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Q&A: What should I do if the power goes out?

Trees sway from heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Matthew in front of Exploration Tower early Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Matthew weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it's expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves closer to the coast. (Craig Rubadoux/Florida Today via AP)
Trees sway from heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Matthew in front of Exploration Tower early Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Matthew weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it's expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves closer to the coast. (Craig Rubadoux/Florida Today via AP) AP

If your power goes out, contact your local power company. Here are phone numbers for some of the state’s largest electricity customers and some local electric cooperatives.

▪ SCE&G: (888) 333-4465, online/text: https://www.sceg.com/outages-emergencies/power-outages/text-message-reporting

▪ Duke Power: English, (800) 769-3766, Español, (866) 427-2466; online: https://ols.duke-energy.com/037/ExtOutageReporting/ExtOutageReportingServlet

▪ Santee Cooper: (888) 769-7688

▪ SC Electric Co-ops: Tri-County Electric Cooperative, (803) 874-1215; Fairfield Electric Cooperative (800) 499-7862; Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative, (803)749-6444; Newberry Electric Cooperative, (803) 276-1121; Black River Electric Cooperative, Sumter (803) 469-8060, Camden (803) 432-9854.

How can I prepare for an outage?

You should have the following items in your home: battery powered radio, flashlight for everyone in the family, battery-operated lantern, first aid kit, disposable plates and utensils, non-electric can opener, blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food, charged cell phone, list of emergency numbers.

How long will it take to restore power?

The depends on where you are. Repair crews first fix lines that serve hospitals, water filtration plants and fire or police stations. If your home is on one of those lines, you’ll have power more quickly. More isolated neighborhoods or homes take longer.

How do I stay safe in a power outage?

Never go near a downed power line no matter how small it might be. Always assume the line is live. When using a generator, always read the directions and use it properly. For instance, don’t use a generator indoors, even in the garage. And be very careful with candles, fireplaces and propane stoves, lanterns and heaters.

How long will food last in my refrigerator?

Food should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours, according to foodsafety.gov. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers that have been above 40 degrees for more than two hours. Canned fruits, vinegar-based dressings, breads and raw vegetables can last much longer. Food will remain safe in the freezer for 48 hours if the freezer is full; 24 hours if it is not.

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