CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster proclaimed this week as South Carolina Winter Preparedness Week.
The state’s Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service and other state agencies are reminding residents to prepare their homes for the possibly of winter weather over the next few months. That preparation includes checking supplies and safety plans ahead of cold weather.
But because of the pandemic, state leaders are also reminding people of the importance of following COVID-19 safeguards as cold weather might force more people to stay inside for longer periods of time.
Here are things you can do now to make sure you’re ready for winter weather:
- 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, it 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.
- Get your flu shot and get routinely tested for COVID-19 if you’re regularly out in the community. Keep face coverings, hand sanitizer and over-the-counter medications in stock as part of your winter weather preparations.
- Be sure to keep a good supply of prescription medications on hand if a winter storm is forecast for your area.
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 in inland and coastal areas.