How to prep pets, home and you for winter weather

JACKSON, Tenn. — We will be facing some of the coldest Christmas temperatures since the 1980s, and they will last several days.

Are you prepared?

Family nurse practitioner, Tiffany Simpson says hypothermia is one of the bigger risks that comes with extreme cold weather.

Another big risk is the spread of viral infections due to everyone being inside in close proximity.

Lastly, when temperatures get too low, Simpson suggests checking on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly. She says to make sure they have sufficient heat and food.

“A lot of times we would see people that get hypothermic, and this is just speaking from ER experience. Nobody would know that they were there, that their heat was out. And so that’s when the bigger risk of hypothermia sets in,” Simpson said.

However, people are not the only ones that suffer from colder temperatures. Do not forget about your pets.

Crystal King, from the Carroll County Humane Society, says it is best to bring your pets inside, even if it is only for a day or two.

She says if you’re worried about them behaving indoors, put them in a bathroom or a kennel. If you cannot do that, a garage, dog house, or heat lamp may suffice.

If you are leaving your pet in a dog house, she recommends using wood chips over blankets because the blankets soak up moisture and make the pet colder.

“Some of the cats or littler dogs will go into a vehicle, like up underneath, or in the engine because you drove that day or whatever. They’ll go in there to keep warm and they’ll probably, you know, they might make it through the night from the warmth of that, but you, you’re not going to be expecting it in the morning when you go to start your car,” King said.

Lastly, your home needs to be prepared for the cold weather as well.

You may want to start up the fireplace or use a space heater. However, Jackson Fire Public Education Officer Latrell Billingsley says that it is imperative to have your chimneys and wood stoves inspected by a professional before use.

Tuesday, the Jackson Fire Department responded to a fire that started in the chimney and spread to the attic.

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Billingsley says that if you’re using a space heater, make sure there is three feet of space around it at all times. It’s important that you do not heat your home with your kitchen stove or vehicle.

“Heating appliances account for, according to the National Fire Protection Association, they account for approximately 56,000 home structure fires per year. And within that you have approximately 470 death that result from that, and about 1,493 injuries as well,” Billingsley said.

Stay with WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News online and on the air as we bring you updates on the winter weather later in the week.

You can find tips for staying warm and safe this week here. You can also find additional groups providing resources for warmth here.

Find more local news here.

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