Palm Coast - While we can't control the weather during Hurricane Dorian, there is plenty we can do to keep ourselves and our family's safe during and after the storm.
- As the winds pick up, stay indoors - even between bands or when it's calm as the eye passes. Trees will be weakened by all the rain and will be falling, and the wind will be blowing all kinds of debris. Wait for the "all-clear" from emergency officials before venturing outside.
- While you're indoors, keep away from windows. Close interior doors and brace exterior doors.
- If you lose power, do not use candles. The fire danger is too great. Stick to your battery-operated devices.
- Do not open the refrigerator door except when necessary. Throw out any spoiled or suspect food, or any food that gets wet from flooding.
- Wash your hands with soap frequently, especially before and after handling food.
- If your power goes out, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and hot water heater to reduce damage when electricity is restored.
- Don't burn charcoal inside a house or garage, including in a fireplace. It can produce carbon monoxide which is colorless and odorless. CO can kill.
- Never leave an automobile running in the garage, even with the garage door open.
- Once the storm has passed, look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken glass and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud will be slippery.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is a major killer in wind events. Electrical current can travel through water. Moving ladders around hot power lines is extremely dangerous. Report downed power lines to Florida Power & Light: 1-800-4-OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243).
- Remember there are animal hazards such as snakes, rodents (and other small animals), fire ants and scorpions. Any or all of these creatures could have entered homes and buildings looking for shelter, or may be in your yard but not in their normal spots.
- Clean and dry everything that got wet, as flood waters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads and commercial buildings.
- Do not wade through standing water. If you do, bathe and put on clean clothes as soon as possible. Do not allow open cuts or sores to come into contact with flood waters; if they do, keep them as clean as possible by washing well with soap to avoid infection. If the wound develops redness, swelling or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of hurricane deaths, and most of these drownings occur during flash floods. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a pole or stick to make sure that the ground is still there while walking through a flooded area, even where the water is not flowing.
- Do not let children play in or around high water, storm drains or ditches. Besides drowning risks, the water could be contaminated. Additionally, debris and other hazards may not be visible beneath the surface.
- Stay off the roads until they're cleared by Fire and Public Works officials. City crews will be out right after the storm, removing trees from roadways and looking for downed power lines to be addressed by Florida Power & Light. Give City crews time to make the roadways safe.
- The City of Palm Coast would like to remind residents that if they lose electric power they should reduce water consumption as much as possible with the goal of having the least amount of water going down the drain.
- It is especially important for residents with PEP tanks (Pretreatment Effluent Pumping System) to drastically decrease water usage if they lose electricity. PEP tanks will not empty into the wastewater system if there is no power. If the tank fills to capacity, there is a risk it could back up into your home.
- If power is lost, whether you're on the gravity sewer system or have a PEP tank, do not do laundry. Flush as infrequently as possible. Put as little water down your sinks and showers as possible.
- If your PEP tank alarm goes off, please call Palm Coast Customer Service at 386-986-2360. A crew will be dispatched as soon as it's safe to do so. Palm Coast Utility has a comprehensive plan for returning full function back to the wastewater system. With a combination of tank trucks and generators, the city will utilize all efforts to pump down the system as much as possible until such time full power is restored.
- Never use a generator indoors - not even in the garage.
- Be sure the generator isn't close to a window, door or vent, and don't use a generator in high winds. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
- Follow the directions supplied with the generator.
- Make sure the exhaust port points away from the house and is at least five feet from any opening of the home.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
- Turn generator off and allow it to cool before refueling.
- Generator fuel should not be stored in living areas.
- Do not handle wet electric cords while the cords are energized.
- When approaching a flashing traffic signal light, be prepared to stop if necessary. The side with the flashing yellow light can proceed with caution without being required to stop whereas the side with the flashing red light is required to stop and only proceed when it is safe to do so.
- When approaching a traffic signal light that is not operational (all lights are off), all traffic is required to come to a stop and then only proceed when it is safe to do so.
- With wet roads, please slow your speed and increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
- Whenever windshield wipers are required due to rain or low visibility, headlights are also required to be switched on.
- If you need to use your high beam headlights in low light areas remember to dim them when traffic approaches from the opposite direction or when you come up behind another vehicle.
- Please be aware of standing water on the roadway. If you cannot see the roadway underneath the water be careful as there may be holes that could damage your vehicle or worse get you stuck. Proceed with caution and if the water level approaches the bottom of the vehicle doors consider turning around and not proceeding.
Please continue to check the City's website at www.palmcoastgov.com for additional City announcements about the storm.
The City will provide information throughout on these social media accounts:
The Flagler County Emergency Operations Center call-in center number is 386-586-5111. Flagler County Emergency Management is posting storm information at: http://www.flaglercounty.org/emergency_information/emergency_management/index.php
Any questions about City of Palm Coast services - water and sewer, streets, drainage - should be directed to Customer Service at 386-986-2360.
The City of Palm Coast's Lead Traffic Technician Tyler Gibson explains some important traffic safety reminders in a video at the following link: