Hurricanes

SEACOAST UTILITY AUTHORITY HURRICANE GUIDE

When A Storm Threatens:

  • Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
  • Keep a supply of cooking and eating implements that can be used in the absence of running water and electricity, such as:
    • Plastic utensils, paper cups & plates.
    • Manual can and bottle openers.
    • A heating source, such as a camp stove or canned heat stove, and extra fuel.
  • Plenty of plastic garbage bags.
  • Flashlights, battery operated radio, and plenty of batteries.
  • Monitor TV, radio, & newspapers for emergency information.
  • Multimedia announcements will be your only way to learn about boil water requirements during & after a disaster.

During a Hurricane Watch & Warning:

  • Thoroughly clean the bathtub, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils.
  • Fill your bathtub and any other large containers with water for washing, cleaning and flushing the toilet.
  • Have one gallon of water per person, per day available to meet your drinking & cooking needs for a two week period.
  • Nonperishable food.
  • Do not lower the water level in your swimming pool, or it may pop out of the ground.
  • Refill special medications.
  • Fill your car with gas.
  • Put up shutters, siding or plywood on windows.
  • Put important documents in a safe dry place.
  • Locate insurance information.
  • Charge rechargeable items.
  • Secure boats.
  • Move cars into garage or near building, away from trees.
  • Clear patio and yard of loose objects.
  • If you have cable, get out your set-top antenna.
  • Move valuables off of the floor.
  • Cover or move furniture away from windows.

During Storm:

  • Close all interior doors.
  • Don't open any windows.
  • If necessary, cover yourself with a mattress.
  • Closely monitor radio & TV.
  • Stay off phone.
  • Do not light candles or kerosene lanterns.
  • If the wind dies down, you may only be in the eye of the storm, do not go outside, wait for the all-clear.

After the Hurricane:

    • Open all doors and windows so gases can escape.
    • If appliances are wet, do not try and use them until they are dry.
    • Watch for snakes & insects.
    • Watch or listen to news for all clear to drink water.  After an all clear flush pipes for 3 minutes or until water runs clear.  Carefully follow any boil water instructions.
    • Make sure children/pets do not consume food or water that may be contaminated.
    • Check electric, gas and water connections before turning them on.
    • Check for sewer and water line damage.  If you suspect lines, not on your property, are damaged contact Seacoast.  If the service lines on your property are damaged contact a plumber.
    • Unnecessary cell phone usage during a crisis can be a hindrance.  Loaded circuits make it very difficult to communicate with emergency crews.  This can make it almost impossible to get the water and electric restored.  Please use your cell phone for an emergency only during or after a hurricane.
    • If you have had damage to your home and property then spray paint your telephone number, address & insurance company on a piece of wood or on the side of the house.  Do Not Write Your Policy Number.
    • Start preparing a list of damages.  Take photographs and videos, keep receipts on repairs, supplies, food, hotel etc.  Insurance may reimburse you for most of the expenses.
    • Check your food to make sure it is still ok to eat.
    • When in doubt throw food out.
  1. Bring water to a rolling boil for five (3) minutes before using for culinary (cooking), brushing your teeth, or drinking purposes.
  2. Water not being used for the above purposes does not have to be boiled. This means that water used to wash dishes, do the laundry, or to bath does not need to be boiled.
  3. If you have an ice maker or public drinking water fountain, turn it off and do not turn it back on until the “precautionary boil water advisory” has been lifted. You may prefer to dump the first load of ice from the ice maker and /or run the water in the water fountain for 3 minutes.
  4. Continue this procedure until further notice.
  5. Monitor media reports and newspapers for updates, and remember that you can visit this web site or call 561-622-3454 or 561-627-2900 for a phone message with the latest status regarding a “boil water advisory”.
  6. Use small water bottles (10 to 24 oz) to freeze. They keep your items in your ice chest cool longer,  they do not melt all over your food supplies, and you can drink the cool water after it melts.
  7. Make a storm check list for your family and you will also find one for the kids.
  8. Remember to fill your bathtub(s) and your washing machine if you fill you might need it to flush toilets and wash dishes, etc.
  9. Wash up all your clothes before the storm, and have your laundry caught up. Please do not wait to wash during and immediately after the storm when the sewer system is strained.
  10. Be sure to have unscented chlorine bleach available during hurricane season.
  11. CALL SEACOAST MESSAGE LINE: 561-627-2900 FOR UPDATES ON YOUR WATER & SEWER SYSTEM. If there is a “boil water advisory” in effect, you can check daily for the status and directions.
  • After service is restored, we suggest that you flush your internal lines.  This can be accomplished by opening your faucets and allowing the water to run until all the air is expelled, and the water runs clear.
  • If you have an ice maker, a public drinking fountain or a beverage fountain, turn it off, and do not turn it back on until the "Boil Water" is over and you have flushed your internal lines.
  • Boil water for 1-3 minutes before using for cooking or drinking purposes.
  • Continue to boil drinking water (per instruction 3 for 72 hours after service is restored, or until you are publicly notified that boiling your water is no longer necessary).

Boil Water Instructions

Boil water notices will be issued through the TV, radio, & newspaper media agencies referred to as multimedia Public Service Announcements (PSA's) during large scale disasters.   Multimedia PSA notifications are the quickest & most efficient way to inform the public about public health issues.  If your water service has been interrupted or you have noted a serious decrease in water pressure it is best to boil your water as a precaution.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WATER AND IT’S USES

Q-WHY DO WE HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER?

A-Seacoast generally provides water pressure in the range of 50 – 60 pounds per square inch (psi) at the customer’s meter.  Whenever an incident occurs that reduces pressure to below 20 psi for an extended period, the potential for backflow or back siphoning undesirable material into the drinking water system increases.

To assure that this has not occurred, regulations require public drinking water suppliers to issue a precautionary “boil water” order to their customers.  Such orders are generally in effect for 48 to 72 hours, long enough for the water utility to collect and analyze samples from the affected portion of its system.  If samples indicate bacteriological contamination (as they very rarely do), the utility issues a notice extending the boil water order until testing indicates that water quality is acceptable.

Boiling water as directed in Seacoast’s published notices generally inactivates disease-causing microorganisms if any are present.  It is a precautionary interim disinfection measure which is relatively simple and highly effective, and which provides extra security while laboratory analyses confirming the water’s safety are in progress.

Q-HOW WILL WE KNOW IF WE HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER?

A-Depending upon the number of customers affected, Seacoast issues boil water orders either through the media or by delivering notices to the door of each affected customer.  Clearly, when all 70,000 Seacoast customers are affected, as occurred during the recent hurricane, it is impossible to deliver notices to every door.

The two simplest ways that you can keep current on the status of a “boil water” advisory, provided that you have phone and electric, is to check this web site or call 561-622-3454 or 561-627-2900 to listen to the latest update. During a declared disaster, you will find it most informative to tune in to the continuous broadcasting of your local Emergency Operation Center (EOC). Seacoast is in constant contact with the EOC to update any information regarding your water and sewer service.

Q-WHAT WATER USES REQUIRE BOILING AND HOW LONG DO I BOIL THE WATER?

A-Here are the instructions when a “Boil Water Advisory” has been issued. If you are in doubt whether or not to “boil water”, just follow these simple instructions as a precaution:

Q-WHAT CAN I DO IF I DON’T HAVE ANY ELECTRIC TO BOIL THE WATER?

A-Remember that you are instructed each and every hurricane season to purchase bottled water (7 gallons per person is recommended) for this very reason. If you lose water pressure or a water break completely shuts down your water supply, you are to have bottled water available to drink, brush your teeth and cook with. HOWEVER, do not waste your bottled water on washing dishes or clothes, etc.

It is important to remember that you are instructed at the beginning of a storm to draw water in your bathtub to be used to flush your toilet, wash dishes and clean with, etc. Another item on your supply list should be unscented bleach. Use six (6) or eight (8) drops of bleach per gallon of water that has been drawn and sitting un-refrigerated for over a week (this could be water in your bathtub, etc).

Q-DO I HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER THAT MY PET DRINKS?

A-Only you know your pet’s sanitary habits, and the decision to boil your pets water, or not to boil your pets water, is your decision. You may want to ask your vet what he/she recommends. Keep in mind that boiling the water is precautionary, and if your pet already sneaks a drink out of the toilet or the puddle in the driveway…..then you may not necessarily need to boil your pets water.

Q-DO I HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER FOR MY PET TURTLE & FISH?

A-You should treat the water as usual for your aquatic life. If you boil the water you will only remove valuable minerals.

Q-WHY SHOULD I CONSERVE WATER DURING AND AFTER THE STORM?

A-Our sanitary sewer system becomes strained during and after a storm. Sometimes due to flood waters and/or the loss of electrical power to our sewer pumping stations, we experience sewage overflows. That is why it is important for everyone to conserve water.  Help us to reduce the sewage flow by reducing your water usage thus greatly reducing the wastewater flowing down your drains in to the sewer system. Turn your water faucets off when not in use and avoid unnecessary toilet flushing. It is important that you refrain from using your dishwasher and washing machines until conditions improve. Please call us if you are experiencing sewage overflows.