5 Tips on Staying Safe During Extreme Cold Weather This Week

With brutal cold and high winds rolling into the Tri-State area this week, local officials and area utilities are worried about residents' health and safety.

Temperatures in our area are expected to dip into the single-digits Wednesday and Thursday. Wind chill will only add to the hazardous conditions.

NYSEG points out in a news release that as temperatures fall, the risk of house fires, carbon monoxide and other hazards increase.

Clear Vents, Gas Meters and Regulators of Snow and Ice

Snow, ice and other debris can block exhaust vents for things like furnaces, water heaters and other appliances. This can cause toxic fumes, particularly carbon monoxide, to build up indoors.

What to Do if Your Heat Fails

Scattered power outages are common during extreme cold. If you are unable to safely and comfortable heat your home, call 211 for help.

The risk of hypothermia and frostbite is very real in these conditions. Stay indoors if possible and wear warm clothing that covers your head and extremities if you go out.

Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

There should be a CO detector and a smoke detector on every level of your home. If you can't remember the last time you replaced the battery in your detector, check its status by pressing the 'test' button.

Read the Directions That Come With Your Space Heater

Space heaters are one of the most common culprits of house fires in the winter. Never use an outdoor device inside. Space heaters should always be set up on a level surface at least three feet away from any combustible material.

Make sure the heater's power cord is not frayed. Never use an extension cord for a space heater. Periodically check the cord near its power outlet to make sure it doesn't feel hot. Don't leave space heaters unattended

Don't Ignore Strange Noises From Plumbing, Heating Units

Water pipes that are exposed to extreme cold are liable to freeze and/or burst. If your faucet is dripping suddenly or making an unusual noise, contact an expert.

Your furnace area should be well ventilated and clear of flammable materials. Exposed pipes should be wrapped in insulation to help them retain heat.

The American Red Cross has a number of resources for both renters and home owners for keeping safe in the winter. Check here for more .

Photo: Getty Images

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