Being prepared in winter weather scenarios

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2015

With winter weather stopping into town yesterday morning — quite the unexpected guest for the area — life as one’s knows it in Beaufort County has come to a screeching halt — school has been cancelled, businesses are closed and the desolate roads illustrate just how unprepared the area is for weather like this.

However, with more winter weather forecasted for tonight and tomorrow, here are some tips that could help one be better prepared in a winter weather scenario. When going outside, layer up. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent one from losing body heat. Bring pets indoors — if they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm, as well as access to unfrozen water.

Remember the three feet rule. When using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable, such as paper, clothing, bedding curtains or rugs, at least three feet away. Also, do not leave space heaters unsupervised. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room, the house or before going to bed. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

Protect your pipes — run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Also, keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. One’s heating bill may be a little higher, but one could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

The kitchen is for cooking — never use a stove or oven to heat your home. This mistake could cost you your house, at the very least, if something were to catch fire. Use generators outside — never operate a generator inside the home, including a basement or garage. Also, don’t hook up a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment one wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

In addition to these tips, keep off the roads as much as possible. Unless it is a dire emergency, it is better to be safe than sorry. Stay warm, stay safe and protect your loved ones.