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Many days of brutally cold weather are forecast. Are you prepared?

While weather predictions can be off, the forecast of an Artic blast next week comes with a 90% certainty. The forecast’s several day lead-time provides the opportunity to be prepared.

In addition to stocking up on food and water to avoid needing to go out in the cold any more than necessary, the American Red Cross provides tips for preparing for a winter storm. Relevant tips for next week include:

      • Winterize your vehicle(s) and keep the gas tank(s) full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
      • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F to prevent pipes from freezing.
      • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
      • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
      • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
      • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
      • Use sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
      • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
      • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
      • Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

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