TYLER, Texas — Cold weather has returned to East Texas.
With temperatures expected to drop into the mid-to-low 20s, it is a good time to refresh on the four P's:
Avoid going outside if it is not necessary. If you do, make sure you layer up from head to toe.
To keep you and your family safe, it is imperative your home is warm.
Make sure your heat is set to an appropriate temperature to make your entire home is comfortable. Remember, heat rises so if you sleep upstairs, your room may be warmer than rooms downstairs.
If you cannot sufficiently heat your home during the overnight hours, considering staying at a hotel. You could also call up a friend or relative for a place to stay.
If you use a space heater, make sure to keep it away from anything that may be flammable including curtains, Christmas trees, bedding, etc. Also, do not keep it running overnight and do not keep it running in an unoccupied room.
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If you use a fireplace, make sure you have a screen to catch any embers that might escape or a rolling log.
Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
If you smell smoke or see flames, call 9-1-1 immediately.
If you have any elderly family or neighbors, call or visit them and make sure they are warm. You should create a plan to ensure they are safe including having extra blankets or checking on their thermostat. If they use a space heater, make sure it does not run overnight.
Invite them to your home or help them get a hotel if there is no source of heat overnight.
While protecting your family, it is imperative to protect your pets as well.
Pets, like humans, are vulnerable to cold temperatures. If not taken care of properly, they can succumb to frostbite and even hypothermia.
If you have a dog that typically lives outdoors, consider letting them inside when temperatures drop to freezing. While their fur does help to keep them warm, it provides little help in freezing temperatures.
If you absolutely cannot bring them inside, make sure they have a warm shelter, plenty of food and fresh water so it does not freeze.
Also, try to avoid shaving your pet's fur. If they are a short-hair pet, consider giving them a winter sweater to keep them warm.
When you take your pet for a walk, do not keep them outside for too long.
If your pet looks like it has any symptoms resembling frostbite or hypothermia, call your vet.
Make sure to cover all your exposed pipes with a cover. You can also cover your pipes with towels, duct tape or another adhesive strip as long as they are wrapped tightly.
Let your faucets drip throughout the day to keep them from freezing.
You should also open up the cabinets to let warm air circulate throughout your home. Just make sure any harmful chemicals are out of reach for children and pets.
When cold weather hits, it's a good idea to bring in all of your outdoor plants. If you can't bring in the plant, cover it with a blanket to make sure they do not die.
Don't forget to make sure your car is okay for the freezing temperatures. Check your anti-freeze and your batteries. Also make sure to check your tire pressure and the tread.
Speaking of cars, make sure when you are on the road that you are mindful parts of the roads may be frozen, particularly bridges. Do not speed and never slam on the brakes.
Make sure if you use a generator, it is outdoors. Do not use a generator inside, including in your basement or garage.