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      SC EMD gives tips ahead of ice storm

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- TheSouth Carolina Emergency Management Division asks residents to preparethemselves and their homes for a dangerous developing winter weather situation.

      The National Weather Service says the forecast for this week calls for snow andice accumulations with freezing temperatures lasting through Thursday morning.

      Stateand local agencies are putting emergency plans in place for this winter weatherevent and urge everyone in South Carolina to consider preparations to keep yourhome, community, family, vehicles and pets safe:

      Homes:

      • Allfuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
      • Keepfire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to usethem. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternateheating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
      • Disconnecthoses and cover all exterior water faucets. Maintain a slight drip of interiorwater faucets.
      • Ifthe pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipesin 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 mostlikely to penetrate).
      • Learnhow to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
      • Maintainventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes.Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet fromflammable objects.
      • Conservefuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarilyclose off heat to some rooms. If you will be going away during cold weather,leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degreesFahrenheit.

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      Community:

      • Makesure your family and neighbors know the risks, and find ways to communicatewith them during the cold temperatures.
      • Keepcontact with elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives. Make sure they have asafe, warm place to stay while the conditions remain cold and hazardous.
      • Ensurecommunity members have a fully-stocked emergency supply kit with items likefood, water, medications, flashlights and extra batteries.
      • Identifyresidents who are: shut-ins, elderly, families with small children,medical-care dependent, non-English speaking, low income and have notransportation.

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      Family:

      • Watchfor signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or paleappearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of thenose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
      • Watchfor signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss,disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparentexhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warmlocation, 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 aspossible.
      • Wearmittens, which are warmer than gloves.
      • Weara hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
      • Coveryour mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
      • Ifyou must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warmclothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should betightly woven and water repellent.

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      Vehicles:

      • Donot travel unless absolutely necessary. Driving conditions will be hazardous.
      • Iftraveling, let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect toarrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along yourpredetermined route Antifreeze levels: ensure they are sufficient to avoidfreezing.
      • Batteryand ignition system: should be in top condition and battery terminals should beclean.
      • Brakes:check for wear and fluid levels.
      • Heaterand defroster: ensure they are working properly.
      • Lightsand flashing hazard lights: ensure they are working properly.
      • Gastank: Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

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      Pets:

      • Bringpets/companion animals inside during freezing weather. Move other animals orlivestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
      • Warmvehicle engines attract outdoor animals and pets. To avoid injury to hiddenanimals, hit on your vehicle's hood before starting your engine.
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