With Hurricane season looming, Duke Energy Florida is worried that residents will be caught unprepared.
“Last year we did a survey of our customers, an online survey, and we found that six out of 10 of them did not have a hurricane plan, and most of them did not know their evacuation route,” said Suzanne Grant, spokeswoman for the Florida energy company.
Duke provides power to approximately 1.7 million Florida customers.
Grant emphasized the importance of maintaining personal generators, having canned goods, water and extra prescription medicine available before a storm hits.
Duke Energy held a demonstration, Wednesday, to teach first responders the essentials of power line safety. They will hold another demonstration in Clearwater next week before the hurricane season begins June 1.
People without the proper training are urged to avoid any downed lines and instead report them to the power company. Grant warned that even power lines that do not appear to be electrified should be avoided.
“It could just be a downed line across the city street and it looks very harmless, but in reality that thing is deadly,” Grant said. “Many people really expect that the line is going to be broken, that they are going to see sparks, they are going to hear popping and cracking, and booms and that just isn’t always the case.”
To better communicate with their customers, Duke Energy Florida created an outage alert service. Customers who have their mobile number registered with their accounts can text “REG” to 57801 in order to begin using the system.
The company also uses Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook to update their customers about power restoration efforts after the event of a hurricane.