however much of eastern Florida hasn’t had electricity since last weekend. as well as also parts of the state’s battered west coast might not get power for another 10 days.
“I’m afraid the death toll via Irma is usually not over yet,” said Craig Fugate, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Fugate himself had no power Wednesday in his Gainesville home.
Electricity can literally be a lifeline, powering everything via hospitals to oxygen tanks.
So, what will 10 days without power look like? Here’s what to expect, as well as also what to do about the item:
Dangerous (even deadly) heat
The most devastated parts of Florida will endure temperatures inside the 90s over the next few days. Combined with oppressive humidity as well as also relentless mosquitoes, the situation will be miserable — if not deadly.
In Bradenton, “the item’s over 100 degrees,” resident Alexis Davis said. The apartment she shares with her boyfriend as well as also two roommates hasn’t had electricity since Sunday.
“We can’t stay inside the apartment,” Davis said. “We’ve seen people sitting out in their car in order in which they have some air conditioning.”
For those who require oxygen tanks or refrigerated medication, the power outage can be especially dire.
“I have enough bottled oxygen to last several days,” said 91-year-old Philip Dennen. “however without power, we’ll be in a little trouble.”
What to do:
For the elderly or vulnerable, “Please go to a shelter or call 911,” said Rob Gould, chief communications officer for Florida Power & Light. “Please do not wait.”
Fugate said those needing refrigerated medication may be able to go to their local pharmacy, because many pharmacies have increased their use of generators as well as also are able to return to business.
“Sending people home with (medicine in) Styrofoam coolers is usually one option,” he said.
— Dress in loose, lightweight clothing as well as also stay on the lowest level of your home.
— Use battery-powered fans.
— Close all drapes as well as also blinds on the sunny side of your home.
“Fuel as well as also communications is usually the greatest need,” said Mike Wallace, who rode out the storm on Big Pine Key, a Florida island decimated by Hurricane Irma.
While Wallace survived, many of the houses did not.
“We truly need communications services, as well as also food as well as also fuel, desperately,” Wallace said. “There’s a lot of people here (who) are truly suffering.”
however even if gas stations have fuel, no one can pump the item if there’s no power.
What to do:
the item’s important for residents to conserve fuel as well as also not drive or fill up their tanks unnecessarily, Fugate said.
in which can mean staying where they’ve been evacuated to, rather than returning home.
“If you’re in a safe place as well as also you’re comfortable, sit tight,” Fugate said. “By giving yourself a couple of days for things to stabilize, you’re not dealing with traffic as well as also are giving crews an opportunity to turn power back on.”
He also advised against hoarding gas.
“You don’t need to be filling up your gas tank if you have three-fourths of a tank, just because you don’t think there’ll be gas next week,” Fugate said. “You’ll have fuel in a week.”
No school indefinitely
The closure of schools has myriad effects on children as well as also their families, Fugate said.
Children aren’t learning. Staying at home means parents can’t work. as well as also for low-income families, school is usually where children get nutritious meals.
“Getting schools open … is usually far more critical than most people realize,” said Fugate, a former director of Florida’s Emergency Management Division.
What to do:
Fugate said you don’t have to get kids back in their own schools to get them educated as well as also back into their normal rhythm — an important step for their psychological recovery.
“You can use additional schools,” he said. “What we learned when I worked for Gov. (Jeb) Bush was getting schools back to normal wasn’t the mission. Getting kids back in schools was.”
He said after Hurricane Charley in 2004, students via one high school in which couldn’t open shared a campus with another high school.
Both schools’ students temporarily used half-day schedules; one group of students could go early inside the morning, as well as also the additional could go later inside the day.
Lethal danger via generators as well as also live wires
Most hurricane-related deaths come after the storm, not via the storm itself, said Gould, the Florida Power & Light spokesman. as well as also many of those deaths are linked to generators as well as also downed electric lines.
At least one person has already died as well as also a few others were hospitalized in Miami-Dade County because of carbon monoxide poisoning via generators used indoors, local officials said.
What to do:
“Put the generator outside the garage,” Gould said. “Do not leave the item inside. Do not run the item near a window or door — in which can be absolutely fatal, especially when you think about carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Also, plug appliances directly into the generator as well as also not into the electrical box. Failing to do so can send electricity back through the power lines, “as well as also in which can be deadly for our crews,” Gould said.
With power outages come downed power lines. Don’t let your guard down just because the weather has increased.
“the item’s nice outside right today,” Gould said. Residents often go outside, don’t pay attention, “as well as also they step on a live wire — a downed line. as well as also in which can be fatal.”
Some Irma victims who are hourly employees told sy88pgw they’re stressing about their next paycheck — especially those whose businesses still don’t have power.
“Food has been destroyed … restaurants don’t have power unless they have a generator,” said Davis, the Bradenton resident.
Davis is usually one of the luckier ones; the restaurant she works at in East Bradenton has had power restored.
however Fugate said many modest businesses fail after natural disasters.
“If you work for a modest business as well as also in which modest business has been heavily impacted, sometimes those jobs don’t come back because the business doesn’t survive,” he said.
What to do:
however the need for help is usually immense.
“There’s total devastation,” said Wallace, the Big Pine Key resident. “Things are moving, however guys, we need more help down here. Please.”