Residents in Chatham County know how to prepare for a hurricane, but often times preparing for winter weather doesn't make it high on the priority list. Rarely do we see harsh winter weather conditions in Chatham County, making preparing a little more challenging. Here are some tips to get ready for the upcoming cold temperatures:

  • Stay inside as much as possible, and if you have to be outside dress appropriately. Wear gloves and a hat.
  • Check on the elderly and others that may be more susceptible to cold temperatures.
  • Keep pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulation or layers of old newspaper, lapping the ends, and tying them around the pipes. Cover newspaper with plastic to keep out the moisture.
  • When it is extremely cold, let faucets drip a bit. This may prevent freezing.
  • Know where the valve is for shutting off the water. Shutting off the main valve and draining the pipes may prevent freezing and bursting. Remove and drain outdoor hoses and store indoors and turn off sprinklers.
  • If you do use portable heating devices, make sure they are in good working order and never left unattended; do not leave them near any flammable materials.
  • Bring pets inside or make sure they have plenty of warmth such as blankets and other coverings.
  • Keep garage doors closed. If you are going away, keep your thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Cover outside plants or bring them inside.

Know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia:

Frostbite occurs when your body tissue freezes. Your extremities may have a white or pale appearance and may lose feeling. The most susceptible areas of your body are the fingers, toes, earlobes, or the tip of your nose.

Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls below 95 degrees. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. If you suspect you have frostbite or hypothermia, get medical attention immediately.