Hurricane Information

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One Dozen Hurricane Season Tips

  1. Following a power outage, unplug all 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 you have current identification. You might 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. 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, have a plan in place for evacuating 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 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 can blow around in high winds, causing 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 might need to turn them off quickly.
  12. Create a hurricane survival kit that includes: first aid supplies; water (at least one gallon/person/day); 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 a hardwire, corded phone.  Cordless phones will not work during a power outage.

What To Do And Not Do When The Power Goes Off 

If the lights go off, know what steps to take to be comfortable, safe and help the city restore service quickly.

  • Check your electrical panel.Look for tripped breakers or blown fuses. Try to reset the breakers by switching them OFF then ON.
  • Call City of Starke Operations to report your outage.If the power does not return report it to the city. Also, report any flashes, bangs or trees in lines that can help repair crews locate damage. Our crews will restore your power as soon as safely possible.
  • Turn off major appliances.The electric water heater and heating system breakers need to be turned off to avoid overloading your circuits when the power is restored. Unplug any voltage-sensitive equipment.
    • Verify that your electric water heater has a drain or outlet. Turn off the water supply valve to the water heater. Open at least one, preferably more, hot water faucets to avoid a vacuum in the water lines to allow fresh water to drain out of the water heater for your use.
    • If you drain your water heater, make sure the fuse or breaker to your water heater is removed or turned off.
  • Install surge protectors to protect voltage sensitive equipment.
  • Switch on an outside light.This may assist our crews in determining whether or not your power has been restored late into the night.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.Food in a refrigerator will last 12 to 24 hours if the doors are kept closed. A full freezer can last 24 to 48 hours. Helpful Hint: You can drape a sleeping bag over your refrigerator or freezer for added insulating value in case of an extended power outage.
  • Listen to radio reports. Keep either a battery operated or battery free (hand crank) radio on hand for emergencies. During an extended outage, please listen to the local radio stations for updates and information.


Extended Outage Tips

Remember these tips during an extended outage. It’s easier on everyone involved. We also suggest creating an outage preparedness kit.

  • Please let the line crews do their job.It’s tempting to stop crews and ask questions about when the power is going to be restored, but this only delays the restoration process. Remember that while the crews want to be helpful, they also want to restore your power quickly so they too can get home to their families.
  • Be a good neighbor.Severe storms usually increase the number of accidents and medical problems. Remember this increases the response time for service agencies. You may want to organize people in your area to check on each other and lend assistance.
  • Use portable generators correctly.If not used correctly, portable generators can cause fatal accidents involving the workers on the lines. Plug appliances into the generator. DO NOT connect household breaker circuits to the generator without a “double-throw switch” installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Emergency water sources. Run off from rooftops can be collected and used for washing, but do not drink it. A water heater can supply drinking water. Be sure the breaker is OFF before you drain it, and be sure to fill it before turning the breaker back on. Before You Turn Your Water Heater On:
    • Close the drain or outlet at the bottom of the water heater.
    • Close the faucets in the bathrooms or kitchen.
    • Turn the water supply valve to the water heater back on.
    • Allow the water heater to fill for at least 30 minutes before turning on the breakers. Failure to do so will damage the heating elements in your water heater.
  • Keep the freezer full. Milk jugs filled with water and placed in a half-full freezer can be a supply of both water and ice in an emergency. Also, it will keep the freezer colder longer if it is full. Check into purchasing dry ice to help prevent spoilage.