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Duke Energy prepares for Hermine, reminds customers to stay safe

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Duke Energy is getting ready for Hermine.

As Florida’s Gulf Coast faces Tropical Storm Hermine – upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as of 3 p.m. Thursday – Duke meteorologists are carefully monitoring the storm’s path and say they ready to respond as necessary.

Duke’s detailed storm response includes more than 1200 line technicians, tree resources, and service crews dispatched to areas expected to bear the brunt of Hermine, which is projected to make landfall early Friday.

While monitoring the storm and available resources, Duke sent the first group of approximately 735 workers to the North Florida Live Oak staging area Wednesday morning. Through the rest of the week and into the weekend, the utility will continue to examine its inventory levels and supplies to ensure there are adequate materials for repairs and to restore power outages quickly.

Also, Duke suggests customers make all necessary storm preparations and remain ready for “whatever mother nature delivers.”

Duke’s safety reminders include:

— Checking supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc. Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA radio is on hand.

– Be prepared in the event you lose power for an extended period of time. Families who have special medical needs or elderly members should carefully monitor weather forecasts and make plans for potential alternate arrangements should an extended outage occur.

– With downed trees, come downed power lines. Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy and your local police department.

– If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.

– Downed lines will be hard to see in the rain and can potentially be hidden in standing water.  If you encounter large pools of standing water, stop, back up and choose another path.

– Torrential rains in Duke’s service area will make roads treacherous and visibility poor. If at all possible, avoid unnecessary travel on rain-soaked roads, as cars hitting utility poles can be a significant cause of power outages during severe weather.

– Utility crews will also be hard to see in rainy conditions. If you see utility crews working along the road, move over or slow down. Help keep them safe so they can help restore service to our customers.

– If you are driving and encounter emergency responders or other roadside work crews, remember to MOVE OVER, it’s the law in Florida and good practice for all drivers.

Reporting outages:

Customers who experience an outage during the storm should access the automated outage-reporting system as follows:

– Call 800.228.8485

– Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).

– Visit www.duke-energy.com/outages.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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