Sheriff Craft reminds citizens that now is the time to prepare for the extreme cold forecasted for our area.

 

Check on elderly neighbors or homebound persons to ensure their well-being during this weather event. Elderly persons and people who have mobility issues are much more susceptible to the cold weather.

Citizens should have canned food items, pantry staples (bread, flour, instant coffee,tea, etc.), bottled water, batteries, flashlights, alternate heat source for cooking, medications, baby food and formula, and pet food to last several days.

A battery operated radio and flashlight may be helpful in the event of power loss.

Some tips for helping you prepare and weather the cold:

Plug electric space heaters directly into the wall socket, not into extension cords . Keep anything that may burn at least three feet away from the heater.

All gas heating sources should put out a clear blue flame. If you see a primarily orange or yellowish flame, have it checked by a professional.

Don't operate a damaged heater

Keep it away from furniture, drapes, bedding, clothes, or papers

Keep clear a 3 ft. circumference around the heater

Never leave the heater unattended

Make sure the plug is secure in the wall outlet

Don't overload the plug

Place the heater on a stable, level surface

If you must go outside, remember that several layers of clothes will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat, advises the National Weather Service. A hat is also important, as 20 percent of body heat loss is through the head.

Tips for protecting your pipes:

Use insulating faucet covers, or wrap rags, paper or trash bags, or plastic foam around outdoor faucets.

Temporarily cover any vents around the foundation of your home.

Disconnect water hoses from the faucets, drain the hoses and bring indoors if possible.

Open the cabinets under the sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms to allow heated indoor air to circulate around water pipes.

If you normally set your thermostat back at night, set the thermostat a few degrees higher until the severe freeze is over.

If your home has exposed pipes and a severe freeze is predicted, let faucets run at a slow trickle, not a stream. Too many running faucets in a community can cause the water pressure to drop, which will hinder fire-fighting emergencies.

Pet safety tips:

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.

If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Keep your pets inside when the temperature drops, advises the ASPCA . If that's not possible, make sure they have a warm place to take shelter that protects them from the wind. Also, check your car for cats because outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hood to stay warm. Bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Cold weather tips for your plants:

Satsumas do not need protection until the temperature drops below 25 degrees F. Lemons, limes and oranges generally need to be protected when the temperature dips below 26 degrees F. However, theses trees can be killed or damaged at higher temperatures if they are not sufficiently hardened with enough pre-conditioning cold temperatures to halt their growth.

You can use electric space heaters to heat home greenhouses and garages or sheds where plants are stored, but be extra careful. Plants should be located well away from the heaters along with any other flammable materials. Use heavy-duty extension cords that are free from damage. Use caution when watering plants. Electric heaters must be unplugged until the area is dry. The heat generated by electric heaters is much more effective when it is circulated, so it's a good idea to have a fan running to move the air around.

Harvest all your citrus fruit if a freeze is imminent. It takes five to 10 hours for fruit to freeze when temperatures are in the mid- to low 20s. Frozen fruit is ruined fruit

If freezes are forecast for several nights in a row, plants can stay covered with blankets or sheets for days without harm. But eventually the covers will need to be removed so the plants can get light.