Winter Weather Preparedness Week Starts Sunday

Next week will be South Carolina Winter Weather Preparedness Week. December 1st through 7th was designated yesterday by proclamation from Governor Henry McMaster. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service along with the agencies that comprise the State Emergency Response Team will be encouraging everyone in South Carolina to prepare for severe winter weather by checking supplies and safety plans now.

Snowfall, ice storms and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with an ice storm or extreme cold. Winter storms can result in closed highways, blocked roads, black ice, downed trees and power lines, hypothermia and possible flooding.

Residents are to be encouraged to take the proper winter weather precautions now during milder temperatures while the winter emergency supplies are in low demand:

¨  Include winter supplies like shovels and rock salt in your household emergency kit.

¨  Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.

¨  Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.

¨  Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.

¨  Portable generators are commonly used in the winter as a result of storm-induced power outages. Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and deadly. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to prevent death from carbon monoxide.

¨  Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

¨  Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. If not, they can become filled with highly flammable layers of creosote.

¨  Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.

¨  In every vehicle, place a winter emergency kit that includes: a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with a pocket knife; medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; and a fluorescent distress flag.