Stay both safe and warm

Freezing rain and drizzle, followed by up to 8 inches of snow, then temperatures plunging into the deep freeze, was the not-very-pleasant weather forecast for this weekend in Columbiana County.

We’ve already had a significant amount of snowfall so far this winter, as well as single digit and below zero temperatures, but this combination of inclement weather factors makes life not only uncomfortable, it’s dangerous, and can become deadly without the proper precautions.

The National Weather Service recommends the following:

∫ To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, plan for extreme cold before it arrives. Don’t get caught unprepared.

∫ Check the forecast at weather.gov or your favorite weather app, station, etc.: Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you’ll know when to expect cold weather.

∫ Adjust your schedule: If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning.

∫ Protect your pets, livestock and other property: If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold. Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.

∫ Fill up the gas tank: Make sure your vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded.

∫ Dress for the outdoors even if you don’t think you’ll be out much.

∫ Make sure your car’s winter survival kit has the following:

Jumper cables; flares or reflective triangle are great extras.

Flashlights; replace the batteries and pack some extras.

First aid kit; also check your purse or bag for essential medications.

Baby, special needs gear; if you have a baby or family member with special needs, pack diapers and any special formula or food.

Food: stock non-perishable food such as canned food and a can opener, dry cereal and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars.

Water; have at least one gallon of water per person a day for at least three days.

Basic tool kit; pliers, wrench, screwdriver.

Pet supplies; food and water.

Radio; battery or hand cranked.

Cat litter or sand; for better tire traction.

Shovel; to dig out snow.

Ice scraper; even if you usually park in a garage, have one in the car.

Clothes; make sure you dress for the weather in warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold.

Warmers; pack extra for body, hand, feet.

Blankets or sleeping bags; if you get stranded in traffic on a lonely road, you’ll be glad to have it.

Charged phone; keep a spare charger in your car as well.

Also 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. Pet owners should 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 and treacherous whether. We’re fortunate that this latest round of bad weather has decided to visit us on the weekend, so if you can, stay indoors.

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