By Sam Poe
Monday, November 10, 2014 | 12:11 AM
With each day that passes this week, the National Weather Service in Birmingham is predicting temperatures to drop even lower than the day before. By Thursday, temperatures are expected to rise no higher than 45 degrees, with lows in the mid-twenties. Each year as the temperatures fall, the risk of disasters in your home rises, from frozen water pipes to destructive fires. Here's a list of guidelines to help keep your family and your home safe.
-If using space heaters, it is best to use the type that has an automatic shutoff in case the heater is tipped over.
-Never use extension cords on space heaters.
-While using space heaters, always keep at least a 3 ft. circle around the heater free of objects. Some heaters require more than the 3 ft circle so be sure to read the manufacturer's handbook for specifications on your equipment.
-If using an electric wall heater, nothing should be within 5 ft. of the heat source.
-Change the batteries in your smoke detector twice each year to ensure they are in working order in case of a fire. (Most families find it easiest to change them with the time change in the spring and in the fall.)
-Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
-If you have gas heat, be sure it is working properly before leaving it running while you are not home. If there are problems, contact your gas provider for an inspection and to make any necessary repairs.
-If you have wood heat, make sure your chimney is clean and clear of obstructions.
-Never use kerosene heaters indoors.
-Keep fire extinguishers in your home, and test them regularly.
-Never leave a dryer running while you are not home.
-Cover and insulate exposed water pipes to prevent freezing and bursting.
-Remember your outdoor pets! They might have a layer of fur, but they still need protection from freezing temperatures too. Provide them with a warm place to sleep, plenty of fresh water that isn't frozen, and food.
-If you must be outside in extreme temperatures, wear protective clothing, especially warm socks, shoes, and gloves to keep your extremeties warm and to prevent frostbite and some type of hat on your head, as that is where the most body heat is lost in short periods of time.