COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS
We want all residents to stay safe during extreme cold weather. If you have an emergency situation, please dial 911. Remember to check on elderly family and neighbors. Make sure your elderly family and neighbors have enough heat and food. Tell them to avoid shoveling, especially if they have a heart condition. Help your pets stay warm by keeping them indoors. They suffer in the cold just like humans.
For those in need, the following two places have been designated as Warming Shelters during their regular operating hours :
- Louis Sherman Community Center, 3501 Hopkins, Steger
- Steger-South Chicago Heights Library, 54 E. 31st Street, Steger
After operating hours, please call the Steger Non-Emergency Number at 708-754-8121
Keep your home safe;
Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a technician every year.
- NEVER use your oven for heat and NEVER bring charcoal or gas grills indoors. They are a carbon monoxide hazard.
- Don’t place electric space heaters near curtains or other flammable materials. Turn them off before you go to bed.
- Never leave candles unattended.
- Make sure all portable heat-producing appliances are unplugged when they are not in use.
- Keep dryer vents clear of snow and ice.
Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning;
The odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas is created when fuel is burned. Carbon monoxide prevents your body from using oxygen. This can lead to damage to your heart, brain, and other organs. The gas can emit from:
- space heaters
- fireplaces and ovens
- cars and trucks
- clothing dryers, and
- gas and oil heating systems.
Make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector. Every year, thousands of people are killed or seriously injured from breathing in carbon monoxide. People often don’t realize they’re exposed until they are seriously ill. Common early symptoms of poisoning are:
- fatigue (feeling drowsy)
- dizziness, and
If you think you or someone you know has been poisoned by carbon monoxide, get out of the building and call 911.
Preventing frozen pipe;
- Keep your heat at a normal level or leave your faucets open with a slight drip to prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Check for open windows, air vents, and wind drafts near water pipes.
- Seal leaks in the basement foundation where cold air may enter.
- Locate the main water shut off valve in your home and mark it so you can find it quickly. If a water pipe bursts, shutting the valve will minimize damage. You should also protect your water meter from icy drafts and freezing temperatures.
- Leave kitchen and sink cabinet doors open if the pipes behind the doors can freeze. This allows heat to reach the pipes. Make sure to insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces.
- If your pipes get froze;
- Don’t use an open flame to thaw pipes. If your pipes do freeze, use a hair dryer or rags soaked in hot water to thaw lines.
- When your pipes are frozen, there is often water available in at least one faucet. If there is no water coming through any of your taps, there may be a problem in your street or yard.
Protect Animals From Winter Weather!
Although they are equipped with fur and feathers, dogs, cats, birds and other animals can still suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration when water sources freeze. Cold temperatures mean extra hardship for “backyard” dogs, who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or medical care.
- Take animals inside. Puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, are particularly susceptible to the elements. Short-haired animals will also benefit from warm sweaters or coats.
- Don’t allow your cat or dog to roam freely outdoors. In cold weather, cats sometimes climb under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started. (To help prevent this, bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine.) Animals can also become disoriented when there is snow or ice on the ground.
- Increase animals’ food rations in cold weather.In cold weather, animals burn more calories to keep warm. Also, be sure that animals are free of internal parasites, which can rob them of vital nutrients.
- Keep an eye out for strays. Take unidentified animals inside until you can find their guardians, or take them to an animal shelter. If strays are wild or unapproachable, provide food, water, and shelter (stray cats will appreciate a small doghouse filled with warm bedding), and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.
- Clean off your dogs’ or cats’ legs, feet, and stomachs after they come in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals can make animals sick if they are ingested while the animals are cleaning themselves.
- When you see dogs left outdoors, provide them with proper shelter. Doghouses should be made of wood (metal is a poor insulator) and positioned in a sunny location during cold weather. Raise the house several inches off the ground, and put a flap over the door to keep out cold drafts. Use straw for bedding (rugs and blankets can get wet and freeze).