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Wintery blast to hit Dawson tonight: How to be ready for the cold
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Wintery Blast

The coldest temperatures since last January are expected to slap Dawson County starting tonight.

Temperatures are predicted to drop to 13-degrees this evening, and nightly lows will stay in the low-to-mid-20s through Saturday. Daytime highs will be in the mid-30s to mid-40s

through Saturday. Fortunately, there is no precipitation expected, Dawson County EMS Chief Lanier Swafford said Monday.

If you havent already prepared for cold temperatures, start today and make efforts to protect pipes,outdoor plants; winterproof your automobiles, and dress your children accordingly. And dont forget to bring pets indoors.

Preparing properly for winter storms can be the difference between being warm and safe or cold and hungry, Amicalola EMC officials said.

The officials urge residents to have an alternate heating source, such as a fireplace, propane space heater or wood-burning stove to use in case of emergencies. Fuel and wood-burning heating sources should always be vented, and make sure carbon dioxide and smoke detectors are working, they said.

If a portable generator is used during a power outage, do not connect it directly to household wiring.

Power from generators can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line crew workers, EMC officials said.

PREPARE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT

Severe winter storms often bring accumulations of ice and snow, which can lead to downed power lines and extended outages.

A winter survival kit should include: Food items that do not require cooking, such as canned goods, crackers, dehydrated meats and dried fruit. Keep a large supply of water on hand, at least five gallons per person for a three-day period, according to Ready.gov, a national public service preparedness website designed to educate Americans to effectively respond to natural and man-made disasters.

Medications: Be sure to refill all prescriptions if a major storm is in the forecast.

Identification: Keep all forms of identification handy, such as drivers licenses, photo IDs and Social Security cards. Bank account information and insurance policies are also good to have on hand.

Other items: First-aid kit, blankets, flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries.

WINTERIZE YOUR HOME

By winterizing their homes, Dawson County residents can be prepared for the cold and hazardous conditions. Amicalola EMC officials recommend:

--Insulate pipes to prevent them from bursting when temperatures dip below freezing, and allow faucets to drip during extreme cold.

--Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.

--Maintain and inspect heating equipment and chimneys every year to ensure they are working safely and properly.

--Consider installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic, from inside the house.

House fires occur more frequently during winter months. Make sure all family members know where the homes fire extinguisher is and how to properly use it.

HOW TO PREVENT A CHIMNEY FIRE

Chimney fires cause hundreds of deaths and millions of dollars in lost property in Georgia every year, according to Dale Dorman at UGAs Cooperative Extension Service.

The key is to keep the fireplace free of creosote build-up, he said. A quarter-inch of build-up signals the time for cleanup. Check as often as twice a month during the heating season.

Cresote is a flammable, sticky substance caused by unburied gases that condense on the inside of the chimney.

Chimneys of open fireplaces need cleaning only every two to three years, while wood-burning stoves and manufactured fireplaces require annual cleaning. The reason? Their fires burn more slowly and produce more creosote.

A chimney fire can be identified by a sucking sound, a load roar and shaking pipes.

In case of a fire, UGA experts advise residents to first call the fire department. Then cut off the fires air supply by closing any air intake vents to the firebox, close the stove damper, and always keep a class ABC dry-chemical fire extinguisher handy.

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