CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With a winter weather advisory in effect Thursday night, the American Red Cross released tips to help you and your family stay safe and protect your home during periods of winter weather.
"The Lowcountry is getting a taste of winter during these next few days," American Red Cross Palmetto SC Region CEO said. "We all need to remember to pay attention to how we drive on the roadways and how we heat our homes."
Red Cross officials say nearly half of U.S. households use alternative heating sources like space heaters, fireplaces or wood or coal stoves to stay warm. Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, they say, are involved in 74 percent of fire-related deaths.
- If someone intends to use a space heater, the Red Cross recommends people look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Space heaters should always be placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
- The heater should be kept away from flammable materials, pets and children.
It's better to stay off the roads during periods of winter weather, but if you must drive, the Red Cross offers these tips:
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Make sure you have a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there.
- If you drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on icy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.