A homeless man who had been living in a tent in Cherokee County has died from exposure to the cold weather. Authorities say the man’s body was found Wednesday afternoon in his tent not far from Interstate 85 in Gaffney. Coronor Dennis Fowler says the man died from exposure three or four days ago. An employee at one of the local fast food restaurants he frequented found his body after not seeing him for several days.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has issued some reminders, as temperatures threaten to drop into the teens in the upstate this weekend, and possibly single digits in the mountains.
EMD Public information officer Derrec Becker says those not used to dealing with the severe cold should keep their exposure to a minimum to avoid frostbite. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be lethal, and it is particularly threatening to infants and the elderly. Becker advises you to dress in layers if you must go outside for extended periods in extreme cold and cover your ears, head and hands. Winds dramatically increase the effects of cold temperatures by increasing the “wind chill factor.”
Becker says stay on the look out for ice on walkways and roadways. “The ice is out there in some places so drive more carefully,” says Becker. “And many South Carolinians are not used to life-threatening weather. Take extra precautions. Stock up on heating fuel and have alternative heating. And remember emergency supplies including canned food and water, a good flashlight and extra batteries and a battery-powered radio.”
Becker says when you hit the road during frigid temperatures, even if you’re just going across town, it’s advisable to carry a cell phone and be prepared to stay warm in the case of car failure. “Have some extra warm clothes in your car and a blanket handy in case you’re stranded, and a thermal blanket is a great idea.”
Remember that subfreezing temperatures, if cold enough, depending on the plumbing in your home, may cause pipes to burst. Pipes under the house which are exposed to cold air should be wrapped with insulation, and it may be necessary to turn off your water source and drain your pipes.
Becker says look out for your elderly friends and neighbors, and pets. Animals which may normally stay outside may need to be brought in, or given warmer accommodations in a garage with a heater. Farm animals may need to be enclosed in a shed with blankets or heating. If your animals’ water source is outside, make certain they have unfrozen water.