JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As preparations continue throughout Florida for Hurricane Irma, JEA is taking steps to be prepared well ahead of potential power outages.
Gerri Boyce, a spokesperson with JEA, says they are now equipped with drones and licensed operators so they can better assess the damage in order to coordinate efforts to restore power faster.
Regarding generators, people are buying them left and right to power up appliances and lights just in case the power goes out. Authorities warn the public that generators can be dangerous if used incorrectly.
"It's a normal engine you can crank like a lawnmower," said Randy Wyse, the president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.
Wyse says generators are pretty easy and safe to use once they've been powered on, but he cautions that you cannot place the generator inside your home or garage because its engine produces carbon monoxide.
"It can leak into your home and it's a silent killer," he said. "If you go to sleep with the generator running, you may not wake up."
Wyse says you must also keep generators at least 15 feet from your house, preferably under shelter.
"You just want to be careful," he said. "A large awning... would obviously be ok because there's plenty of ventilation."
Even if you have a new generator or a used one, now is the time to make sure it is working properly, he said.
"You don't want to pull it out the day before the storm and pull it and it doesn't start," he said.
- Keep it at least 15 feet from your home
- Test out your generator before the storm hits
- Make sure you have enough gas to power it
- Don't place the generator inside your home or garage
- Don't overload it
- Don't refuel it while it's running