The City of Monroe recommends everyone follow the guidelines below.
• Watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If you feel the person is suffering from hypothermia, get them to a warm location, remove any wet clothing and warm the center of the body first, giving warm, non-alcoholic beverages to the victim if conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
• Be sure that space heaters are properly tested and are placed a safe distance from flammable materials (at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes).
• Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
• Check on the elderly and those who may have functional or access needs to make sure that they have sufficient warmth to get them through the cold weather.
• Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
• Dress in layers and wear hats, gloves, and an appropriate jacket.
• Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
• Protect people from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.
• Insulate pipes and faucets in unheated areas. Remember to disconnect and drain outdoor hoses.
• Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.
• When the temperature falls below 32 degrees, turn at least one water faucet on and allow it to drip slowly. This keeps water flowing and decreases the chances of water freezing inside your pipes.
• If pipes are frozen (no water comes out), locate the main shutoff valve and turn the supply off to prevent further damage, then call a plumber.
• For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.
• Create windbreaks around sensitive plants to keep the cold air from "burning" them.
• Keep your plants hydrated, which helps fight off drying due to cold winds.
• Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
• During extremely cold weather, pets should be kept indoors.
• Don't shave your pet's coat all the way down during the winter. Exposed skin can easily lead to hypothermia and frostbite. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater for the winter weather.
• Never leave your animal in a car during the winter. Just as cars are dangerous in the hot summer months, they are dangerous for pets in the winter as well. They can act as refrigerators and can result in hypothermia.
• Additional pet preparedness information can be found at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness.