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Safety tips and information for Miami-Dade County residents during the hurricane aftermath

MIAMI (September 12, 2017)

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and the Office of Emergency Management urges residents to adhere to the following information regarding post-hurricane safety tips and information.

Electrical Safety

  • Miami-Dade residents are warned to stay away from fallen electrical wires. Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires under any circumstances. A wire that appears harmless could be crossed with a live wire and could be deadly. Whether on the ground, hanging free, or attached to an object - do not touch it.
  • To report downed power lines contact FPL at 1-800-468-8243.
  • Stay alert on roadways. If a traffic light is not working it is to be treated as a four-way stop sign.
  • Stay away from puddles because they could be in contact with fallen wires.
  • Do not cut trees or limbs that are touching or even near power lines. When reinstalling a radio, TV or satellite antenna, first check in all directions and ensure that no power lines are nearby.
  • Everyone, especially children and pets, must keep away from power lines, trees in contact with power lines and crews conducting repairs to power lines.
  • Turn off lights and appliance switches until power is restored in your neighborhood. This will avoid power system overloads that may further delay electric service. Please be patient.
  • Florida Power & Light (FPL) is in the process of restoring service as quickly as possible.

Generator Safety

  • Never use a generator indoors or in any enclosed or partially enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the home.
  • Ground your generator according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Place the unit outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents, and air conditioning equipment that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Do not connect your generator directly into your home’s wiring system. It is a fire hazard and poses a risk to FPL personnel restoring power to your area.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • Carbon monoxide fumes emitted from the generator are toxic and can be lethal.
  • Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  • Test your alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
  • Remember that you cannot see or smell carbon monoxide, and portable generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away.
  • If you have a poisoning emergency, call your nearest Florida poison information center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 immediately.

Conserving Water

  • Use water when needed and do not let it run.
  • Water in Miami-Dade County is still safe to drink. There is no boil-water order at this time.
  • If you experience very low pressure, which is normally caused by uprooted trees, it is recommended to proactively boil your water prior to drinking, cooking, brushing your teeth, washing dishes or making ice when service is restored.

Chainsaw (Electric or Gas-Powered) Safety

  • Wear a hard hat and goggles to protect yourself against flying splinters and chips. Because a power saw is noisy, you should also wear hearing protectors.
  • Do not wear slippery shoes or baggy clothing that could catch in the brush and cause you to fall; always watch your footing while working.
  • Stop the engine and do not smoke when refueling your chain saw. Do not spill gas on a hot engine. Use a filtering funnel or a gas can with a flexible hose to fill the fuel tank.
  • Shut off the saw when carrying it from one tree to the next if working conditions are hazardous - heavy brush, slippery ground surface or steep slopes.
  • Carry the saw with the guide bar pointing to the rear, or point the bar to the front if you are going downhill.
  • Even if you do not need an assistant, someone should be with you in case of an accident.
  • Have a first-aid kit nearby. If someone is cut, cover the wound with a clean cloth and press hard to stop the flow of blood. Get the injured person to a doctor or hospital immediately.

Heat Safety

  • Drink plenty of cool fluids throughout the day, but avoid those that contain caffeine, alcohol or a high sugar content, since they actually contribute to dehydration and make a heat-related illness worse.
  • Stay in a cool, well ventilated area and limit your outdoor activities. Don’t forget your animals and provide them plenty of fresh water.
  • If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, even with the engine running.
  • Check frequently on the elderly, young children and others at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
  • If you start to feel muscle cramps, extreme thirst, confusion, fainting or unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting, rapid strong pulse, rapid shallow breathing and extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit), call 911 immediately.

Repair Tips

  • The use of unqualified or unlicensed contractors often leads to unsafe and hazardous construction as well as additional cost, rework and potential fines to the consumer. The best way to safeguard against faulty and hazardous construction work is to make sure the contractor one hires has a valid contractor license. Even though property owners' initial reaction is to get repairs started, they should not allow unscrupulous people to take advantage of them because they are anxious to have their home repaired.
  • Residents are encouraged to use the Miami-Dade County Contractor Licensing Section online search at to determine if the contractor is licensed, insured or has complaints or violations on record.

Residents may access official Miami-Dade County emergency information at, call the 311 Contact Center or follow us @MiamiDadeCounty on Twitter and Facebook.