CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With the potential for tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain, there's the potential for widespread power outages from Florence.
If you lose power, there are several things to keep in mind.
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Don't assume that they know your power is off. The more people without power who report it, the better a picture they have sooner of the extent of the power interruption.
Do not call 911 to report a power outage. Dispatchers at your county's 911 center do not handle power outages.
SCE&G customers should call 888-333-4465 to report an outage at their home or business.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative customers should call 888-253-4243.
Edisto Electric Cooperative customers should call 800-433-3292.
Santee Electric Cooperative customers should call 888-239-2300.
Coastal Electric Cooperative customers should call 843-538-5700.
Electric utilities will not send their crews out to begin repairs if sustained wind speeds are 35 mph or greater because of the potential that those crews may be injured.
Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead. Candles increase the risk of fire in your home.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. This will keep foods cool longer. The American Red Cross says an unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.
Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. Before consuming, make sure perishable foods are still 40 degrees or below; if not, assume they're not safe to eat. Once you've consumed perishable foods from the refrigerator, then use food from the freezer.
Prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items if it appears your power outage will last more than a day.
During an outage, Safe Electricity recommends turning off electrical appliances and unplugging major electronics, including computers and televisions. When the power is restored, it can sometimes surge, which can damage electronics.
If not used properly, a generator can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless toxic gas produced when any fuel such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned.
The gas can build up in enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces, which can be deadly. After a storm, Poison Centers see an increase in poisonings due to improper use of generators in and around the home.
Follow these guidelines to protect your family.
Assume any downed line you see is live and stay away. Report any downed lines to your electric utility immediately. Avoid standing water because a downed line may be under the surface.
If you must leave your home, be aware that traffic signals may also be out.
For intersections with traffic signals that are blinking red or yellow, drivers who have a flashing red signal must stop as though they had a stop sign. Those with a flashing yellow signal should proceed with caution only when traffic permits.
If traffic signals are not functioning at all, the intersection should operate like a four-way stop with the driver arriving at a full stop first being allowed to proceed through the intersection first. If you and another driver arrive at the intersection at the same time, the driver on the right has right of way.
If you arrive at the same time and you're both on the same street, a driver making a left turn must yield to a driver going straight or turning right.