Exclamation mark  ATTENTION: As Central Florida reopens, OUC is returning to regular business operations. Service disconnections for non-payment resumed July 13, 2020, and late fees will be reinstated August 3, 2020. If you’re experiencing a financial hardship, we’re here to help with assistance programs.

Storm Generator SafetyStorm & Generator Safety

Electricity is one of our biggest safety risks during a storm. Downed power lines can be a deadly hazard, as can firing up a generator in the wake of a storm. Make sure you understand all of the risks associated with storms and be sure you know how to operate a generator safely.

At OUC, our employees strive to work in a safe manner at all times and we want you to think about safety too. To help you and your family stay safe during storm season, OUC wants you to remember to:

  • Stay away from downed power lines and call OUC immediately at 407-423-9018 to report a problem. Assume the downed line is energized and never touch or try to move it. If someone comes in contact with a downed line, don’t attempt a rescue. Wait until OUC and emergency personnel can respond.
  • Look up first and keep cranes, ladders, tree-pruners, TV antennas and other equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Depending on voltage, electricity can arc to equipment that’s near a power line — even if it’s not touching the line.
  • Never trim trees near power lines.
  • Never climb utility poles or towers.
  • Stay away from electric substation fences and equipment.
  • Avoid flying kites or model airplanes near power lines. If these objects become entangled in a line, they can become a conductor of electricity.
  • Stay calm if your equipment or vehicle comes in contact with a power line. Assume the line is energized and stay in your vehicle unless you are in immediate danger from fire or a moving power line. If you are forced to leave your vehicle, jump as far away from it as you can, landing with both feet together. Be sure no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time. Call 9.1.1 as soon as possible and don’t return to the vehicle until emergency personnel declare it safe.

Follow these tips to avoid storm and cleanup-related injuries:

Before A Storm

  • Monitor local TV and radio broadcasts for up-to-date emergency information.
  • Consult your family emergency plan, identifying meeting places, contact information, and responsibilities.
  • Prepare your home by protecting windows and clearing your patio and yard of lawn furniture, toys, and debris.
  • Locate the nearest shelters.

If you're evacuating...

  • Take cash, credit cards, and important documents.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Contact your local humane society for information on animal shelters.
  • Plan an evacuation route and be prepared to drive 20-50 miles.
  • Turn off electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks to avoid fire or electrocution.

During A Storm

  • Continue to monitor local broadcast media for updates.
  • Do not go outside or drive around.
  • Go to a safe room with few or no windows at the center of the structure.
  • Wait until after the storm to contact OUC about your power outage unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
  • Do not use the dishwasher or washing machine to help prevent overflowing the storm water system.
  • If you lose power, keep your refrigerator doors closed as much as possible to maintain coldness.

After A Storm

  • Obey curfews and don't go out until authorities have declared the area safe.
  • Notify OUC about downed power lines as soon as possible and avoid them. Do not attempt to move or repair power lines.
  • Do not drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the area. If a power line falls across your vehicle while driving, continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not turn off the ignition. Stay in your car, unless it is on fire, and wait for emergency personnel. Do not allow anyone other than emergency personnel to approach the vehicle.
  • If you evacuated and are returning to your home after the storm, make sure the main electrical switch to your home is off before entering the structure.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.
  • Wear proper clothing, including shirts with long sleeves, long pants, and safety shoes or boots, when cleaning up after a storm.
  • Familiarize yourself with proper safety procedures before operating a gas-powered or electric chainsaw.
  • Wear safety glasses and/or face shield and gloves when operating power equipment.
  • Never use a chain-saw overhead or in the vicinity of power lines.
  • Do not trim trees around power lines. Call OUC regarding any trees or limbs near power lines.

Play It Safe With Electricity

Electricity powers industry, provides entertainment, and makes many routine daily tasks possible. Unfortunately, people often forget that electricity can be dangerous — even deadly. Electricity always seeks the easiest path to the ground. If you touch equipment that is in contact with a power line, for instance, electricity can instantly pass through you, causing a potentially fatal shock. By using the safety guidelines below, you can avoid accidents and enjoy the many benefits of electricity.

Tips to stay safe near overhead power lines:

  • Keep equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Call before working or lifting. If you think power lines may interfere with your project, call us at 407-423-9018 at least two days before beginning.
  • Don’t prune near power lines.  Pruning trees around power lines should only be attempted by trained professionals.  To request trimming for tree you fear may affect power lines near your home or property, click here.
  • Don’t plant vegetation to grow up or near utility poles or wires.
  • Fly kites, model planes and balloons in wide-open spaces like a field or on a beach.
  • Never take it upon yourself to retrieve items tangled in power lines. Instead, call OUC for help.
  • Never touch a downed power line. If you see one, contact OUC immediately.

The 10-Foot Rule

Always keep cranes, ladders, tree-pruners, TV antennas and other equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Depending on voltage, electricity can arc to equipment that's near a power line — even if it's not touching the line. Other important reminders:

  • Never climb trees near power lines.
  • Never climb utility poles or towers.
  • Stay away from electric substation fences and equipment (they contain high voltage).
  • Don't fly kites or model airplanes near power lines if these objects become entangled in a line, their strings can become a conductor of electricity.

Stay Calm, Stay Alive

If your equipment or vehicle comes in contact with a power line, don't panic. Assume the line is energized and stay in your vehicle unless you are in immediate danger from fire or a moving power line.

If you are forced to leave your vehicle, jump as far away from the vehicle as you can, landing with both feet together. Be sure that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time. Call 911 as soon as possible and don't return to the vehicle until emergency personnel say it's safe.

Downed Lines Can Be Deadly

Stay away from downed power lines and call OUC immediately at 407-423-9018 to report any such problem. Assume the downed line is energized and never touch or try to move a downed line. If a co-worker comes in contact with a downed line, don't attempt a rescue. Wait until OUC and emergency personnel can respond.

Look Up First

Remember to look up when working near overhead power lines. If power lines may interfere with your work, call OUC at 407-423-9018 at least two business days before beginning the job. OUC can explain the safest way to perform the work.

Call Before You Dig

Before beginning any excavation work, call Sunshine State One at 800-432-4770 to determine where underground pipes and electric lines are located. Law requires diggers to call this number at least two days before starting excavation, whether it's a project involving heavy equipment or a simple backyard landscaping job.

Other Important Safety Tips

  • Never use an electric appliance in the tub, shower, or when standing on a wet surface.
  • Never touch an electric cord or appliance while your hands are wet.
  • Don't overload electric outlets with too many plugs.
  • Avoid using extension cords, especially to connect a light or appliance permanently.
  • If you have small children, cover wall outlets with plastic safety caps.
  • Never insert a metal object into a toaster or other appliance.
  • When replacing a burned-out fuse in your home's service panel or "circuit breaker box," shut off the main power switch first. Restore power after installing a new fuse of the correct rating.

Tips on Water During Hurricanes

In recent years, OUC water customers in Orlando have not experienced a storm-related loss of water pressure. Should there be water issues following a hurricane or major storm, remember to follow these guidelines:

  • Have bottled water on hand to last several days — one gallon of water per person per day.
  • If you are not sure your tap water is safe, boil water vigorously for 1-3 minutes.
  • If you can’t boil water, add eight drops of new, unscented liquid bleach per gallon of water, stir well and let stand for 30 minutes before using.
  • OR use water-purifying tablets from your local pharmacy or sporting goods store.

Operating A Generator Safely

If you plan to use a generator in the event of a power outage, remember these tips to keep you, your family, your neighbors and OUC's line crews safe:

  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord.
  • Avoid plugging the generator directly into your home because it could re-energize the power lines, endangering your neighbors and utility crews working to restore power in your area.
  • Be aware it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home's electrical circuits without the approved automatic-interrupt devices.
  • Place the generator outside your home and away from open windows and doors to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Do not use a generator in rainy or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface and use a canopy-like structure to keep out moisture.
  • Always read the instructions carefully and consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns.
  • View and download this U.S. Consumer Product Safety Alert regarding portable generator hazards.

While we typically have days to prepare in advance of a hurricane’s approach, tornadoes can spin off from a thunderstorm or hurricane with little to no warning, cutting a swath of destruction in mere moments. This storm season make sure your family is ready in the event a tornado touches down in your area.

A tornado watch lets you know that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. If your area is under a tornado watch:
  • Listen to your local radio stations and watch your local news.
  • Stay alert, watch for signs a tornado is approaching.
  • Dark, often greenish clouds
  • Wall cloud
  • Cloud of debris
  • Large hail
  • Funnel cloud
  • Roaring noise
  • Be ready to take shelter.
  • A tornado warning means one has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
  • Find shelter. Stay away from windows. Go to the lowest point of your house or go to a room or hallway that doesn’t have windows. As a last resort, get under heavy furniture and stay away from windows.
  • If you’re outside and can’t find shelter, try to find the lowest point in the ground, such as a ditch. Cover your head with your hands or blanket if possible.

After a tornado:

  • If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns rather than candles if your power is out.
  • Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, garage or camper—or even outside near an open window, door or vent. Carbon monoxide (CO) — an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled — from these sources can build up in your home and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.  

Store Audio Files on Music Players, PDAs, and Cell Phones for Instant Access

With another hurricane season on the horizon, audio safety tips from OUC—The Reliable One will be music to your ears.

OUC’s audio downloads let you conveniently store pre-storm information, post-storm tips, and the answers to frequently asked questions in your iPod, MP3 player, PDA, or cell phone. Simply follow the download instructions below and keep these hurricane tips, emergency phone numbers, and safety messages at your fingertips.

If a hurricane strikes Central Florida this season, these audio downloads allow you to instantly access important storm information no matter where you are. Please take a few minutes to listen to the tips and download them to your preferred storage device.

To Download

For PCs: Right-click a link. Choose "Save Target as" or "Save File As ..." and once the audio downloads, load it to your audio device. For Macs: Click on the link and hold down the mouse button. Choose "Save Target as ..." or "Save File As ..." and once the audio downloads, load it to your audio device.