Other Safety – Winter Weather Preparedness
Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed the week of December 2 through December 8, 2018, as South Carolina Winter Weather Preparedness Week. We encourage you to prepare for severe winter weather by discussing safety plans with your loved ones and also checking your supplies.
Winter storms can cause treacherous driving conditions with a higher risk of car accidents and power outages. Hypothermia, frostbite, increased risk for heart attacks from over exertion, and even carbon monoxide poisoning are considerations as you prepare for snowstorms and extreme cold.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING, FIND SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A WINTER STORM THREATENS:
- Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
- For your home:
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping.
- Learn how to keep pipes from freezing.
- Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and have battery backups.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power.
- Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication.
- Do not forget the needs of pets.
- Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
- Create an emergency supply kit for your car.
- jumper cables
- warm clothes
- bottled water
- non-perishable snacks
- Keep your gas tank full.
- Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and hypothermia.
- Stay off roads if at all possible.
- Clear your car of snow and ice before driving for best visibility.
- If trapped in your car, then stay inside.
- Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows and vents. Be aware that our homes can draw in carbon monoxide.
- Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
- Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Example: avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
- Watch for signs of frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.
- Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
- Keep fire hydrants cleared.
RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND
- Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
- Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
- Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
- Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
Heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.
- Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and vents and as far away as possible from your home
- Install QUALITY carbon monoxide alarms and text them at least once per month.
- Plug only ONE heat-producing appliance (space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
- If you have a chimney have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.
- Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and nearby buildings.
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