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Storm season 2015 begins


CHELCO has reviewed its emergency plan to prepare for the 2015 storm season. Do you have your plan and supplies ready?

"When a hurricane is 48 hours from landfall is not the best time to start preparing," said CHELCO Vice President of Engineering Matthew Avery. "Hurricanes can be stressful, and there is no need to increase the stress level by not being prepared."

So with safety in mind, here are some measures you can take to prepare for severe weather.

Storm preparation:

• Make sure CHELCO has your current contact information on file. Check your bill to see if the phone number we have associated with your account is correct. Our phone system can handle more member calls in cases of severe weather if we have your correct number. Also, do we have your cell phone number? You can change the phone number by accessing your account from our website, or you can call (850) 892-2111 to update your information.

• We would also appreciate having your email address to send you our monthly e-mail newsletter, which includes updates related to hurricane preparedness and power restoration in the event of a storm.

• Put together an emergency kit and plan. Suggestions for hurricane kits can be found online or in articles in local newspapers. Your plan should include an agreed meeting place should you become separated. Communicate the plan with friends and family.

• Know the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you prepare for the storm surge and tidal flooding.

• Be prepared to secure your home with shutters or boards on windows. Lumber will be hard to locate if a hurricane approaches. Clean your gutters now. Find a way to bring lawn furniture inside or to secure it.

• Learn your community hurricane evacuation routes, and keep enough gas in your vehicle to evacuate if necessary.

During the storm:

• Listen to the radio or TV for information, if possible.

• Avoid using the phone, unless there is an emergency. Cell service is likely to be affected by call volume.

• Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, keep the refrigerator thermostat on the coldest setting and keep the doors closed.

After the storm:

• Be aware of lines or cables lying on the ground. "Most people are not able to determine if the line or cable poses a danger, so it is best to avoid them altogether," said CHELCO Vice President of Operations Donny Fugate.

• Call 911 or any CHELCO office to report downed lines.

• Drive only if necessary, and avoid flooded roads. Watch out for fallen objects, downed power lines and weakened walls, bridges or sidewalks.

• Never use a generator inside the home, garage, crawlspace, shed or similar area.