January 28, 2014

Tips: Power outage contacts, driving in snow, 911 use

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

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 login 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.

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.

Tips for driving in the snow

It’s best to stay off the roads in the event of snow and ice. If you must venture out, here are tips from the S.C. Emergency Management Division and the Highway Patrol:

— Be aware that black ice is almost invisible.

— Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses, tunnels and on secondary roads in the morning and late evening when the air temperature is changing faster than the pavement temperature.

— If your vehicle starts to skid, take your foot off the accelerator. Counter steer: If the rear of your vehicle is sliding left, steer left into the skid. If it’s sliding right, steer right. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently. Never brake suddenly while driving on ice. If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.

— Keep your distance. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as under normal driving circumstances. Keep at least a three-car distance from the vehicle in front of you.

— 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.

— Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your car at all times. Many gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you have a near-empty tank during a power outage, you may lack the fuel to travel in an emergency.

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