With temperatures dropping below freezing, it is a good time to refresh on the four P’s:
- Avoid going outside if it is not necessary. If you do, make sure you layer up from head to toe.
- To keep you and your family safe, it is imperative your home is warm.
- Make sure your heat is set to an appropriate temperature to make your entire home comfortable. Remember, heat rises so if you sleep upstairs, your room may be warmer than rooms downstairs.
- Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
- If you smell smoke or see flames, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- While protecting your family, it is imperative to protect your pets as well.
- Pets, like humans, are vulnerable to cold temperatures. If not taken care of properly, they can succumb to frostbite and even hypothermia.
- If you have a dog that typically lives outdoors, consider letting them inside when temperatures drop to freezing. While their fur does help to keep them warm, it provides little help in freezing temperatures.
- If you absolutely cannot bring them inside, make sure they have a warm shelter, plenty of food and fresh water so it does not freeze.
- If your pet looks like it has any symptoms resembling frostbite or hypothermia, call your vet.
- Make sure to cover all your exposed pipes with a cover. You can also cover your pipes with towels, duct tape or another adhesive strip as long as they are wrapped tightly.
- Let your faucets drip throughout the day to keep them from freezing.
- You should also open up the cabinets to let warm air circulate throughout your home. Just make sure any harmful chemicals are out of reach for children and pets.
- When cold weather hits, it’s a good idea to bring in all of your outdoor plants.
- If you can’t bring in the plant, cover it with a blanket to make sure they do not die.
Additionally, there are a few vehicle-safety tips to observe during winter weather:
- Keep vehicle gas tanks full
- Have tire pressures checked
- Keep a phone charger, first aid kit, blankets, and jumper cables in personal vehicles
- State highway information can be located at www.drivetexas.org.
Lastly, here are some safety tips recommended by local Fire Departments regarding space heaters and other supplemental heating sources:
- If you use a space heater, make sure to keep it away from anything that may be flammable including curtains, indoor plants, bedding, etc. Also, do not keep it running overnight and do not keep it running in an unoccupied room. Always turn off space heaters when leaving the room and/or going to sleep
- Do not power space heaters with extension cords or power strips; do not use power strips or extension cords as an alternative for permanent wiring
- Never leave a space heater unattended, or a child unattended with a space heater
- Keep all combustible materials (and people) at least three (3) feet away from space heaters
- If you use a fireplace, make sure you have a screen to catch any embers that might escape or a rolling log.
- Never overload outlets or breakers