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Residents should take precautions as temperatures drop below freezing
Jan. 4, 2017

Georgetown County isn’t expected to receive much (if any) snow or ice this weekend as a winter storm moves through much of the northern portion of the state, but wind chills dipping into the single digits are cause for concern.

 Residents are encouraged to take precautions, including making sure they use heaters and fireplaces according to directions, and looking after neighbors and relatives – especially those that are vulnerable, such as the elderly and families with small children or no transportation. Make sure they have a safe, warm place to stay while the conditions remain cold. All pets should also be brought inside or provided with warm shelter. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
When using a heater indoors, always follow all manufacturer instructions. Additionally:
• Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything that can catch fire at least three feet away.
• Make sure your alternative heaters have 'tip switches.' These 'tip switches' are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
• Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.
• Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot. Refuel heaters only outdoors.
• Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
• Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture or other items that can catch fire.
• 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.

Residents should also take precautions to keep pipes from freezing. Both plastic and copper pipes are susceptible to freezing. To prevent this:
• Disconnect hoses and cover all exterior water faucets. Maintain a slight drip of interior water faucets.
• Know where the water cut-off valve is located in your home in case a pipe bursts. Make sure that every responsible person in the home is aware of its location.
• Keep garage doors shut if any water lines are located inside.
• Seal all openings where cold air can get at unprotected water pipes. 
• During freezing weather, leave cabinet doors open under kitchen or bathroom sinks (especially if they are located against an outside wall) to allow warmer room air to circulate around pipes. 
• When weather is very cold, keep thermostats at the same temperature day and night. Lowered temperatures at night may contribute to colder attic temperatures and thus, more vulnerable pipes.
• If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
If possible, stay inside during freezing temperatures. If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect you lungs. Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
Also, watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.


County encourages composting; bins available

Dec. 1, 2016

Of all waste that goes into South Carolina landfills, a whopping 30 percent is comprised of yard debris and food waste.

That’s waste that could easily be diverted from landfills and turned into useful material, said James Coley, environmentalist with the Georgetown County Department of Public Services. That’s why he and the department are partnering with DHEC this summer to urge more families to start composting at home. If just 250 families in Georgetown County start actively composting, the result would be 50 tons of organic debris diverted from the county landfill each year.

“That would be a strong start and I think if you can show people how easy it is and how many benefits there are to composting, people will do it,” Coley said.

Read the full article

Composting guide



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