Cold Weather Reminders
By District Captain Teri Parker
November 12, 2019

Please remember to check on elderly neighbors or homebound persons to ensure their well being during this cold weather event. Elderly persons and people who have mobility issues are much more susceptible to the cold weather.

Some tips for helping you prepare and weather the cold:

Plug electric space heaters directly into the wall socket, not into extension cords . Keep anything that may burn at least three feet away from the heater.

All gas heating sources should put out a clear blue flame. If you see a primarily orange or yellowish flame, have it checked by a professional.

Don't operate a damaged heater.
Keep it away from furniture, drapes, bedding, clothes, or papers.
Keep clear a 3 ft. circumference around the heater.
Never leave the heater unattended.
Make sure the plug is secure in the wall outlet.
Don't overload the plug.
Place the heater on a stable, level surface.

If you must go outside, remember that several layers of clothes will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat, advises the National Weather Service. A hat is also important, as 20 percent of body heat loss is through the head.

Tips for protecting your pipes:

* Use insulating faucet covers, or wrap rags, paper or trash bags, or plastic foam around outdoor faucets.

* Temporarily cover any vents around the foundation of your home.

* Disconnect water hoses from the faucets, drain the hoses and bring indoors if possible.

* Open the cabinets under the sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms to allow heated indoor air to circulate around water pipes.

* If you normally set your thermostat back at night, set the thermostat a few degrees higher until the severe freeze is over.

* If your home has exposed pipes and a severe freeze is predicted, let faucets run at a slow trickle, not a stream. Too many running faucets in a community can cause the water pressure to drop, which will hinder fire-fighting emergencies.

Pet safety tips:

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.

If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Keep your pets inside when the temperature drops, advises the ASPCA . If that's not possible, make sure they have a warm place to take shelter that protects them from the wind. Also, check your car for cats because outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hood to stay warm. Bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Protect your plants:

You can use electric space heaters to heat home greenhouses and garages or sheds where plants are stored, but be extra careful. Plants should be located well away from the heaters along with any other flammable materials. Use heavy-duty extension cords that are free from damage. Use caution when watering plants. Electric heaters must be unplugged until the area is dry. The heat generated by electric heaters is much more effective when it is circulated, so it's a good idea to have a fan running to move the air around.