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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

9 safety tips to prepare for the 2023 hurricane season

The 2023 hurricane season has arrived, and Ocala Electric Utility is reminding customers to stay safe, be prepared, and to have a plan.

OEU recommends that electric customers follow these nine safety tips to protect themselves and their homes from hurricanes, tropical storms, and other weather-related events:

  1. When using a portable generator, do not run a generator in the house, in the garage, or plug a generator directly into a house’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. Instead, it is important to 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.
  2. If you or a loved one has special needs, it is important to have an evacuation plan and know special needs shelter locations.
  3. Click here to plan a hurricane evacuation route.
  4. Clear patios, decks, and yards of lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, and other items that could blow away and cause damage or injury.
  5. Always carry proper identification to pass through neighborhood identification check points in the event that access is restricted to residents and homeowners only.
  6. A home’s weatherhead should be inspected for damage after a severe weather event. The weatherhead is located above the electric meter, which is where the electrical wires exit the conduit. The weatherhead is the homeowner’s responsibility, and utility workers are unable to reconnect service if it is damaged. Contact a licensed electrician for repairs.
  7. Collect water in your water heater by turning off the 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 operating toilets.
  8. Locate shut-off valves and locations for gas, water, and electricity in the event that they need to be turned off.
  9. 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.

“OEU encourages you and your family to be safe and prepared this storm season. It is never too soon to start preparing for potentially severe weather,” stated Doug Peebles, Ocala Electric Utility’s Director. “Make sure to download your free Storm Preparation Guide today and have an emergency family plan.”

To download the free Storm Preparation Guide, view and report a power outage, or receive power outage notifications, visit the Ocala Electric Utility website. If a storm affects Ocala/Marion County, it is important to stay away from downed power lines – do not come into contact with them. Crews will work diligently to restore power as quickly as possible.