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Bundle up this winter season

Here in north Alabama, we are accustomed to warmer winters. Some years we don’t even drag those heavy coats out of winter storage. As the new year dawns mild and sunny, it’s kind of hard to believe we are about two weeks into winter.

That doesn’t mean, however, that cold never sets in.

When frigid temps settle in, as they no doubt will, a little extra caution is wise. We hope our friends and neighbors in Franklin County will take the necessary steps to stay safe and warm this winter. Remembering the four “p’s” will help you weather the weather safely: people, pets, plants and pipes.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency encourages people to protect themselves from the cold by layering up when going outside. We hope people will also take the time to be sure elderly family members and neighbors are staying warm during frostier weather. Older adults can lose body heat faster than when they were young – and might not even realize just how cold they are getting, according to the National Institute on Aging. Reach out to those who might need a little extra help warding off the chill and make sure they can stay toasty warm.

Young children are also more vulnerable in cold weather, so be sure they are bundled up warmly if you have to go outdoors.

The EMA encourages pet-owners to protect their pets by giving them a warm place to sleep and plenty of food to eat. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, pets can suffer from chapped paws and dry skin in severe cold – just like their human besties – and pets with short hair are especially vulnerable to the cold. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm in wintertime, so feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories. The best warm place to sleep is off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Plants should be brought indoors as possible and kept away from chilly windows.

For those with pipes susceptible to freezing, the EMA recommends opening cabinets under faucets and letting the water slowly trickle until temperatures rise above freezing.

Temperatures are definitely slated to drop into the freezing range each night, so please take all necessary precautions to ward off the chill and enjoy a cozy start to 2019.

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