Be Aware of Safety and Health Dangers

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Columbia, S.C. – Residents should be aware of potential dangers from Hurricane Matthew as county emergency managers have reported downed power lines, fallen trees, and flooded and washed out roads in the Lowcountry, Midlands and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina.

As hazardous conditions may delay response time for those in need of help, the S.C. Emergency Management Division recommends the following precautions to be taken in an effort to mitigate risk for citizens and first responders.

Stay inside and off the roads.You will not be able to return to your home immediately. Even after the storm passes it could take a few days before emergency crews have assessed all areas for safety hazards or any necessary rescue operations.

Do not attempt to re-enter your community until state and local public safety officials determine it is safe for you to return.

Avoid flood waters. Do not use area streams, rivers and the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming because of the possibility that contaminants and wastewater may have entered them as a result of the storm. Avoid wading in murky water because broken glass, nails, metal fragments or other objects might be in the water.

Loss of power and flooding pose a threat to food supplies.As a general rule “when in doubt, throw it out.” Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.

Take precautions before using tap water for drinking or cooking purposes after the storm.Listen to radio and television reports about the safety of the public water supplies or call your water utility. Use only bottled or stored water until it is determined that the water is safe to drink. If bottled or stored water is not available and the safety of the water is in question, the water should be boiled vigorously for at least one minute and then cooled before use.

For more information visit or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.