How To Protect Yourself & Home As Temperatures Plummet (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

January 2, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 6:04 PM EDT

INDIANA (21Alive) -- With the snow already on the ground and the forecast next week of highs in the negatives, it is important to take precautions to stay as warm as possible in these conditions.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department wants everyone to stay safe and offers the following safety tips on how to best care for yourself and your family when temperatures plummet.

Protect Yourself:
• Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.
• Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.
• Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.
• Utilize a scarf or knit mask to cover your face and mouth.
• Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice
and snow.
• If working outside, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
• Limit your time outdoors and stay dry.
• Shivering is the first sign the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

Protect Yourself at Home:
• Be careful with candles – do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
• Use generators correctly –never operate a generator inside your home, including the basement garage or porch.
• Run the generator as far away from the house as possible and point the exhaust away from open doors and windows to avoid potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Install and/or check carbon monoxide detectors.
• Check smoke alarms once a month by pressing the test button and replace batteries as necessary.
• Prevent frozen pipes - when the weather is very cold outside, open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes.
• Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
• Never attempt to thaw pipes using a blow torch or any open flame device. Use warm water or a UL-listed device such as a hand-held hair dryer.
• Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
• Do not burn paper in a fireplace or use an accelerant to start/grow the fire.
• Keep the home’s thermostat set to a consistent temperature. • If you plan on using an alternate heating source, never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
• If using a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the heater. Place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface away from combustible materials including curtains.
• Always turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Keep children and pets away from your space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
• Don’t forget your pets. If you can’t bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.

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