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Sunday, April 22, 2018
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Good safety advice for the cold, cold weather

By Times Staff
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With bitter cold weather settled into Sullivan County, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is encouraging Hoosiers to be prepared.
Cold weather precautions
• Hoosiers should limit their exposure by staying indoors. Make trips outside as brief as possible.
• If spending time outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing, and cover any exposed skin with a hat, scarf, and gloves.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
• Pet owners should be especially sensitive to their animal’s limits when outside. Bring pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water. Be aware of local ordinances regarding outdoor pets.
Space heaters and other alternative heating
• Appliances such as ovens should never be used for heating. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Do not close the fireplace damper too early while ashes are still hot. Doing so can force dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the home.
• Keep at least a three-foot perimeter around space heaters at all times.
• Space heaters should be kept away from loose or flammable objects such as clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture.
• Only one space heater should be plugged into each electrical outlet. Never overload electrical outlets.
• Do not leave space heaters on in unoccupied rooms.
• If it is necessary to purchase a space heater, consider purchasing one with a built-in tilt sensor that automatically shuts off if tipped over.
• Refuel kerosene space heaters outside the home in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to let them cool down first if they were recently used.
• Use only dry, seasoned firewood to prevent build-up of creosote, which can prevent the chimney from venting properly.
• Avoid using flammable liquid to start fires in fireplaces or wood stoves. Always have a fire extinguisher on hand in case the fire gets out of control.
Power outage plan
• Citizens should look up their electric utility’s outage reporting phone number and add it to their cellphone contact list.
• Get ready by charging all cell phones, laptops and any other battery-operated accessories to ensure maximum battery life when without power. Most cellphones can be used to receive important updates on weather and power outages.
• Identify the most insulated and interior room available and gather warm blankets, sleeping bags and layers to help family members stay warm.
• Wood-burning and gas-powered fireplaces may still be options. Only use if they have been properly inspected and are in working order. Do not use a cook stove, oven, grill, etc., as a source to heat a home.
• Rooms can be further insulated with blankets or other barrier materials over windows.
• Ensure that items in preparedness kits, for the home and especially for cars, are up to date.
• Gather medications and other needed items in case power goes out.
· Know how to determine if it is safe to travel and know where to go should the power go out. Identify a friend or family member’s house now, or a nearby shelter.
Needed supplies to have on hand
• Food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person, per day)
• Battery operated or hand crank all hazard radio
• Flashlight
• Extra batteries for radio and flashlight
• Extra clothing, warm blankets, sleeping bags for insulation
• Special items (baby formula, insulin, medications)
Should the power go out:
• Notify the electric utility right away.
• Gather everyone in the most insulated and interior room available.
• Turn off and unplug most electronic devices to avoid a power surge. Leave one light on to know when the power has been restored.
• Check travel conditions before determining if evacuation is necessary. If leaving the home, take medications and other must-need items, along with extra clothing to a friend or family member’s house, or a nearby shelter.
• Consider taking the time to check on neighbors, especially those with medical conditions.
• Monitor weather conditions and updates on a charged cellphone.
For more winter weather preparedness information, visit GetPrepared.in.gov. To keep up with developments on social media, visit www.facebook.com/IndianaDHS or @IDHS on Twitter.


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