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FMEA ISSUES ONE DOZEN HURRICANE SEASON TIPS

05/26/2010 ~ The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) recently released “One Dozen Hurricane Season Tips” outlining important yet often overlooked safety tips that Floridians can follow before, during, and after a hurricane hits.

FMEA and the 34 municipal electric utilities it represents, including Keys Energy Services, used insight gained during past hurricane seasons to develop the helpful tips. In past hurricane emergencies, FMEA and its members mobilized to restore power quickly and safely to customers around the state.

One Dozen Hurricane Season Tips:

1. 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.

2. Remember the “three don’ts” when using generators: DON’T run a generator in the house; DON’T run a generator in 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. DO run the generator outside in a well-ventilated area and DO plug individual appliances directly into the generator.

3. If your home is flooded, turn off your electrical power until a professional inspects it thoroughly.

4. If you smell gas, evacuate immediately and contact your gas company’s emergency phone number.

5. 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.

6. After the storm, check to see if your home’s weatherhead is damaged – it is located above the electric meter where the wires come out of the pipe/riser. 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.

7. Utilities often cannot respond to individual 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.

8. Visit www.FloridaDisaster.org to determine your hurricane evacuation route.

9. 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 toilets.

10. 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. Bring these items indoors or place them in a garage.

11. Prior to the storm, identify the places around your home where you can shut off your gas, water, and electricity. In an emergency, you may need to turn them off quickly.

12. 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 hardwire, corded phones. Cordless phones will not work during a power outage.

For more hurricane preparedness tips and information, log on to www.KeysEnergy.com and click on “Storm Center”.

About FMEA: The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than three-million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.

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