With an Arctic blast sending low temperatures across the midstate till Wednesday, there are plenty of precautionary measures that Middle Georgia residents can take to keep safe.
Here are a few to consider:
IN AND AROUND THE HOME
Run a small trickle of water from both hot and cold faucets during extreme cold.
Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls.
Keep exterior doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during winter months.
If you are taking a short trip or own a business that will be unoccupied for more than 24 hours, make arrangements to have the dwelling checked during severe cold snaps, if possible. Discovering a burst pipe or water leak quickly can prevent excessive damage.
Minimize the chance your pipes will freeze by insulating pipes in unheated areas and those that run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. Disconnect outside garden hoses and seal foundation cracks that can freeze pipes in crawl spaces.
ON THE ROAD
If you must travel, plan ahead and check conditions. Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
Watch out for black ice. Roads that appear clear may be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off ramps, bridges, and shady areas. All of them are prone to black ice. One way to spot black ice is to look for darker areas of the roadway or slightly raised areas of the road.
If you are unsure about road conditions, drive 5 to 10 mph under the speed limit to make sure you have full control of your vehicle. Stay focused and limit distractions.
Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicles fuel line from freezing.
Never warm up your vehicle in a closed garage.
Dont use cruise control on icy roads.
Allow more time for braking when visibility is poor.
Stay calm if you start to skid.
Carry a cell phone and make sure it is charged.
Carry emergency supplies. Besides the just-in-case items you should always have in your vehicle, such as jumper cables, tire-changing tools, a flashlight and a first aid kit, consider adding blankets, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper and traction material.
Animal shelters and rescue groups recommend bringing pets indoors to protect them from freezing temperatures.
If thats not possible, refuge should be provided by leaving the bottom of garage doors open and providing bedding inside the garage for outdoor cats. Dog houses also need bedding and wind protection.
For more information, go to: http://goo.gl/WolnJh
Sources: Bibb County Sheriffs Office, State Farm Insurance, Mid Georgia Ambulance, Warner Robins Police Department, Humane Society
-- Staff reports