2009-01-15 / Editorial

Use common sense in the extreme cold


Bitterly cold weather has arrived and the weather forecasters say that thermometer will remain in the frigid range for a few days. Be smart and safe. Here are a few tips for surviving the extreme cold:

• Dress warmly whenever going outside. Frostbite and hypothermia are always a danger. Frostbite can occur quickly on exposed skin.

• Make sure that everyone bundles up with warm coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Layer clothing, that way you can control your body temperature. Warm boots help, too.

• It is always good to have a winter survival kit in your car. In addition to extra gloves and hats, the kit should include, among other items, a blanket, booster cables, a flashlight, a bag of sand and a first aid kit. Take along your cell phone when you travel.

• Keep your car's gas tank full.

• Avoid frozen pipes. Allow your home's water faucets, especially those with pipes on outside walls, to drip slowly, especially at night when the temperatures are coldest. Improve the air circulation near water pipes by opening cabinet doors.

• If you heat with oil, make sure you have plenty of heating oil in the tank to fuel your furnace.

• Be extra careful when using space heaters. Make sure to only use those that are approved for indoor use. Always make sure rooms are well ventilated to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Check to make sure that power cords are not frayed. Don't overload electrical circuits.

• Always keep a fire extinguisher in your home.

• If using a fireplace or wood stove, know how to use it correctly. Make the sure that the unit is well maintained and that the chimney has been cleaned.

• Never use gas or charcoal grills, generators, camp stoves or lanterns or similar devices indoors.

• Avoid exertion. Cold weather puts an extra strain on your heart.

• Do not leave your pets outdoors for extended periods. Dogs and cats that normally stay inside are not equipped for extremely cold weather. Small dogs and short-haired dogs may benefit from a winter coat.

• Don't forget to feed the birds. Our feathered friends need the extra food to stay warm!

• Watch out for icy steps and sidewalks.

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