With the temperatures falling outside this week, the City of Douglas urges citizens to remember and protect the 4 P’s – People, Pipes, Pets, and Plants.
Protect People – Elderly people who live alone need to be checked on during these cold days to make sure they are clothing themselves properly and that they are using heating resources properly. Make sure they have extra blankets to warm themselves in case of power outages. Help protect them from cold by making sure they are eating and drinking regularly and that they are getting enough rest. Fatigue and improper diet can make them susceptible to hypothermia. Dress children in warm fabrics like fleece and wool. Dress in layers when they go outside. Cover their extremities with gloves and hats. Warm boots and gloves are essential since toes and fingers are most prone to frostbite. Make sure the children cover their ears and nose and wear a hat to prevent heat loss from the head. Children should come inside often to limit exposure to the cold.
According to the Douglas Fire Department Chief Casey Wright, “People should be extra careful when using supplemental heating and be sure all heating equipment is at least 3 ft. away from materials such as drapes or chairs. Do not leave a fireplace unattended and do not use flammable liquid to start a fire in the fireplace. Check your smoke detectors and make sure they are working properly.”
During cold weather, travel should be minimized, but, if travel is necessary, people should make sure their vehicle had a tune-up recently and always carry an emergency travel kit. Some items that are included in emergency travel kits are: cell phones with portable chargers/batteries, flashlight with extra batteries, snack food, water, blankets, extra coats/hats, chains/rope, compressed air for tire repair, booster cables, shovel, windshield scraper, emergency flares, first aid kit, bright colored flags, tool kit, road map, compass, waterproof matches, and paper towels.
Protect your Pipes – Remember to protect your pipes. Insulate your pipes with cloth or similar material to help prevent freezing. Run at least one water faucet in the house/business at a thin stream which will lower the risk of broken water lines during freezing conditions. Turn off sprinkler systems that flow into roadways. Leaving sprinkler systems on could cause the water to turn to ice which will create a road hazard.
Protect Pets – If you are cold, then your pet is cold also. Pets especially small pets like cats or puppies, should be brought inside. Do not leave your pet in your car during cold weather. Your vehicle actually turns into a refrigerator, holding the cold in. If you cannot bring your pet inside, make sure they have a warm dry place to sleep and plenty of food and water.
Protect Plants – Cover plants to protect them from freezing temperatures with a cardboard box or blanket. Along with covering your plants, a light bulb will sometimes give off enough heat to protect your plants from freezing. Potted plants should be taken inside and if you choose to leave them outside, wrap completely and near the bottom of the container. Check your plant following the freeze and apply a small amount of water to thaw the soil.
Most of all, stay home, stay warm and out of the weather if at all possible. For local emergencies, dial 9-1-1. For City of Douglas Utility non-emergencies, dial 3-1-1 or 384-3302.