What you need to know about getting by in the storm

February 12, 2014 

Major closings Thursday

All Midlands school districts will be closed Thursday. Fort Jackson also will be closed.

For the latest closings, click HERE.

Send your closings to online@thestate.com.

SCE&G: Reporting outages

By phone: Customers who experience an outage can call (888) 333-4465.

By mobile device: Report and check the status of your power outage online from your internet-ready mobile device or phone by visiting www.sceg.com/mobile and clicking on storm center.

By text: Register for SCE&G’s text option online at www.sceg.com. Simply log in to your account and look for the “Activate Text Options” under the “Account Options” feature and then follow the instructions. If you are experiencing an outage, simply text the word "OUT” to 467234 (gosceg).

Stay informed: Follow SCE&G on Twitter at @scegnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scegnews for the latest storm-related information and safety tips.

What to do during a power outage

From Duke Energy:

• If your power goes out, let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.

• Even if your cell phone is charged, note that when the power goes out, the wireless network may not work.

• If your power goes out, use a car charger to recharge your phone. DO NOT run the car in an enclosed space such as a garage, or you risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Cell phone companies recommend text messaging rather than calling in any emergency weather situation, because text messages use much less network capacity. They also don’t use much battery power.

• In order to protect against possible power surges that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, stereo, VCR, microwave oven, computer, cordless telephone, answering machine and garage door opener. Leave just one light switched on so you’ll know when power is restored.

• Of course, use a safe, alternative heat source with proper ventilation if possible, But if not, dress in layers, and be sure to wear a hat to conserve body heat.

Driving

If roads are snowy or icy, it’s best to stay home. If you must get out, here are some safety tips from weather.com:

• Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

• Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

• Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

• Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.

• Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

• When heading out on the roadway, ensure your cell phone is charged. Let someone know where you are going, what your travel route is and when you expect to arrive. Carry flares, blankets, small tools and a shovel. Bring water and snacks.

When to use 911

Lexington County: Use 911 for emergencies only. Contact public works at (803) 785-8201 for road issues, trees down or drainage problems. Non-emergency calls to the Sheriff’s Department may go to (803) 785-8230.

City of Columbia, Richland County: Columbia officials advise 911 only for emergencies. For non-emergency situations, citizens may call (803) 252-2911. The Columbia Police Department front desk is (803) 545-3500, and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department is (803) 576-3000.

Shelters

Columbia has opened warming stations at two city parks for people who have lost electricity. They will be open for 24 hours until further notice.

• Hyatt Park, 950 Jackson Ave.

• Martin Luther King Park, 2300 Greene St.

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