CHARLESTON, S.C. (Aug. 26, 2011) – With Hurricane Irene upon us, residents along the state’s coast say they are prepared for this hurricane season, according to a survey released today by South Carolina Electric & Gas.
The online survey of 2,093 SCE&G customers found that coastal residents in Charleston and Beaufort/Hilton Head were the most likely to have a hurricane emergency plan in place – 64 percent and 69 percent respectively. By comparison, 48 percent of customers in Myrtle Beach said they were prepared with a hurricane plan. Respondents in Aiken (34 percent) and Columbia (32 percent) were less prepared.
SCE&G recommends people come up with a storm plan and have a preparedness kit with nonperishable food and water for at least three days.
“The most important thing you can do in hurricane preparation is to have a family plan,” said Cathy Love, vice president of communications and planning for SCE&G. “You should talk about the issues that would affect your family, learn the evacuation routes and locations of official shelters, and have a hurricane survival kit of some kind.”
About four in 10 coastal residents said they had an emergency survival kit already prepared with items such as drinking water (90 percent), non-perishable food (89 percent), a first aid kit (87 percent), extra batteries (87 percent), a non-electric can opener (81 percent) and battery-powered radio (80 percent).
Other items panelists listed included disposable plates and utensils (71 percent), important documents (60 percent), a list of emergency numbers (56 percent), cash (55 percent) and pet supplies (47 percent). Twenty four percent said they had a copy of the 2011 S.C. Hurricane Guide in their kit.
Love also recommends keeping a full tank of gas in cars and having cell phones and other mobile devices fully charged. “More than 65 percent of respondents said they were very likely or somewhat likely to use a handheld device to report or track power outages in a storm. “
As a storm approaches and folks are preparing for a possible hurricane, the majority of people said they turn to local television (74 percent), The Weather Channel (69 percent) and The Weather Channel’s website (43 percent) to gather information. In addition, they also turn to local radio (38 percent), local TV websites (32 percent), local newspapers (27 percent) and the S.C. Emergency Management Division’s 2011 S.C. Hurricane Guide (25 percent).
Residents turn to local radio (54 percent) first to find out information when their power goes out, followed closely behind calling friends and neighbors (42 percent), listening to weather radio (39 percent), accessing local TV websites via a mobile device (33 percent), texting friends and neighbors (26 percent) and calling their local utility (24 percent).
“In addition to calling us directly, our customers can report outages on our website via their mobile device or sign up for our new text reporting option,” said Love. “Social media is increasingly becoming a source of up-to-date information in storm situations as well. SCE&G’s Twitter page (@scegnews) is a reliable source of timely information regarding safety, outage numbers and resources,” she said.
The poll, conducted in late July, also found 17 percent of Charleston panelists said they have a power generator for home use. “It’s so important that people remember to think about safety when using portable generators to power homes and businesses,” Love said. These tips include:
- Portable generators should be properly grounded before being used.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly.
- Do not connect a portable generator to your existing house wiring. By doing so you could expose yourself, your neighbors and SCE&G linemen to the possibility of severe shock or electrocution.
- Connect your generator directly to appliances. Use only approved and properly sized power cords. Check your owner's manual for instructions.
- Operate generators outside, away from flammable objects. Keep children and pets away from generators.
- Never add fuel while the generator is running. Turn it off and let it cool first.
As SCE&G continues its preparations for the current hurricane season, the company reminds its customers that they can receive warnings, safety tips and power restoration reports on their mobile devices by following SCE&G on Twitter at www.twitter.com/scegnews. SCE&G also offers its customers the following safety tips:
- Stay alert to storm advisories and evacuate if told to do so.
- Map out your route using roads specified by local and/or state authorities.
- If the storm is imminent, turn off and unplug stereos, televisions, computers and other appliances.
- Have flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.
- After the storm, stay away from and do not touch downed power lines. Keep others away from downed lines as well. Contact SCE&G immediately at 1-888-333-4465.
- Do not touch tree limbs or other objects touching a power line. Never try to remove a tree limb or any object that is in contact with a power line. Contact SCE&G immediately.
- Do not open refrigerators/freezers during an outage unless absolutely necessary. Repeated openings cause cold air to escape and food to thaw more quickly.
- SCE&G Emergency Service Numbers: For emergencies such as downed power lines or power outages call: 1-888-333-4465.
For gas leaks: 1-800-815-0083
For any other customer concerns: 1-800-251-7234
- To report outages by mobile access- www.sceg.com/mobile
- You can also report power outages and check outage status via text message. Find out how to register your cell phone at www.sceg.com/text.
- For information about storm safety, power outage information or a storm emergency kit checklist, visit SCE&G’s Storm Center online at: www.sceg.com/storm.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 664,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 313,000 customers in 38 counties in the state.