Hurricanes are a fact of life in south Alabama. CEC offers these suggestions on what should be done to protect life and property if a hurricane threatens our area:
- Make plans for action: The best way to cope with a hurricane is to always be prepared for one. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified area in 24 hours or less. If a warning is given, stay tuned to radio or TV for official bulletins. Secure lawn furniture and other loose material outdoors. Fill the bathtub with several days’ supply of drinking water. Turn up refrigerator to maximum cold and don’t open it unless necessary. Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent their lifting from their tracks. Check batteries in flashlights, stock up on canned foods and make sure you have plenty of medical supplies. Windows should be secured with either tape, plywood or shutters.
- Stay or leave? When a hurricane threatens your area, you will have to make the decision whether to evacuate or ride out the storm in the safety of your home. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should drive carefully to the nearest designated shelter using recommended evacuation routes. Make sure the house is locked and the water and electricity is shut off at main stations. Leave food and water for pets, since many shelters do not allow them. Take small valuables with you, but travel light.
- Freezers/refrigerators: Open the freezer and refrigerator doors as little as possible. With freezers that are full, foods can stay frozen up to 72 hours. A half-full freezer can still keep food frozen up to 24 hours after the power goes out. Should the power stay off for several days, dry ice can preserve the food in the freezer.
- Be cautious: During high winds, electric lines can be torn down by limbs and trees. Any dangling line or lines on the ground can be deadly. Call CEC to report a downed line, outage or any hazardous situation. CEC’s crews will be on the job 24 hours a day.
- Generator safety: Portable generators can be very helpful to people during outages, but we urge everyone to follow these safety guidelines when using portable generators.
- Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. This can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including linemen making repairs. Never plug a generator into a regular household outlet. This can also cause back feeding and pose an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer. Always plug appliances directly into generators. Connecting the generator to your home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent back feeding. Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of tears and the plug has all three prongs. Ensure your generator is properly grounded. Never overload a generator. A portable generator should be used only when necessary and only to power essential equipment or appliances. Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down the generator. Keep the generator dry. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure. Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby. Never fuel a generator while it is operating. Read and adhere the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
- We encourage you to keep safety in mind while preparing for a hurricane. This not only includes protecting your family’s safety, but also those coming to your aid during emergency situations like linemen working to restore electric service.