With severe winter weather in the forecast for Georgetown County on Friday, Emergency Management officials are encouraging residents to get prepared today.
The County is under a winter storm advisory. As it is expected to be very cold beginning Friday morning and through the weekend, residents are encouraged to stay indoors if possible and dress warmly if they must go out. With sleet in the forecast, power outages are also a possibility, which could make staying warm a bigger challenge. Unfortunately, improper heating can often lead to housefires and other emergencies. The Georgetown County Emergency Management Division has put together some heating safety tips to help residents stay warm safely this weekend.
- 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.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using generators.
- Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. Carbon monoxide 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.
- Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
- Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home's electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.
- If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow, ice and debris for easy access by the fire department.