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Importance of a post-storm plan

Importance of a post-storm plan

Having a post-storm plan is equally as importance having an actual storm/emergency plan. Depending on the severity of the storm, there may be substantial damage to deal with. There may also be power outages. Having a post-storm plan in place will make all the difference in dealing with whatever Mother Nature has to offer. Following are some tips to keep in mind when formulating your plan:

• Help keep LCEC’s telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call to report downed power lines. However, if your neighbor’s power has been restored and you are without electricity, please call.
• If your home is served by underground service, check your meter box and pipes for damage.
• Visually check your weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and your meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
• Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
• Any damage to your home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power can be restored.
• If operating a portable generator, keep it in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to your main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and injure you, your neighbors or utility crews working in the area.

For more tips storm safety tips, visit www.lcec.net.

Stay safe during storm season

Tis’ the season where skies go from sunny to scary within minutes. Preparation is key when it comes to weathering storm season in southwest Florida. Below are some tips to help you and yours stay safe during storm season:

• Always keep a battery-operated radio, flashlights, and an adequate supply of new batteries on hand. These will prove to be essential items in the event of a temporary power outage.
• Have a backup source of power ready for anyone requiring life-support equipment (such as a respirator).
• In the event of a power outage, disconnect large appliances and turn off your lights and air conditioner. Once power is restored, having all these appliances come on simultaneously may cause a power surge that could damage them. You may want to leave one light on to let you know when your power is restored.
• Stay away from downed power lines!

If you notice that you are the only home in your neighborhood without electricity, report the outage to your power company. Be sure to check if your breakers are on before you call to report an outage. LCEC customers can call 239-656-2300 or 800-599-2356. One of our representatives or the LCEC Interactive Voice Response system will provide you with as much information as possible.

For more information on how to stay safe during storm season, visit www.lcec.net.

Storm Season Reminders for Those on Life Support

Power outages during storm season are inevitable. Although LCEC works 24/7, 365 days/year to provide reliable electric service, temporary outages can and do occur in inclement weather. While temporary power outages are inconvenient, they can prove extremely dangerous for those on life support devices who are not prepared.

LCEC reminds those on life support to:
• Have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
• Please be responsible for the safe installation, use, and maintenance of a back-up generator or any form of back-up power.
• Keep phone numbers of emergency response agencies, such as the hospital, fire department and police, in a convenient location, in the event emergency assistance is needed.
• Ensure that you have a back-up telephone if you use a cordless or other telephone that is dependent on electricity.
• Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to remain aware of news and other information.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.

For more information on storm season safety, visit www.lcec.net.

Generator Safety Tips from LCEC

Storm season is officially here! As you prepare for a hopefully uneventful storm season, it is important to refresh your generator safety knowledge. Even if you don’t own a generator, knowing how to properly use a generator can help you educate a loved one, neighbor, or even the person behind you in the store. Below are some life-saving tips about safe generator use:

-Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring at the breaker panel or meter.
Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can ‘backfeed’ onto the power lines connected to your home. Utility transformers can then “step-up” or increase this backfeed to thousands of volts—enough to kill a utility lineman making outage repairs a long way from your house. You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.

-The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.

-Never plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet. Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize “dead” power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. Connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated power cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

-Don’t overload the generator. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.

-Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.

-Use the proper power cords. Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Don’t use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding. Make sure the cords from the generator don’t present a tripping hazard. Don’t run cords under rugs where heat might build up or cord damage may go unnoticed.

-Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Don’t cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator’s owner manual.

-To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded. Consult your manufacturer’s manual for correct grounding procedures.

-Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running. Gasoline (and other flammable liquids) should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or electric arcs caused by turning on the lights. Avoid spilling fuel on hot components. Put out all flames or cigarettes when handling gasoline. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator. Never attempt to refuel a portable generator while it’s running.

-Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.

-Avoid getting burned. Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.

-Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.

Visit lcec.net for more helpful hints on storm preparation and much more.

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