bulb_web.jpgWith June marking the beginning of hurricane season and greatly increased potential for severe weather events, Florida Power and Light is a key source for electricity-related tips that help keep individuals, families and businesses safe especially before, during and after.

Before storm threatens: Before storm season gets in gear, have trees properly trimmed to minimize their potential impact on your home and neighborhood. Make sure debris is cleared prior to a hurricane warning announcement when trash pickup is suspended.

Do not attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near any overhead power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. Check your local listings to locate a contractor qualified to trim vegetation around power lines.

If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining medical equipment, review your family emergency plan for backup power or make arrangements to relocate when a storm warning is issued.

Preparing for an  approaching storm: Before lowering a TV antenna or satellite dish, make sure to turn off and unplug the TV, and avoid power lines. Turn off all swimming pool pumps and filters, and wrap them in waterproof materials. Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings ahead of time to keep food fresh longer in the event of a power outage. Turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment.

When working on a ladder, look up and note the location of power lines before you begin. Be sure that ladders or scaffolds are far enough away so that you — and the ends of the tools you’re using — don’t come within 10 feet of power lines.

When is it safe? Stay away from standing water and debris, which could potentially conceal a live wire. Don’t venture out in the dark because you might not see a downed power line that could be energized and dangerous.

Watch for downed power lines. Call 911 or FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE to report fallen power lines that present a clear and imminent danger to you or others. Do not attempt to touch any electrical power lines, and keep your family away from them. Always assume that every power line is energized.

If your roof or windows leak, water in your walls and ceiling may come into contact with electrical wiring. Immediately turn off your circuit breakers, disconnect all electrical appliances that are still plugged in, and turn off all wall switches. Remember, never stand in water while operating switches or unplugging any electrical device.

Generator tips: Never run generators inside your home or garage, as they produce potentially deadly carbon-monoxide fumes. Keep generators away from all open windows, including neighbors’ windows, to prevent deadly exhaust from entering a home or business.

Buy a battery-operated carbon-monoxide alarm, which will alert you if carbon-monoxide levels become dangerous. Always thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid dangerous shortcuts and ensure the safe operation of your generator.

Don’t directly connect your generator to your home’s wiring. Power from a generator connected to a home’s wiring will “back feed” into utility lines, potentially severely injuring or killing a neighbor or utility crew working to restore power.

Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator. Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator’s rated wattage. Don’t touch a generator if you are wet or are standing in water or on damp ground. Never refuel a hot generator or one that is running – hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline. Ensure you have plenty of gas for operation stored safely in gas containers.

Preparation Checklist:

Keep your family or business safe with a plan that includes evacuation routes, special medical needs, supplies and important phone numbers including the  following checklist can help you and your family prepare:Update the phone number and e-mail address on your FPL account for faster service. When you call, computers recognize your phone number and automatically match it to your FPL account.

Keep a copy of your FPL bill with you. Having your FPL account number handy will help us serve you quickly. By calling 1-800-4 OUTAGE and entering your account number, you will be able to receive information through our automated system.

Call your local emergency management office if you or anyone you know has special needs in case of evacuation. Emergency operations officials urge residents to prepare to be self-sufficient for up to 14 days. Keep a battery-operated radio with you and a two-week supply of fresh batteries. A battery-operated radio may be the only way you will receive emergency public information during a disaster.

Also stock up on:

• non-perishable food

• extra batteries 

• medications

• baby supplies

• pet food

• Purchase bottled water. The American Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day.

• Check emergency equipment:

• flashlights

• battery-operated radios

• extension cords

• emergency generators

If your preparation plans include the operation of a portable generator in the event of an outage, after the storm has passed, be sure to set it up outside and connect appliances directly to it. Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause injuries. It’s also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm inside your home.

Install an approved hurricane shutter system over windows and doors, or use alternate coverings such as plywood.

Trim trees that are not near power lines and clear debris. Once a hurricane warning is announced, trash pickup is suspended. For more information on our tree trimming policies, visit fpl.com/residential/trees

Restoration Priorities: If a storm strikes, FPL will provide updated restoration time estimates and other progress reports on its website: (FPL.com/storm), Twitter (twitter.com/insideFPL), Facebook (facebook.com/FPLconnect), YouTube (youtube.com/FPL), FPL’s blog (FPLblog.com) and FPL’s Power Tracker (FPL.com/powertracker).