North Charleston fire offers tips for blackouts

      NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) --{}TheNorth Charleston Fire Department and NFPA would like to take a moment to remindresidents that severe weather and storms can cause power outages and restoringpower can take time.{}{}

      Before the storm, begin by conserving energy to help reduce thethreat of a power outage.

      • Have flashlights, a battery-powered or handcranked radio and extra batteries on hand.
      • Set aside extra water and buy or make extra ice.
      • If you have space in the refrigerator orfreezer, keep plastic containers filled with water. The frozen or chilled waterwill help keep food cool during the power outage.
      • If you take medication that requires refrigerationcheck with the doctor of pharmacist to determine how long the medication canlast.
      • Back up your computer files regularly.
      • Have some form of phone that does not requireelectricity.{} A cellular phone or astandard phone/receiver set will allow you to make calls even if the power isout.{} A cordless phone will not work whenthe power goes out.{}
      • Keep your vehicle's gas tank at least half full.
      • If you plan to use a fireplace, ensure that itis cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep each year.
      • If you have specific needs or a disability thatrequires electrical equipment, make plans to evacuate if necessary or have agenerator on hand to power equipment.

      During a power outage

      • Never use candles for emergency lighting orheating, use flashlights and blankets.
      • If you use your fireplace to heat your home,remember to extinguish the fire before going to bed.
      • If you use a UL listed and approved indoorfueled heater, ensure that it too is extinguished before going to bed.
      • When filling the fuel in the heater, do sooutside.{} Never fuel a heater indoors.
      • Give space heaters space.{} At least three feet around it to ensure nofire is ignited in curtains, furniture of clothing.
      • Never heat your home with the oven or stove.
      • Torn off any electrical equipment you were usingwhen the power went out.{} Leave one lighton so you know when the power comes back on.
      • Use generators safely. DO NOT run a generatorinside a home or garage. (The carbon monoxide can silently kill everyone in thehome).{} Keep the instructions for thegenerator and be familiar with its operation.
      • Use the telephone only for emergencies.
      • Listen to the radio for updates and instructions.
      • Eliminate unnecessary travel.
      • Take steps to remain warm.{} Keep doors and windows closed, wear sweaters,layers and gloves.
      • If you are in a car when a power line falls onit, stay in the vehicle and do not touch anything on the outside of thevehicle.{} Use your horn or cell phone tosignal for help.
      • Short term power outages usually occur duringpeak energy usage time between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, and typicallylast about an hour.
      • If the outage continues consider going to awarming station. That information will


      After the outage

      • Stay away from downed power lines.
      • Do not refreeze any dairy products, seafood, orfood that has thawed completely.{} If thefood was above 40 degrees for more than two hours, or anything with aquestionable texture or smell should be discarded.{} If in doubt throw it out.