Get ready for the cold

Arctic, bone-chilling, sub-zero temperatures, which our area has not experienced for more than 20 years are headed this way Monday night into Tuesday morning.

We’ve had a significant amount of snowfall so far this winter, and single digit temperatures this past week, but what has been predicted for Columbiana County and the surrounding area in this next few days is actual temperatures dipping to as low as 20 degrees below zero. This kind of weather is not only uncomfortable, it’s dangerous, and can become deadly without the proper precautions.

The Red Cross of Northeast Ohio has issued the following reminders and tips for coping with this dangerously cold weather.

While the Red Cross advises us to stay warm, residents are urged to avoid the following fire dangers:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat a home.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
  • Turn off space heaters before going to bed.
  • Use generators correctly never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.

Other safety tips and suggestions for keeping warm from the Red Cross include:

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • To avoid pipe freeze, keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night.

While the Red Cross suggests bringing pets indoors, with livestock and some larger outdoor pets, this may not be possible.

The Humane Society of Columbiana County (HSCC) offers suggestions ways to keep animals and livestock exposed to extreme temperatures safe and comfortable.

Single digit and sub-zero temperatures require more energy to produce the body heat required for survival in frigid temperatures, HSCC says. Therefore, additional food intake is required. A sufficient quantity of food and fresh, unfrozen water is even more important when it is difficult for the animal to stay warm.

And although it is tempting to use blankets and comforters as bedding for the animal required to remain outdoors, these materials absorb moisture, leaving them rigid and frozen. HSCC recommends using straw instead. Straw allows the pet to burrow in or nest to achieve maximum heat preservation. Straw can also be distributed on the frozen ground or snow to allow some protection from frozen surfaces.

In addition, an animal must always have access to some form of shelter that protects it from heat, cold, rain, snow or excessive direct sunlight. A shelter should be proportionate to the size of the pets allowing body heat to be as efficient as possible.

Pets should be moved into interior shelters when temperatures and wind chill levels reach dangerous levels.

All pet owners need to be mindful that pet paws are sensitive to extreme cold or heat and can be frostbitten or burned if not protected from contact surfaces. HSCC suggests pet owners opt for short leashed walks and quick outdoor visits in the days ahead. If a dog is prancing with its feet off the ground, there is a discomfort level. When a dog licks its paws after being in the cold, redness and irritation can result. Indoor alternatives for exercise and areas that do not expose dogs to rock salt that irritates paw tissue should be utilized.

We hope you will take some of these safety tips to heart and take extra measures to remain safe through this cold snap. While you’re at it, make sure to check on elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they are weathering the storm as well.