Be Prepared for Potential Winter Weather

By: Brick Lewis Posted in Media Releases



CFD Continues to Monitor Potential for Winter Weather

Columbia Fire Department urges citizens to be prepared and stay fire safe for potential inclement weather.

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins encourages citizens of the City of Columbia and Richland County to use caution during the potential inclement weather that’s predicted for this weekend.  Chief Jenkins states, “Being prepared for winter weather means having all of the necessary items and information to make the right decisions prior to a winter weather event occurring so you aren’t let out in the cold.”

To be prepared the Columbia Fire Department along with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and others recommend you follow these winter weather preparedness tips:

Heating Safety

  • All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
  • Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  CO poisoning can cause illness and even death.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces; otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.

Power Outages & Downed Power Lines

  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Don’t touch or go near a fallen wire, even if it’s not sparking or humming.
  • Don’t touch anything that’s touching the wire, such as a car or tree limb.
  • Keep a minimum of 30 feet from these lines and anything in contact with them.
  • To report a downed power line, call SCE&G immediately at 1-888-333-4465 and for additional safety tips visit

Generator Safety

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
  • Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or ‘backfeed’ can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

Other Winter Weather Tips

  • Include winter supplies like shovels and rock salt in your household emergency kit.
  • Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.
  • In every vehicle, place a winter emergency kit that includes: a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with a pocket knife; medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; and a fluorescent distress flag.

Download the Severe Winter Weather Guide

Developed by SCEMD and partner agencies specifically for South Carolina, the Severe Winter Weather guide contains tips on what to do before, during and after a major winter storm. It includes check lists, information on how to get the current status of government offices and more. The S.C. Severe Winter Weather Guide is available for download at


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