Tips for Staying Warm and Safe in Cold Weather

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With frigid temperatures and some areas likely to feel wind chills from 5 degrees below zero to 15 below and possibly colder, here are a few tips on how to deal with the weather.

  • Prevent frostbite: With wind chills, parts of our area can have temperatures below zero and exposed skin can get frostbitten in minutes and hypothermia can quickly set in. Depending on the temperature and wind chill, frostbite can set in within minutes. The first sign is a prickly or itchy sensation. Next, the skin will turn red, white, pale or grayish-yellow and start looking hard or waxy. Then comes numbness and blisters. If you get blisters, don’t pop them.
  • Mittens are better than gloves: layers of dry clothing are best, and anyone who gets wet needs to get inside. Avoid being outdoors, if possible, or make sure all body parts are well covered.
  • Check your car battery: If you don’t have access to a garage, check your vehicle’s battery before the cold arrives, experts say. Batteries that are more than three years old or that are on the verge of going dead often can’t be jump-started once they have been exposed to temperatures below zero for an extended period.
  • Turn down the thermostat: keeping your indoor temperatures relatively low, which can help prevent widespread power outages. If you’re comfortable with your thermostat at 68 degrees and using a blanket, you should do that. Turn your thermostat down to save money.
  • Take care with supplemental heating devices: Those whose heating systems are inadequate, or who can’t afford to pay utility bills, sometimes make dangerous decisions on how to stay warm, turning to space heaters, stoves, ovens, candles and even kerosene or propane heaters meant for the outdoors.
  • Protect your pipes: With temperatures expected to drop into the single digits, don’t forget to protect against frozen pipes.Expanding water in pipes can cause them to break. Pipes that are most likely to freeze are those exposed to severe cold, such as swimming pool lines and water sprinkler lines that are in basements, crawl spaces, garages or attics.
  • Protect your pets: Small dogs or short-haired dogs may need to wear a sweater before going outdoors. Salt spread on walkways can dry out your pet’s paws. Give their paws a good wipe-down after they come inside to ensure your pet stays warm.
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