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Clay Electric urges members to prepare for 2013 hurricane season

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins Saturday and lasts through Nov. 30. While there are no storms on the horizon, it’s a good time for members to think about putting together a plan in the event a major storm heads toward North Florida.

“It’s been nearly a decade since a major hurricane hit our service area,” said Wayne Mattox, manager of the cooperative’s Communications Division. “Forecasters are predicting this will be an active storm season. We’re encouraging our members to not be complacent. The best time to prepare for the next storm is now, while the weather is calm.”

In the event of a major outage, Clay Electric will work quickly to restore power as soon as it is safe to do so. The cooperative’s restoration plan is designed to restore power to the most members in the quickest and safest manner possible. A thorough assessment of system damage is performed as soon as weather conditions allow, and this helps co-op personnel establish the most effective repair efforts. Essential services, such as hospitals, law enforcement, shelters and some key retail outlets will be given priority status in the restoration process because they are vital to community safety, health and well-being.

Clay Electric Cooperative offers lots of information to help its members prepare for the possibility a hurricane may strike North Florida. The co-op’s free Hurricane Preparedness Guide offers members some helpful tips, including:

  • Make sure you have everything on your hurricane checklist, including a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a manual can opener, and at least a three-day supply of drinking water.
  • Have a first-aid kit on hand for emergencies.
  • Keep a corded telephone nearby in case power is lost.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to colder settings if power is lost to maximize efficiency. Also, freeze water in the largest containers you have room for in your freezer; larger blocks of ice last longer than ice in cubes or chunks.
  • Have a supply of canned foods on hand, plus special medicines.
  • If you plan to evacuate, have important papers with you, such as insurance for home and auto.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, be familiar with its safe operation. Run it for only a few hours at a time, operate it in a well-ventilated area, and never leave it running while the house is unoccupied. Also, never connect the generator to your home wiring circuitry, because power from the generator could backfeed into the co-op’s distribution system and create a very dangerous situation for neighbors or repair crews.

If your power is lost, remember to turn off your appliances so they are not overloaded when power is restored. You should also leave an outside light on so you and the repair crews in your area know when your power has been restored. If your neighbors have power and you don’t, check your breakers before calling to report the outage.

According to the National Hurricane Center, based on historical data, the average number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes per year is 12, 6 and 3, respectively.

The list of names for 2013 is as follows: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

Visit Clay Electric’s website to read the 2013 Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Copies of the Preparedness Guide are also available at the cooperative’s six district offices. The guide contains a hurricane checklist, information on generator safety, helpful websites and a hurricane tracking map to help members stay safe during storm season.

To report a power outage, call the co-op’s toll free number at 1-888-434-9844.