SC officials warn residents to prepare themselves, homes for winter storm

COLUMBIA, SC – The South Carolina Emergency Management Division asks residents to prepare themselves and their homes for possible winter weather. The National Weather Service predicts freezing rain and ice accumulations in the Upstate and northern Midlands lasting into Saturday. State and local agencies are putting emergency plans in place for winter weather and urge everyone in South Carolina to consider preparations to keep your home, community, family, vehicles and pets safe.

Residents should prepare for the possibility of power outages, problems with pipes that are not fully insulated or at risk to burst and very dangerous driving conditions. Every household should have an emergency preparedness plan in place. Start by posting important numbers by the telephone, such as utility companies and emergency responders. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the NWS offices serving South Carolina. Be alert to changing weather conditions. Once ice begins to accumulate on bridges, overpasses and secondary streets, travel may become treacherous. If you are on the roadway, drive slowly and watch for black ice.

The plan should include a winter weather kit that can be easily put together and should include the following items:
• Flashlights and extra batteries
• Battery-powered NOAA weather radio and a portable AM/FM radio
• Extra food and water, such as non-perishable/high-energy foods and snacks
• Extra medication
• Extra baby items, especially if you have infants or small children
• Basic First-Aid supplies
• Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clothing for warmth
• Charge all cell phones ahead of time
• Gather and store extra firewood in a dry sheltered area

If you lose power and decide to employ a portable generator, remember to keep the generator outside and a safe distance away from the house. Never use generators inside a basement or garage. The generator should be placed outside in a well-ventilated area. Use only the amount of power necessary to maintain essential appliances and lights.

Avoid contact with downed power lines. If you lose power don’t go outside in the dark to investigate. Contact with an energized electrical line may cause severe injury or even death. All downed utility lines should be considered “live.” Report downed power lines to the fire department and the appropriate utility company.

—Information above is from a submitted press release

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