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As Record Cold Creeps Into Area, Know How to Keep Yourself, Home and Pets Safe

Cynthia Cumming

Saturday, January 4, 2014 • 8:18pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ - With the potential for record-breaking low temperatures creeping into the tri-state area by Monday night, residents need to be aware and prepared to keep themselves, their families and their homes safe.

Forecast

Despite a predicted jump in temperature on Jan. 5, with an anticipated high of 42 degrees and rain and fog expected Sunday night that will last into Monday, winds and changing weather patterns will cause a dramatic drop in temperature with the possibility of light snow. By Monday night, the arctic snap will be in place with temperatures expected in the single digits. Tuesday will see a temperature high of 11 degrees with evening temperatures at 4 degrees.

With winds of up to 30 mph expected, the wind chill may be as low as -15 degrees.

On Wednesday, temperatures will begin a rise to more normal numbers, with a high of 22° and Thursday is expected to see a high of 35 degrees.

Extreme temperatures require careful planning to ensure that you, your family, your home, and your vehicle stay safe. Here are some tips to help get you through the next several days.

For Families and Individuals
The greatest threats are hypothermia and frostbite. For example, if you go outside with exposed skin in 7° temperature and 40 mph winds, you can develop frostbite in 24 minutes. Hypothermia is caused by a drop in core body temperature. Children, seniors, thin people, and sick people are most susceptible. Do not go outside with any parts of the body exposed. Wear layers of warm clothing, hats, scarves and gloves to maintain body temperature. Wear waterproof footwear and stay as dry as possible. FEMA recommends that every family have a plan in place to deal with various weather conditions.

Neighbors and families should check on each other and try to stay indoors as much as possible.

For Homes 
The greatest concern in severe weather is loss of heat, power and communication. 
Cover drafty windows with cellophane insulation, or towels. Pipes can be wrapped in insulation or newspapers for the short term. Keep faucets at a drip to help prevent pipes from freezing. Know how to shut off your water in the event of a burst pipe.

Have a fire extinguisher on hand, especially if you are using alternative heat sources like space heaters. Keep your thermostat set at a reasonable and comfortable temperature. Do not adjust your heat up and down repeatedly.

Be sure the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors are up to date.

Have sand and rock salt on hand for icy walkways and driveways.

Keep cell phones charged, batteries and flashlights handy. Wireless house phones will not work if you lose power, though regular land phones might.

Pets 
Pets should not be kept outside in extremely cold weather. If your pet is an outdoor pet, you still need to provide a shelter that is dry, draft free, and has enough room. It should be warm enough so that their water dish won't freeze.

Bang your car hood before starting it in the event a cat or small animal may have crawled under the hood for warmth.

Wipe paws with a damp towel and dry your dog's feet after walking to get salt/chemicals off the pads. The same goes for cats that are allowed to go outside.

Keep antifreeze away from all animals.

If you see pets being abused, called the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 800-582-5979.

Vehicles 
Make sure you fill your tank with gas, check your antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid levels.  

Make sure battery terminals are clean.

Make sure your vehicle emergency kit  is updated and stocked.

 

 






 

 

 

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