Extreme cold weather safety


Temperatures are expected to dip below normal this week,  here are a few steps people can take to stay safe during the big chill.

Dress properly. Wear outer clothing that shields the wind and sun from your skin. Cold and windy air causes a wind-chill effect that is much colder and more dangerous than the outside air temperature.

 Protect your hands and feet. Wear mittens when possible because your fingers can share warmth (regular gloves are good, but mittens have the edge.) Wear socks that will keep your feet dry and warm. Some people wear a light liner sock made of a material that wicks away moisture next to the foot and then put a natural fiber sock over it. Try to wear the higher cut socks, not the low risers.

 Don’t forget your pets - bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

 Protect your children. Instruct the kids to come inside when they feel cold, or if their clothes get wet.

 Play it safe. Because they pose a strangulation risk, it's best not to wrap children in scarves. Instead, use a neck "gaiter", which stays in place and keeps your child warm without risk.

 Be prepared. When traveling by car, keep extra socks, blankets, water and snacks on hand in case a mechanical problem, storm or empty gas tank leaves you stranded.

 Protect your pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

 Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

 If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs and never use an extension cord with a space heater.

 Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

 Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

 If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

 Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.