Here are important things to remember when a winter storm hits:
- Drive only if it’s absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel during the day, don’t travel alone and keep others informed of your schedule. Decrease your speed and leave plenty of room to stop the vehicle on icy roads.
- Pack a vehicle emergency supply kit and winterize your vehicle.
- Check the weather on your route.
- Check current road conditions by calling 511 or visiting 511sc.org
- Stay mobile. Ensure someone knows when and where you’re traveling, and consider sharing your real-time location with trusted loved ones (this can be turned on and off as needed) via your iPhone or Android
- If trapped in your car during a winter storm, pull off the highway, turn on your hazard lights. Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress in layers of loose fitting, lightweight clothing. Wear a hat that covers your ears. Wear mittens and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs. Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Watch for signs of frostbite such as the loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid fallen power lines. Ice storms can create a buildup of ice on power lines and on trees. The weight of ice can cause tree limbs and even entire trees to fall onto power lines, breaking them. Treat all utility lines that have fallen on the ground as energized and very dangerous.
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