Timely preparation and important safety information can help keep you and your family safe if a winter storm hits the Carolinas.
Winter Weather Safety Tips from the American Red Cross
- Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
- Service snow removal equipment before winter storm season. Equipment should be available for use if needed. Maintain it in good working order.
- Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Get training. Take an American Red Cross first aid course to learn how to treat exposure to the cold, frostbite, and hypothermia.
- Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with the following winter-storm specific supplies:
1. A warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat and water-resistant boots for each member of the family.
2. Extra blankets and warm clothing.
3. Nonclumping kitty litter. Kitty litter will generate temporary traction. Rock salt will melt ice on walkways but can damage vegetation and concrete. Other, less damaging, ice melting products are available from building supply stores.
Safety Tips to Share With Your Children:
- The best way to stay safe in a snowstorm is to stay inside. Long periods of exposure to severe cold increases the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. Also, it is easy to become disoriented in blowing snow.
- If you go outside to play after a snowstorm, dress in many layers and wear a hat and mittens. Many layers of thin clothing are warmer than single layers of thick clothing. One of the best ways to stay warm is to wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head. Keep hands and feet warm too. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Covering the mouth with a scarf protects lungs from extremely cold air.
- Come inside often for warm-up breaks. Long periods of exposure severe cold increases the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
- If you start to shiver a lot or get very tired, or if your nose, fingers, toes, or earlobes start to feel numb or turn very pale, come inside right away and tell an adult. These are signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you experience these symptoms, you will need immediate attention to prevent further risk.
How to Protect Your Property:
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. This will help you to conserve electricity and reduce your home's power demands for heat. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out, allowing the inside temperature to stay warmer longer.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside. This will provide an extra layer of insulation, keeping more cold air out.
- To keep pipes from freezing:
1. Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers.
2. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
3. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
4. Know how to shut off water valves.
- If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in 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 most likely to penetrate). A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution to prevent overheating, also works well.
- Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
- Before winter, be sure you install and check smoke alarms.
- Consider keeping safe emergency heating equipment:
1. Fireplace with ample supply of wood.
2. Small, well-vented wood, coal, or camp stove with fuel.
3. Portable space heater or kerosene heater. Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Use only the correct fuel for your unit and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Refuel outdoors only, and only when cool. Keep your kerosene heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
- When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use fire safeguards and ventilate properly. Fire hazard is greatly increased in the winter because alternate heating sources are used without following proper safety precautions.
For additional information on disaster planning and preparedness or to become a Family Safety Education volunteer, please contact the American Red Cross Greater Carolinas Chapter or visit their web site.
Winter Energy Tips from Duke Power
- Check your heating system's ductwork to ensure that it is well insulated and completely covered. Ductwork should be properly sealed and not hang loose under the house.
- Check to make sure your home is adequately insulated. Add insulated or storm windows and doors to reduce unwanted heat loss. Like other insulation, storm doors and windows quickly pay for themselves by saving lost energy.
- Insulate your water heater with at least R-6 insulation. You can save enough money in energy bills to pay back the cost of materials within months and then keep on saving.
- Seal cracks or crevices where two different building materials meet and weather-strip around all doors and windows. It's also a good idea to weather-strip between heated and unheated areas such as garages, basements and attics.
- If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove it for the winter months to prevent heat from escaping through and around the unit. If it cannot be moved, buy an inexpensive cover to prevent drafts.
- Keep your heating/cooling equipment in good working condition. Change filters monthly.
- Make sure heating registers and vents are not blocked by draperies or furniture. These vents should also be cleaned regularly with a vacuum or a broom.
- Take advantage of natural solar heat. On sunny days, leave the draperies open to allow the sun's rays to warm your house.
- Ceiling fans help keep you comfortable not only in the summer but in the winter as well. Reversing the direction of the blades pushes warm air down into the room. Fans should turn clockwise in the summer and counter-clockwise in the winter.
- Always make sure the fireplace damper seals tightly and remains closed except when a fire is burning or smoldering in the fireplace.
For more information log on to their web site.
What To Do If Your Cable Is Out
Customers need to verify that their power is on. Time Warner Cable must wait until utilities effect repairs before repairing cable lines.
If customers have power, but are not receiving cable service, it may be because the power source for the cable hub in their neighborhood is not active. In that case, Time Warner Cable must still wait until Duke Power repairs that power source before repairing cable lines.
Customers may call TWC's customer service phone number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (377-5559) for any service or outage problems.
For more information log on to their web site.