Temperatures are expected to dip below normal across much of the eastern half of the country from the Plains to the East Coast and as far south as Texas and Florida. As this first taste of winter moves in, the American Red Cross offers ten steps people can take to stay safe during the big chill.
1. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
7. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
8. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
9. Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
10. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
For more information on how to stay safe this winter, visit the winter storm safety information available on redcross.org website.