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Cold weather has made its landfall in the Carolinas. Say goodbye to the warm weather as winter is upon us. The next couple of weeks the average temperature will be in the 40s and 50s with some day’s lows dropping below freezing. The American Red Cross wants to make sure that everyone remains safe during these cold days.

Below are safety tips to protect you, your family, your pets, and your home:•Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will prevent losing your body heat
•Protect your pipes- run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet to allow warmer air to circulate around plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of reach of children. Keep the garage door closed if there are water lines in the garage
•Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
•Download American Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google play stores
•Bring your pets inside during cold weather
•Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have non frozen drinking water.
•If animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles

With cold weather, the number of home fires often rises. To protect your family from home fires be aware of the following:

•Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces professionally inspected once a year
•Never use a stove or oven to heat the home
•Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended
•Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving the home
•Place a space heater on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a space heater model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over
•When using a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs, and keep the fire in the fireplace
•Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, and stoves

Smoke alarms save lives. People should:

•Install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas
•Check monthly that smoke alarms are working properly by pushing the test button
•Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year
•Replace smoke alarms every ten years

The Red Cross has series of mobile apps – it puts help right in your hand. To download visit, Apple iTunes or Google play store.

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