HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — It's going to be cold this week in Alabama. Like, really cold. Like below-freezing-for-days cold. How can you keep yourself and your family safe as temperatures from and Alabama gets a dose of winter weather?
People, Pets, Pipes, Plants
When you're doing your cold weather preparation, think about the four Ps: People, pets, pipes, and plants.
- Stay warm! Turn up the heater, use an electric blanket, bundle up, find a warming center.
- Use heaters safely. Space heaters should not be left unattended or placed near fabric or furniture. Gas-powered generators should never be used inside and gas stoves should not be used to heat a home.
- Beware of hypothermia. Infants, children, the elderly and people who spend a lot of time outdoors are at especially high risk. Symptoms include:
- Exhaustion or feeling very tired
- Fumbling hands
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Bright red, cold skin
- Very low energy
If you suspect someone around you has hypothermia:
- Get the person into a warm room or shelter.
- Remove any wet clothing the person is wearing.
- Warm the center of the person’s body—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. You can also use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
- Warm drinks can help increase body temperature, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
- After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrap their body, including their head and neck, in a warm blanket.
- Get the person proper medical attention as soon as possible.
- Check on elderly friends and neighbors. Make sure they are warm and have food, water, and other supplies.
- Driving? Be prepared to be safe on the road.
- If at all possible, bring pets indoors during cold weather.
- If you cant bring them indoors, make sure they have an enclosed, heated shelter with water available. Make sure water does not freeze.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. Smaller pets are at higher risk for cold-related illness.
The last thing you want during the holidays is broken pipes. Reduce the risk:
- Open cabinets under sinks to let household air warm the pipes
- Keep garage doors closed, especially if there is exposed plumbing in the garage.
- Set faucets to drip slowly. You can use a bucket to catch drips to use for other purposes.
- Protect spigots and hoses by disconnecting the hoses and covering the spigot. If you don't have a commercially produced cover, you can use a towel and garbage bag.
- Bring any plants that can't withstand sub-freezing temperatures inside.
- Make sure any greenhouses or lightweight structures are secured against the wind.