Weather seasons gets here, make sure your home and car are ready for the cold
weather. Therefore, Emergency Management suggests the following winter safety
Getting Your Home Ready for Winter:
Check battery-powered equipment - flashlight(s), portable
radio and/or TV. Keep additional, fresh batteries for each.
Have furnace checked. Check heating fuel supplies. Do not
allow fuel to get low because, in snowy or icy weather, fuel carriers may
not be able to reach you.
Check attic and basement insulation. Wrap basement pipes
and hot-water heaters with special insulating "blankets."
Caulk or weather-strip doors and windows.
Stock up on sand and ice-melting chemicals.
Have alternate heating source - fireplace, wood stove,
space heater. Equipment should be approved for indoor use. Properly
ventilate room and use strict fire safety measures.
Have fireplace cleaned by a professional before use.
Keep space heaters at least three feet away from any
combustible materials, including drapes, carpeting and furniture.
Do not drape gloves, socks, or other clothing over a space
heater to dry.
Keep children and pets away from heating equipment.
Fuel-filled equipment should be filled outdoors when
Have a smoke detector on each level of the home. Check
Have a fire extinguisher near each heating source.
Assemble an emergency supplies kit (enough for at least
Extra supplies of
high energy food and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration (Suggestion
for canned foods: 10 cans per person)
Bottled water (one
gallon per person per day)
Extra blankets or
First aid kit,
including all essential medications
If You Are
Caught in a Winter Storm:
Stay Inside. When using an alternate heat source (fireplace, wood stove, space
heater, etc.), be sure to: use fire safeguards, and properly ventilate the room.
If you have no heat: Turn off electrical appliances that were
on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is
restored. Use flashlights to see. Do not use candles, since they greatly
increase the chance of having a fire in your home. Close off unneeded rooms.
Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors. Cover windows at night.
Eat and drink: Food provides the body with energy to produce
its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
Wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing. Layering clothes
keeps you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing. Remove layers to avoid
overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.
Things you can do:
Check the car's heater and defroster, making sure the vents
are not clogged and that they'll put out warm air when needed.
Wiper blades should be in excellent condition, free of
nicks and cracks. If in doubt, replace them. You are a danger to yourself
and others if you can't see where you are going.
Wipers without window washer fluid won't do much good -
they'll only smear the mud and slush on the windshield. You can empty your
washer reservoir in no time, so keep a spare jug of washer fluid in the
trunk. Use a commercial grade fluid that will not freeze and never use plain
water as washer fluid.
Tires need deep tread to grip snow and mud. A good "all
season" tire is OK for most parts of South Carolina.
Always keep your car's gas tank at least half full during
the winter for two reasons: one, you're less likely to have condensation in
the tank; and two, you are not as likely to run out of gas in an emergency.
Things your mechanic should do.
Before cold weather arrives, make sure your car is in top
condition. A tune-up and the proper engine oil will make your car start
easier and run better during winter months. Be sure to have all the belts
and hoses checked. It is especially important to make sure your car's
battery and charging system are in good condition.
When checking the antifreeze, remember to have it checked
for its freezing point, as well as the quantity. If the antifreeze has not
been changed in more than a year, it may be time to have it replaced and the
cooling system flushed out.
Brakes should be checked by a professional mechanic, and
worn or damaged parts replaced.
Leaks in the exhaust system can be deadly, especially in
winter when windows are closed tight and the car's heater is set on
re-circulate. If you do become stuck in the snow and run the engine and
heater, be sure the exhaust pipe is clean of snow, ice and debris. It is
best to keep a window opened slightly to keep carbon monoxide from building
up inside the passenger compartment.
Keep an emergency
supply kit in your vehicle, especially during winter:
Flashlight, extra batteries
Blanket or sleeping bag
First aid kit
Extra warm clothing
Sack of sand or kitty litter (for traction if stuck in
Windshield scraper and brush
Extra washer fluid
Winter Driving Safety Tips
See and be seen -
While it may be a chore to remove the snow and ice from all the vehicle's
windows, you'll greatly reduce the chance of having an accident if you can see
where you are going and what is coming toward you from all sides. Be sure to
remove snow and ice from headlights, tail lights and brake lights. For added
safety, keep your headlights on whenever you are driving.
Slow down - Allow more time to get to your destination during snowy
weather. It takes substantially longer for a car to stop on snow covered or icy
roads, so allow more space between vehicles. Rather than the normal two-to-three
seconds between cars, increase the time to eight-to-ten seconds.
Using brakes on snow and ice is tricky, at best; and can be disastrous. Know
what kind of brakes you car has. To avoid locking your breaks (thus losing
traction and going into a skid), try using the "squeeze" technique. Keep the
heel of your foot on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure to the brake
pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the pressure slightly until the wheels again
begin turning. If your car has anti-lock brakes, do not pump them, but apply a
steady, even pressure. If in doubt about the kind of brakes on your car, check
your vehicle owner's manual.
Getting unstuck from a snow bank or muddy road shoulder takes patience and a
light foot on the gas. Don't spin the tires! Find the path of least resistance
between your car and solid ground, then clear the snow from in front, behind and
around all four tires. Next liberally sprinkle sand or kitty litter in front and
behind all drive wheels. Remember to keep the front wheels as straight as
possible - the more your wheels are pointed to either side the more resistance
they create, and the harder it will be to get unstuck. Now, put the car in the
lowest gear and gently press down on the gas. If necessary, create a rocking
motion - forward-reverse-forward-reverse-forward - to give the car some
momentum; but don't spin the wheels!
Control in a skid involves three things: 1 - don't panic; 2 - don't hit the
brakes; and 3 - do take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you
want the car to go. Once the car has slowed down you'll be able to steer out of
the skid and brake to a halt if needed.
Remember to always drive defensively!