Storm Preparedness Tips

While serious weather conditions cannot be prevented, preparation can go a long way toward keeping our employees, customers and communities safe. Florida Public Utilities (FPU) works year-round to be sure we’re ready for all types of severe weather. We’re committed to the safety of our utility assets, our people and our communities and we urge you to be prepared and learn more about being safe in the event of a major storm.

Before a Storm

  1. Have a plan to move yourself and your family — especially those with special needs.
  2. Have a portable radio, TV or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor important information.
  3. Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency supply.
  4. Get cash or travelers checks in case banks or ATMs are not operational.
  5. Ensure all of your electronic/mobile devices are fully charged.
  6. Gather important documentation and place in waterproof containers.
  7. Plan for pets. Emergency shelters may not let you bring your animals with you.
  8. Find out where the nearest shelter is located and the routes to get there.
  9. Fill your automobile(s) with gas or ensure your electric vehicle is charged.
  10. If you have an emergency power source, learn how to use it properly. Review generator safety tips.
  11. Prepare an Emergency Kit with:
  • Nonperishable food
  • Manual can opener
  • Disposable plates, cups and utensils
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlights/lanterns with spare batteries
  • Five gallons of water per person
  • Rubber boots and sturdy shoes
  • Prescription medicines
  • Pet supplies
  • Cell phone and chargers
  • Non-electric clock
  • Baby supplies
  • Blankets

During a Storm

  1. Disconnect or turn off any nonessential electrical equipment that may start automatically when power is restored to avoid overloading circuits.
  2. Even if you’re evacuating, there’s no need for you to turn off your natural gas service at the meter. Your service will likely operate uninterrupted throughout the storm.
  3. Do not open freezers or refrigerators more than necessary. Opening will allow food to thaw more quickly.
  4. Follow instructions and guidance of emergency management officials.
  5. In case of strong winds, stay away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Seek shelter in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor.
  6. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  7. If using a generator during an electrical outage, customers should refer to the manufacturer’s instruction manual for information on proper venting and operation.

After a Storm

  1. Stay away from downed power lines and areas that may be hiding lines, such as floodwater and debris.
  2. Look for damage that may prevent your power from being restored and have a licensed electrician make repairs if needed.
  3. Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker fuse box, as it could backfeed on power lines.
  4. Only operate a generator outside and connect appliances directly to it.
  5. Take photos or videotape your home for inventory and record losses.
  6. Watch out for debris-filled streets. Do not travel until it is safe.
  7. Don’t use grills or other outdoor equipment indoors for space heating or cooking. These devices can release poisonous carbon monoxide.
  8. Replenish your supplies in preparation for future storms.
  9. Disconnect/turn off any nonessential electrical equipment that may start automatically when power is restored to avoid overloading circuits.
  10. Keep all outside vents and gas meters clear of debris. Vents need to be clear to ensure appliances can operate safely and efficiently. Meters are specialized apparatus and removing debris from the area assists in protecting the equipment, allowing it to run more efficiently.
  11. Customers should not attempt to reignite a pilot light on appliances. Should a pilot light need attention, customers should call Chesapeake Utilities or a licensed plumber.
  12. Most importantly, please consider your safety and the safety of your family and neighbors when shoveling and working outside in extreme temperatures for an extended period of time.

FPU’s Response

Phone lines are open during storm situations, but please try to keep them free for emergency calls during the initial hours of a storm. The best time to call is after the storm has passed.

You will receive updates on our efforts to restore service from the local media sources, which will help you make the best decisions for you and your family. In the aftermath of a major storm, we will also provide service restoration updates to local radio, TV and newspapers to keep you informed of our progress.

NOTE: In Fernandina Beach, our operations are located on a barrier island that is evacuated in the event of a hurricane. Therefore, calls will not be responded to until after the storm.

How FPU Restores Power After a Storm
FPU crews are specially trained technicians whose job is to get your power restored quickly. After a storm, FPU assesses the damage. Then our crews restore electricity to the community so that the most critical services are restored first. Examples of high-priority objectives include:

  • Damaged power lines directly linked to our electric substations, which must be fixed before all other services can be restored
  • Organizations that provide essential services to the community, such as:
  • Hospitals, fire stations and police stations
  • TV and radio stations responsible for emergency communications
  • Emergency assistance services, such as the Red Cross
  • Designated sewage and water utilities
  • Airports, electronically operated bridges and rapid transit systems

If someone at your home is reliant upon medical equipment that requires power immediately, it’s advised to go to the nearest medical facility if you fear your medical equipment lacks adequate backup.