Tips for coping with subzero temps

News-DemocratJanuary 2, 2014 

Subzero temperatures are headed to the metro-east. Here's what you need to know:

* Bring pets and companion animals inside. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.

* Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

* Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.

* An emergency supply kit at home will help prepare for power outages. The home supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water for each person, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries, and any items to meet the unique needs of your family.

* Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, check or have a mechanic check the antifreeze levels, battery and ignition system, and keep a full tank of gas to keep the fuel line from freezing. Check your oil levels also; heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.

* Keep an emergency supply kit in your vehicle. The kit should include a shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, matches, extra warm clothing, necessary medications, blankets, tow chain, road salt, booster cables, emergency flares and fluorescent distress flags.

* If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, be sure to store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. If your heat goes out, never use a generator or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home.

* While shoveling snow, watch for warning signs of a heart attack, lightheadedness, dizziness, being short of breath or if you have tightness or burning in chest, neck, arms or back. If you think you are having a heart attack call 911.

Tips provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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