The utility also has developed 10 safety tips that electric customers should follow to protect themselves and their homes. These safety tips point out information customers may not know or may have forgotten from past hurricanes, tropical storms and weather-related events:
If the power goes out, unplug appliances and electronics to prevent possible storm-related damage.
Do not run a generator in the house or in the garage, nor plug it directly into a home’s main electrical system. The first two could lead to suffocation and the third could send an electrical charge back to the power grid, creating an electrocution hazard for utility workers.
Set up generators outside in a well-ventilated area and plug individual appliances directly into the generator or have a licensed electrician install a generator outlet.
Always carry proper identification to pass through neighborhood identification check points in the event access is restricted to residents and homeowners only.
A home’s weatherhead should be inspected for damage after a severe weather event. The weatherhead is located above the electric meter where the electrical wires exit the conduit. The weatherhead is the homeowner’s responsibility, and utility workers cannot reconnect service if it is damaged. Contact a licensed electrician for repairs.
Utilities typically cannot respond to customers with special needs during or immediately after a storm. Have an evacuation plan and know special needs shelter locations.
Plan a hurricane evacuation route by visiting www.FloridaDisaster.org.
Collect water in your water heater by turning off power to the unit and closing the water valve. If you lose water pressure, approximately 40 gallons of fresh water will be stored in the tank. Fill bathtubs and the washing machine with water for cleaning and to operate toilets.
Clear patios, decks and yards of lawn furniture, toys, potted plants and other items that could blow away and cause damage or injury.
Locate shut-off valves and locations for gas, water and electricity in the event they need to be turned off.
Create a hurricane survival kit that includes first aid supplies, drinking water (at least one gallon per person, per day), batteries, flashlights, battery-powered or hand-crank 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. Consider using a hard-wired, corded phone, as cordless phones will not work during a power outage.
“The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us, so we encourage every household to have an emergency plan and a disaster supply kit before the storm hits,” said Eric Weaver, interim director of Ocala Electric Utility. “Preparation is key, not just for every resident in our community, but for your public power utility as well. Ocala Electric Utility has been making investments to strengthen our electric system, ensuring we are ready when severe weather strikes.”