The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages everyone in the state to be prepared for below freezing conditions that are expected to continue after this weekend’s winter storm.
Residents should be prepared for extreme cold and hazardous conditions caused by ice. South Carolinians unaccustomed to dealing with life-threatening aspects of severe cold should remember to keep exposure to cold weather to a minimum. Frostbite is harmful and painful. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be lethal, and it is particularly hard on infants and the elderly. When the weather turns dangerously cold, don't go outdoors unless you have to. If you must go out, dress in layers and cover your ears, head and hands.
Remember, high wind speeds dramatically increase the effects of cold temperatures by increasing the "wind chill factor."
As temperatures remain below freezing, residents should remember the following:
- Watch for signs of frostbite such as the loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as finger, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire if using alternative sources for electricity, heating or cooking. (WARNING: Never burn charcoal briquettes or run a generator indoors.)
- Remember the usual emergency supplies: a flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra non-perishable food and water, extra medicines and baby items, and first-aid supplies.
- Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes that lack heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold.
- Prepare a place indoors for pets. Move farm animals to shelters and have extra feed and water available.
- Residents are encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures.
- Be aware of the potential for patches of ice on the roadways. Limit travel if possible. Check road conditions via scdot.org and give yourself plenty of time to drive safely to your destination.
- Stay updated with the latest emergency information from SCEMD by following our social feeds, facebook.com/SCEMD and on Twitter @SCEMD.