KUA Stands Ready for 2003 Hurricane Season

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., May 30, 4:00 pm — Hurricane season officially begins on Sunday, June 1, and Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) has fine-tuned its customer service and electricity restoration plans to respond efficiently if a storm strikes.
Each year KUA employees participate in a mock disaster drill to prepare the utility should a hurricane or tropical storm strike somewhere in KUA’s 85-square mile service area. This storm season, all of KUA’s 307 employees were trained as part of the drill.
“Our entire focus following a severe storm or hurricane is to minimize customer inconvenience and restore electricity just as quickly as possible,” said Chris Gent, KUA’s manager of corporate communications.
Immediately after hurricane-force winds diminish, KUA’s crews are dispatched to patrol and assess damage, and begin the complex process of power restoration. KUA has modified its storm plans over the years to improve flexibility in responding to different types of storm situations and to provide more and better information to customers.
“Real events and our annual disaster drill enable us to identify strengths and weaknesses and to put improvements in place on an on-going basis,” Gent said. “We learned from helping others after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Georges in 1998, and we learned from our own experience following Hurricane Erin in 1995.”
To further facilitate its restoration efforts, KUA has increased its inventory of materials, equipment and tools that might be needed to repair storm damage. In addition, KUA has reciprocal contingency plans for assistance that can bring more workers from other utilities and contractors in Florida and from out of state if necessary.
Unlike tornadoes or earthquakes, hurricanes can be tracked prior to making landfall, allowing for advance warning. With this in mind, KUA provides the following tips for preparing for disaster and preventing unnecessary damage:
1. Develop a disaster preparedness kit with non-perishable food, water, battery-operated radio, flashlight, first aid kit, tools, cash, insurance documents and other day-to-day necessities.
2. Make sure your car has a full tank of gas and store a preparedness kit in your car.
3. If evacuation is imminent, lock and board up windows.
4. Stow away small objects that could cause damage in high winds; anchor outdoor objects that cannot be brought inside.
5. Turn off water, gas and electric utilities when leaving your home.
6. Locate the American Red Cross shelter nearest you.
7. Set up a common meeting place in case family members become separated.
8. Always stay informed on the storm’s development.
To keep Central Florida residents ahead of the storm, KUA has developed a series of links to hurricane-related web sites. The links can be found at www.kua.com/hurricane .
If power goes out, KUA advises you to check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your outage might be the result of a household problem. To report an outage call KUA at 407-933-7777.
Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility serving 58,000 electric, water and internet customers in five Central Florida counties.
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Contact: Chris Gent, Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116
cgent@kua.com