Prepare now for widespread power outages

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comFebruary 12, 2014 

As snow, sleet and freezing rain coated the area Wednesday, the probability for power outages in York, Chester and Lancaster County increased.

Hundreds of thousands of people were already without power across South Carolina Wednesday morning and afternoon.

Before the lights and power go out, officials suggest taking these last-minute steps to be sure you’re ready.

Light, heat and communications

• Have flashlights with extra batteries nearby. Do not use candles to light your home. They create a serious fire hazard.

• Keep all electronic devices such as phones charged just in case the power does go out and if it does, try to conserve the battery life by only turning them on when needed. Report your power outage online or over the phone so the utility company can keep track of where repairs are needed.

• If you have a generator, be sure it is outside in a well-ventilated area, not in a garage or indoors, where it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

• If you’re planning to use a space heater, check that its at least 3 feet away from any walls or furniture. Never leave it on unattended and be sure to keep all pets and children away from it.

Food, water and medication

• Fill water bottles with clean drinking water now so you’ll have it for later, or put purchased water bottles somewhere easily accessible. The rule of thumb to follow is one gallon of drinking water is needed per person and pet every day.

• Fill a bathtub with water for flushing toilets.

• Make sure all non-perishable food is someplace easily accessible.

• If the power goes out, try not to open the refrigerator or freezer. Food in the refrigerator will stay good for four hours and food in the freezer can stay safe for 24-48 hours depending on how full the freezer is.

• Put ice or snow in a cooler now in case the power does go out if you have any medication that requires refrigeration, like insulin. If the ice melts, you can place it outside to help keep it cool, but never consume food or medication that’s been kept warmer or cooler than the recommended temperature range.

Information courtesy of Duke Energy, USFDA and the Red Cross

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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