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fire & life safety

Cold Weather Safety

Winter Storms Can Be Deadly

Extreme cold can cause hypothermia (an extreme lowering of the body’s temperature) and death.
Fireplaces, emergency heaters, and candles can cause household fires.
Toxic fumes such as carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, emitted from some devices can cause asphyxiation (unconsciousness or death from a lack of oxygen).

Cold Weather Tips

Close off unused rooms during the coldest periods.
Caulk and weather strip doors and windows. Insulate outdoor pipes.
Make sure your home has working fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, and smoke alarm.
Stock up and develop an Emergency Supplies Kit.
Space heaters should be at least 3 feet from any combustible elements such as furniture and drapes. Never leave children unattended around a space heater. Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stoves indoors – the fumes are deadly.
Use flashlights or lanterns as opposed to candles for lighting.

Keep Older Adults and Kids Safe

Avoid strenuous activity, it strains the heart.
Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, layered clothes. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
Drink warm liquids and water to avoid dehydration.
Wear mittens or gloves to protect hands – mittens are warmer.
Watch for signs of frostbite.
Watch for signs of hypothermia.

If you think you have frostbite or hypothermia, you should call 911 as they are potentially life threatening medical conditions. Don’t eat or drink anything containing caffeine or alcohol – they worsen the symptoms.

Protect Your Pets

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) urges area residents to protect pets during cold weather.

An outdoor dog must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the animal to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in its body heat. The house should include a warm bed, face away from the wind and have a doorway covered with a flap.
The warm engine compartment of a parked car makes a cozy sleeping spot for cats. Before starting your engine, bang on your car to roust any sleeping animals.
Never leave a dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. Your car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your animal companion could freeze to death.
Ethylene glycol in antifreeze is a killer. Pets are attracted to the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even a small amount can kill them. Clean up spills immediately, tightly close containers and store antifreeze where pets cannot reach it.
Keep animals inside, especially at night. Short-haired, very young, or old pets should never be left outside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only long enough to relieve himself.
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