WINNSBORO — Freezing temperatures and the chance of precipitation led to the delayed start of Fairfield County Schools today (Jan. 7).
Throughout the week, temperatures in Fairfield County are forecasted to reach record lows and expected to drop below freezing each night.
Unusually cold temperatures will affect the area throughout this week, especially Tuesday (Jan. 7) and Wednesday (Jan. 8). On Tuesday lows will be in the middle teens and the high will reach just above freezing. Wednesday will see a warming trend with lows in the higher teens and highs being in the 40’s.
Citizens should note that any residual water on surfaces will freeze and uninsulated pipes should be covered or allow water to drip to prevent freezing and bursting.
Only use approved heating devices indoors and insure those are placed away from flammable materials. The temperatures should rise toward the end of the week with Tuesday and Wednesday being the coldest days.
Fairfield County Fire Marshall Tony Hill advised people using space heaters to keep them three feet away from any item that is combustible. When using an open fireplace, be sure to keep a screen in front of it.
Although it might be too late in the game, Hill said all residents should have their heating system serviced every year.
“You should always have your heating system serviced before the winter gets here,” he noted. “You want to make sure it is working right and if you’re using fuel-based heat be sure to have a carbon-monoxide detector inside the home.”
If you are using a kerosene heater, Hill advised leaving a window cracked as well.
Due to winter weather, 100-million homes are estimated to be affected by a power outage.
In the instance your home is affected by a power outage, The American Red Cross recommends that you turn off or disconnect all electrical devices when power was lost to prevent a surge or spike in power that can harm your equipment when the power comes back on.
Those devices also include stoves, refrigerators and other kitchen appliances.
It is a good idea to keep candles around as well as a flashlight and a battery-operated radio. You should leave one light plugged in, so you know immediately when the electricity comes back on.
If your home has no heat, you can prevent hypothermia by using blankets, wearing layers of clothing and a hat. Hypothermia is a condition that happens when a person’s core body temperature goes below 95 degrees, and chronic hypothermia occurs from ongoing exposure to indoor temperatures below 50 degrees.
A person with hypothermia may become less awake and aware as their core temperature drops. To prevent a person’s temperature from dropping, you can give him/her warm beverages.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), you should not warm a person with severe hypothermia by using direct heat or hot water. The person will need to be carefully rewarmed and monitored. The CDC also discourages rubbing or massaging the skin.
Fairfield County Sheriff Herman Young and Chief Deputy Keith Lewis are particularly concerned for the well-being of elderly adults in the community and have instructed COP (Community Oriented Police) deputies to make contact with the “Home Alone Program” adults to ensure they are prepared for the next few days.
Captain Brad Douglas encouraged any residents aware of elderly adults or other individuals who might be susceptible to the upcoming harsh weather to contact the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.
“We especially want to identify those persons who may not have family or close friends who could assist them if he needed,” he said.
If you know anyone that the FCSO needs to be aware of, contact COP deputies Sgt. Ron Mull at 803-718-4080 or Cpl. DJ Wilson at 803-718-4099.
The Good Samaritan House, located at 205 South Congress Street, has taken extra precautions to prepare for the freezing weather by draining the pipes.
Director Jimmy Burroughs said the shelter is close to capacity, but would be able to accept people in an emergency situation during the freezing weather.
The Good Samaritan House is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week facility. It offers housing and three meals a day to 19 people at a time. The house is designed to house men, women, and children in a safe and drug/alcohol-free environment.
For those with outdoor pets, care should be taken to insure the pets are well insulated from the cold as well as vulnerable plants. It is recommended for residents to either take their plants and pets inside or cover them with blankets.
Fairfield County’s Animal Adoption Center director Janice Emerson stressed the importance of protecting family pets and animals from the freezing temperatures.
“If at all possible, bring your pets indoors for the next few days,” Emerson said. “Dogs will freeze to death outdoors (without appropriate bedding). If the pets remain outdoors, they should be given extra straw, hay and blankets.”
She also suggested adjusting the amount of times they are fed and given water.
“Feed pets extra rations to help them deal with the cold,” she noted. “Make sure to replenish water supplies frequently with heated water because the outdoor water will freeze.”