Extra precautions needed in the cold

The area in the past couple days has been feeling the coldest temperatures in the past several years.

After last year’s extremely mild winter, this cold snap, although short, is extra brutal.

The biggest concern during periods of extreme cold weather is home heating safety.

The heating source in some homes may not be enough to get the indoor temperature comfortably warm, so many people turn to alternative sources that also bring the danger of a house fire.

Space heaters can quickly heat up a room, but they require special precautions.

Check the space heater’s power cord for cracks, fraying, loose connections and broken plugs. Repair or replace the heater if there are signs of any damage. Most manufacturers recommend not using extension cords.

Keep children, pets, and flammable items at least 3 feet from the heater. Experts recommend not putting space heaters on uneven surfaces, near foot traffic or in children’s rooms.

Most important, never leave a heater turned on unattended or while sleeping.

Make sure to keep adequate ventilation by slightly opening a window if using a kerosene heater. Only use the type of fuel the heater is designed to use.

If a fireplace is used, don’t burn paper and make sure the flue is properly working.

Keep a fire extinguisher near any alternative heat source. Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly working.

The best time to prepare for cold winter weather is when it is still warm outside. Consider that come next summer or fall when work can be done to make the house winter tight.

Outdoor pets also need to be protected during extremely cold weather. Make sure the pet has a water source that isn’t frozen. Provide the pet with blankets or straw so the animal can stay warm. Make extra checks on outdoor pets and consider bringing dogs into at least the garage to get them out of the elements.

Make sure children are properly dressed for the cold weather. Hats, gloves, boots and layers of warm clothing are a must. Limit the amount of time children are allowed to play outside. Schools go on a two-hour delay so children don’t have to be outside waiting for a bus during the coldest part of the day.

Also, check on elderly or sick neighbors. Ask them if they need anything from the store or an errand run to help keep them inside.

Think safety when trying to deal with this cold weather.