With the extreme cold becoming more likely, Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department would like to provide the community with several important safety tips in the event of inclement weather.
“As we get deeper into winter, frigid temperatures are going to be more common, so residents should take steps to protect themselves,” Chief Mitchell said.
To stay safe, the Georgetown Fire Department recommends that residents follow tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
- If outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Check on your elderly neighbors or any neighbors that may live alone.
- For your car, check your antifreeze, battery, defroster, windshield wipers, wiper fluid and other vehicle equipment to make sure they are ready for winter driving.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternate emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. There are many resources available for low-income residents who meet certain requirements. National Grid offers discounted rates on services to those who are eligible. The state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help certain households pay for a portion of their heating bills.
- When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, your fireplace, wood stove, or space heater, take necessary safety precautions:
— Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it properly.
— Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven or charcoal barbecue grill.
— Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home. Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home.
— Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately and evacuate the area.
For pet owners unsure of what protections their pets need during cold weather, the Humane Society provides the following tips for keeping animals safe:
- Keep pets sheltered and inside. Cats should never be left outdoors in cold weather, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs should be taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time.
- Bundle up dogs, especially short-haired dogs, with protective gear, such as sweaters and boots. No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet’s life. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps.