Officials say expect more power outages - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Officials say expect more power outages

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(Source: Sumter Police Department) (Source: Sumter Police Department)

Continued severe winter weather is likely to cause power additional outages across the state, officials with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said.

Thousands of Sumter County residents were without power Wednesday as a powerful storm system swept across the southeast.

About 1.5 inches of sleet and a quarter of an inch of ice hammered much of the county.

As of 1:30 a.m. Duke Energy Progress reported 12,116 customers without power and Black River, which serves Sumter County, reported about 1,655 customers without power.

Erik Hayes with Sumter County Emergency Management said power crews were working to restore power as quickly as possible and residents should stay in their homes.

As you wait for power to be restored, here are some tips to help you cope with a blackout:

• Do not call 911 for information— call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only. Report outages to your power company.

• Stay away from downed power lines – Ice can cause tree limbs and entire trees to break and fall, sometimes taking power lines and even meter boxes down with them. Always assume any downed power line you see is live and stay away. Report downed lines to your power company.

• Use extreme caution with supplemental heaters and generators – It can be tempting to supplement a heating system lost during an outage, but household items such as cooking stoves or ovens and outdoor grills should never be used for heat. If you use a fireplace for heat, be sure to extinguish any flames before going to bed. Generators can help during emergencies, but require care and planning for safe use.

• Do not run a generator inside a home or garage - Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.

• Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. Use caution if burning candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire. Be sure to extinguish all candles and fireplaces before bed. Remember to never leave candles unattended & keep them away from furniture, draperies & other flammable materials.

• Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm. If using your fireplace, make sure the flue is open. Space heaters are acceptable if they are in working condition and for indoor use.

• Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment , or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.

• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.

• Keep your mobile devices charged and use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.

• Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.

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