2022 Hurricane Preparation Guide

2022-05-18 Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Preparation

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Page 38 of 47

Page 39 WHAT WILL A SMALL GENERATOR RUN? • A small generator of about 3,000 watts can run a few lights, fans and a refrigerator. If used to start and run only one item at a time, it can run a half-horsepower pump, or a small window air conditioner of about 5,000 BTUs. • Each generator has a rated watt- age, which provides a limit on the appliances it will safely power. • Follow the manufacturer's rec- ommendations for proper use and capacity. Overloading the generator can result in damage to appliances it is powering. Tip: You don't need to run every- thing at the same time; rotating larger items allows the use of a smaller generator, which costs less to buy and is easier to move. GETTING READY FOR STORM SEASON Remove your generator from storage, drain the gasoline from the tank and dispose of it properly. Inspect the fuel line for cracks and replace if necessary. Refi ll the tank with fresh gasoline and run the gen- erator. Add some appliances, e.g., a trouble light, hair dryer, etc., to make sure the generator is operat- ing properly. After the generator has warmed up (about 15 minutes of running), turn o the fuel valve and run the fuel line dry. After the engine stalls, turn o the run switch, change the oil, add fuel stabilizer to the gasoline, drain the carburetor fl oat bowl (and sediment bowl, if installed) and put the generator back in storage. While you are testing the generator, inspect your extension cords to make sure they're in good condition. Replace any cord that has damage. If you had any trouble with the generator during this test, take it to a repair shop so that it can be put in good running order before the hurricane rush. GETTING STARTED • Never refuel a hot generator or one that is running; hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline. • Turn o all connected applianc- es before starting your generator. • Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator's rated wattage. GET THE MOST FROM YOUR GENERATOR • Save gas by using appliances only as needed. If no appliances are running, shut the generator o . • If you're just running a few lights, using other sources may cost less than running the generator. • Don't leave a running generator unattended; turn it o at night and when away from home. Tip: Refrigerators may only need to run a few hours a day to preserve food. Using a refrigerator thermom- eter, aim to maintain 40 degrees in the refrigerator compartment and 0 degrees in the freezer. AFTER STORM SEASON When storm season is over, properly store your generator so it will be ready to go next season when you need it. To store a generator until next season: • Fill the tank with fresh gasoline. • Add the proper amount of fuel stabilizer. • Drain the carburetor fl oat bowl. • Drain the sediment cup (if one is installed). • Change the engine oil if needed. STATIONARY GENERATORS Stationary generators (permanently installed) rely on an automatic transfer switch that senses when power has been interrupted and automatically starts the generator. Conversely, when power has been restored, the generator powers o . Exercising — Stationary generators should be exercised at least twice each month for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. It's best to exercise the generator with at least 40 to 60 percent of its maximum load. If the testing is less rigorous than this, then it should be operated annually on a load bank for an extended period (see below). Load bank testing — This is usually done at the same time as the oil change, if the generator is not tested at least twice per month with the manufacturer's recommended minimum load. It is recommended to load test the generator once per year. The following are the recommended test lengths. • 100 kW and less: 1 hour • 100 to 200 kW: 2 hours • 200 kW and larger: 4 hours FUEL Diesel fuel will deteriorate with age. Under normal conditions, die- sel fuel will last approximately two years. For this reason, the storage tank should be sized so that normal maintenance and testing will use up the fuel within that period. If fuel is stored for longer periods, or in high-moisture areas, a fuel additive can be used to extend fuel life. The additive is a microbicide that will slow the growth of fuel microbes that can plug fuel fi lters and dam- age engines. LPG (liquefi ed petroleum gas) — This type of gas requires on-site storage. It can be stored indefi nitely. The frequency stability of spark-ig- nited engines is not as good as diesel. This may be a consideration when using the generator to serve loads that are frequency sensitive such as uninterruptible power supplies. Natural gas — Natural gas does not require on-site storage. It does have the same frequency stability problems that LPG has. Service — Stationary generators should be looked at and, if neces- sary, serviced twice each year. One visit should include a thorough in- spection, including system diagnos- tics. The other visit should include a thorough inspection, including system diagnostics, an oil change and the replacement of both the oil and fuel fi lters. Stationary generators work in tandem with your electric supply in a virtually seamless operation. As convenient as these generators are, a prudent course of action is to always be prepared in the event of an emergency, particularly an extended power outage. Source: Florida Power & Light You can't trust your senses for protection from carbon monoxide; this deadly gas is invisible and odorless. When buying a generator, also buy a battery- operated carbon-monoxide alarm. It works like a smoke alarm, sounding an alert if carbon-monoxide levels become dangerous. STAFF REPORT When it comes to hurricane evacuation, island residents' most critical decision isn't if, but when. Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties can order evacuations from barrier islands with the ap- proach of a Category 1 or stron- ger hurricane, usually within 24 hours of expected landfall. That order can be issued 48 hours before anticipated landfall for Palm Island, which is acces- sible only by boat. But ultimately, evacuation is a personal decision for each resident. TIMING IS EVERYTHING The decision to stay or go has to be made much earlier for islanders because their avenues for escape are more restricted. Without question, they are going to be the fi rst to be evacuated. They have to have an evacua- tion plan and know when they need to go and where they are going. Responsibility for making that decision is clearly spelled out in the Thornton Key and Palm, Don Pedro, and Knight Islands community plan. It is the jurisdictional county's responsibility to notify residents of a mandatory evacuation. Hurricane evacuation pro- cedures have been outlined by the three primary island advi- sory groups — Manasota Key; Thornton Key/Palm/Don Pedro/ Knight islands; and Gasparilla Island. Timing is everything for island evacuations FILE PHOTO Manasota Key and Gasparilla Island (pictured) have "phased re-entries" after a hurricane has passed. First-phase entry is by emergency offi cials. Next in are util- ity company workers. The third phase is an escorted entry with residents allowed to check their homes and retrieve valuables. Continued on page 41

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