Get prepared for winter weather

Heating Safety

  • All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
  • Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  CO poisoning can cause illness and even death.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces; otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.

 

Power Outages & Downed Power Lines

  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Don’t touch or go near a fallen wire, even if it’s not sparking or humming.
  • Don’t touch anything that’s touching the wire, such as a car or tree limb.
  • Keep a minimum of 30 feet from these lines and anything in contact with them.
  • To report a downed power line, call SCE&G immediately at 1-888-333-4465 and for additional safety tips visit www.sceg.com.

 

Generator Safety

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
  • Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or ‘backfeed’ can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

 

Other Winter Weather Tips

  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Download the Severe Winter Weather Guide

Information from Columbia Fire Department

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