The Ohio Valley (and the rest of West Virginia and Ohio) is predicted to experience record low temperatures today, and the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh has issued a Wind Chill Warning for our area to remain in effect until 10:00 am Wednesday morning. The attorneys and staff at Bordas & Bordas have braved the weather to come into the office today, and would like to share the following cold weather tips for you and your family. We hope you all stay warm and safe as this "polar vortex" holds us all in its grips!
For Your Home:
Take care when using supplemental heating devices such as space heaters, ovens, stoves, electric blankets, or propane heaters. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that more than 50,000 residential fires annually are caused by heating. Most of these fires occur in January, as families try to beat the cold. Improper heating device use also is a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home have fresh batteries and are functioning. If possible, try to keep your home heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside your walls is much lower than the temperature in the rooms of your house. Keeping your home at 65 helps ensure that the pipes inside your walls won't freeze. In case you do experience frozen pipes, learn how to use the main water shutoff valve in your home before disaster strikes.
For Your Car:
Make sure to check your antifreeze levels to prevent your engine block from freezing. If the locks on your door have frozen shut, try warming your key to heat up the lock from the inside. Never pour warm water on your car, as in extreme temperatures such as the ones facing the Ohio Valley this week, the water can re-freeze and create an even worse situation. Keep your gas tank at a minimum of half full, and avoid driving if you suspect the roads are icy. If you must drive, make sure to go slower than usual, and increase the distance you usually keep between your vehicle and the car in front of you. If it's been a while since you checked your car battery, consider taking a look at it. Older batteries sometimes cannot be jump-started once exposed to sub-zero temperatures. Make sure your tires are fully inflated, and also check your car's oil levels if possible.
For Your Family:
The Ohio Valley will be experiencing lower temperatures than it has in the past 20 years. Although you might feel that you know how to handle the cold, the weather today is different than your normal cold snap. Limit your time outdoors, and dress in warm layers to insulate your body. When walking around outdoors, walk carefully on areas you suspect might be icy. Keep dry, and change any wet clothing frequently. Learn the early warning signs of frostbite, and make sure to seek medical attention if you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms. Check in on any loved ones who you think might be at particular risk during inclement weather (such as the elderly and the disabled). If you know of anyone who needs a warm place to go, the following warming centers will be set up in Ohio, Belmont and Marshall counties.
For Your Pets:
Barley and Guinness recently shared some of their helpful hints to keep your furry friends warm and safe during the winter. They would like to remind you again to please keep all of your pets inside during this weather, and remember to wipe off their paws when they come inside. Dogs and cats can ingest salt or antifreeze when licking themselves clean after a romp in the snow, and a minute spent cleaning them off can prevent them from becoming ill. Never leave your pet alone outside in this sort of weather, even if you only plan to have it be for just a minute. Bang loudly on the hood of your car before you start it, as cats sometimes sleep beneath cars to escape inclement weather.